Patty Lasko: Day 10

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The tip for day 10 of the 31-Day Challenge comes from Sheri Israel, a terrific blogger. She is a dressage mom juggling a job, family and her dressage horse, with all that implies. Her tip is to keep a bag of riding clothes in your car at all times for those days when you get an unexpected chance to ride and find yourself in your work clothes and too far from home to change. Great idea.

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I try to do that. I keep my boots, half chaps and helmet always in my car. It helps even when I am planning to ride. I may get to the barn and think, Where the !!! is my helmet? And then I remember: Oh yeah, it's in the car - because that's where I always keep it! I continue (and you can, too) with self-congratulatory phrases as I secure my chinstrap. I think: I am so clever to make this a habit.God knows I'm good at continuing the bad habits. When was the last time I remembered to clean my car out? Do I have any Fabreeze? Did I need to eat that bread at lunch? Why did I ?. Whoa there. I have to remind myself (and you, dear reader) to avoid the downward spiral into self-flagellation. It's so easy to do. Let's keep our thoughts positive and pleasant as we mount up.

Keeping life positive made me think of Courtney King-Dye. As you know, she has a monthly column in Dressage Today. (If you don't know Courtney's story, she is an Olympic rider who had a bad accident in March 2010 and is still recovering.) I was e-mailing her to work on her story about her riding therapy. She has some great photos taken last summer. She rides Roxy, a wonderful Paint horse at her barn in New York. At walk, she does exercises and shows us what she does and why and how it feels. I know you'll find this story fascinating whether or not you are associated with therapy.

Anyway, Courtney says her mentor, Lendon Gray, taught her that, sometimes, a rider just needs to "do it" and not think too hard about the complexity of every element needed, as we so often do (and not always with good results). As an example, Courtney's balance was unsteady. Remembering Lendon's advice, she stopped trying to figure out why she was unsteady and what each leg was supposed to do. Instead, she focused on the tree she was trying to walk toward and said to herself just do it! with excellent results.

So I leave you today with that thought. If we are having difficulties of any kind, let's not over-think it - let's just do it! Whatever "it" is. I'll bet Sheri would approve.

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