It`s OK To Pretend

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There’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy in your life. In fact, it might help your riding, your psyche and your outlook on life. Provided, that is, you remember it’s just a temporary escape from reality.

For many of us, riding is our only quiet time — that hour or half hour when the phone doesn’t have to be answered and no one is demanding something from you. We clear our minds, relax our bodies and focus on just ourselves and our horse.

For this hour, you’re not a parent. You’re not a business manager. Pretend you don’t even have a job. You’re not responsible to anyone except that magnificent creature beneath you. Take a deep breath and enjoy ...

Visualize yourself trotting down the center line at Gladstone’s USET headquarters. Head high. Back straight — straighter than you think possible. Your horse is gently chewing on the bit. Poll soft. Back relaxed. Withers high. Smile. You’re a picture of elegance.

Or maybe you’ve just left the start box at the Kentucky CCI. You have a long, difficult course ahead of you, but you’re pumped and ready to fly. You feel muscles rippling beneath you, as your horse lightly grabs the bit and says, “Let’s go. I feel good.” You’ve never felt more like one with your horse. You can conquer anything ahead of you.

Perhaps your vision is at Quarter Horse Congress. This is your year. You’re dressed to kill. Tack polished. Silver sparkles. Your horse’s coat gleams and his muscles ripple under the lights. You can hear the crowd murmur, and you know they’re picking you as the one who will impress the judges the most. You smile to show you belong on top. You’re a picture of strength and polish. Perfection. Your horse floats through his gaits, carrying you to victory.

Keeping a picture of what you want to look like when you ride — and practicing it day after day — can help achieve your goal. Close your eyes and recall a photo of a horse and rider with the look you want to achieve. What was it in this rider’s posture that made you want to imitate her' How did her confidence burst off the page' Can you do it' Yes, you can. Will you make it to Gladstone, Kentucky or Congress' Maybe not. But you can still enjoy the fantasy. Escape reality for a bit. There’s not a thing wrong with that.

Cynthia Foley