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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Harrison

Ho Hum Ho Hum Training Seems so Dumb

In a rut?

  • Sick to death of riding in the arena, or up and down the driveway?

  • Your horse walks away when she sees you rather than nickering in soft delight?

  • Can't decide if you might fall off on ONE more 20 meter circle?

  • The thought of a one stride, across the diagonal, around the top to a two stride has you cringing?

If your motivation for this sport you love has abandoned you and one of your greatest pleasures is feeling like a chore take heart! You are NOT alone. Losing motivation happens to us all

To understand what's happening to you let's back up a little and look at motivation from a scientific perspective. There are three key components to motivation according to many who have studied it: 1) Direction (sometimes called activation), 2) Intensity, and 3) Persistence.

Direction is the first piece. When you are sitting at the dining room table and think “oh I should clean my boots” do you head to the couch to vegetate or do you head in a direction that gets those boots clean? (There are many times the couch may be the right option – but if you are frustrated by the boots by the door - why aren't you cleaning them!)

Intensity follows direction. How hard do you work? Do you finish your boot cleaning dripping with sweat or spend 3 minutes and think, that’s enough? Both can be effective – but people tend to one, or the other side of this element.

Finally persistence is the last component in this model. Do you return to the task or activity again in a reasonable time or do you wait until things are at crisis levels and the grime on your boots is horrifying (to continue with our example)?

Which of these components is your strength? Which is your downfall? Understanding the stages of motivation can help you identify where you need to build carefully measured goals, and possibly rewards into your plan.

Motivation can also be intrinsically (that is internally) or extrinsically (externally) driven. Who are you cleaning those boots for? Your coach? A judge? Yourself? All are valid answers but to reignite your motivation it's important to know what gets you going.

If you are extrinsically motivated booking a clinic or selecting a show day might spark your energy again, If you are intrinsically motivated taking some time for reflection and figuring out what YOU want to accomplish may do the trick.

No matter what is influencing your sense of burnout practicing a little bit of self care then changing things up with your horse plans may turn it around effectively. Leave the saddle in the tack room and scramble up bareback; go for a hack; create a great playlist to ride with; plan to meet up with a friend for a ride or two. Do trotting poles, or put the jumps away... go for a long hand walk with your horse ... put the play back in your rides in some way and invest some time in thinking about what's causing your block!

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