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Keep Kicking

Different. Being different. Embracing different.

Hugh Jackman's globally successful epic film The Greatest Showman centres around being and accepting different. Being who we are meant to be, ourselves. In this post-truth era, being truly yourself, filter free, flawed and fluid in changing our beliefs (when we know better, we do better) is in my opinion, rare and inspirational.

So congratulations to the The Pony Club for announcing the events on Wednesday this week after a "mixed reaction from various perspectives about a sign displaying "Keep Kicking" at The Pony Club Championships 2018..once NFU Mutual and members of the public made us aware that the phrase had or could cause offence, the sign was quickly removed within an hour" as I believe The Pony Club showed great strength in acknowledging the flaws in the sign, mobilising their previous existing belief and removing the sign.

What was the purpose of the sign? The sign was part of a motivational series displayed to promote the Mentoring Scheme at the Championships. The Pony Club explained their actions; "Keep Kicking" is used as a motivational statement within the Pony Club.

"To encourage positive riding, often as support to young riders who are experiencing extreme nervousness or performance anxiety."

I have enjoyed reading all the different responses to The Pony Club statement, the counter arguments and yes, on this issue, it seems everyone does have an opinion. I have shared the different responses with my Facebook group Coffee With Horses Lovers - I welcome you to join us in a healthy, respectful discussion about the correct use of learning theory and negative reinforcement in equitation.

Mindset Training & Motivational Signs

Did the sign motivate children with performance anxiety? In reality, the story you tell yourself is what changes your performance. Not how much your parents support you, your financial health, your coach, or even a Pony Club Sign...unless you believe them to be important.

"If you think you can or think you can't, you are right." Henry Ford.

Knowing WHO you want to be is the first step towards changing your beliefs and therefore your performance.

Who do you wish to be 3 years from now?

Not what you want to do. These are goals. Setting goals is nice. We all do versions of the goal-setting process. But its not this process that will stop your anxiety.

Setting your goal to qualify for The Pony Club Championships does not stop your anxiety once you get there, for some, achieving your goal increases your anxiety levels, perhaps if you believe others also have expectations of your performance.

Why is this? Setting goals with no emotional attachment to WHO you want to be as a rider, statistically show to slow and eventually stop the processes we need to achieve our goals e.g if you set yourself a goal of losing a specific amount of body fat, within weeks your actions to achieve your goal, say exercise 3 times a week, is now lowered and your no further forwards in removing the fat your trying to detach yourself from. However, if you know who you want to be, lets say for example the rider your horse would choose, doing the daily actions to lose body fat is serving you in becoming the rider your horse would choose, in 3 years. Now you are starting to develop what I call a Champs Mindset.

What is a Champs Mindset?

The Champ Mindset Model

Knowing yourself is the first step to having a mindset of a Champ. Finding out what you believe, and crucially what drives your behaviour. I then work with my riders in re-writing the story they tell themselves. I help them identify their key principles to take them closer to who they want to be; 'control the controllables', 'embrace hardship' 'winning or learning' 'lean just beyond your edge' perhaps even 'keep kicking' - if that is strong emotionally to who you want to be. By helping my riders understand their current perspective, they identify the gap between life happening and how they choose to respond. Doing the daily actions becomes empowering as riders know this is serving them to be their vision. Being fully present before, during and after the competition as well as having fun is a Champ's Mindset.

'Keep Kicking' may or may not have been one of your principles to becoming the rider you want to be. Because we are all different, thankfully.

Placing a spotlight on mindset and mental performance by The Pony Club, I believe was a great small step helping more riders become their best versions, for their horses. Could The Pony Club have re-phrased or changed the sign to a principle that would help more PC members recruit their Champ mindset? Totally. Has 2018's 'SignGate' helped more horses by placing a spotlight on how to correctly use negative reinforcement and apply the light aid? I think so. I believe we are all flawed, and its how we choose to respond (based on our beliefs) that define who we become.

Well done The Pony Club for your response to a poorly phrased sign, as we all learn and grow, lets all try and be and do better, for our horses.

Lisa x

If you wish to find out more about Mindset Coaching including when the next 6 week online Rider Mindset Camp starts email or click HERE


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