"Part of playing sports is just staying in the moment. You know, we always say 'one play at a time,’” Tom Brady, Quarterback for the New England Patriots
Love them or hate them, the Patriots know how to pace themselves throughout a football game. They are often careful not to celebrate gains or to despair of losses too early. Brady remembers watching a game tape early on in his career when one of his coaches asked him in the middle of it which one was the winning team. Brady answered, “I don’t know.” Coach said, “You’re right, you don’t know, because the game isn’t over yet. Always remember that.”
When you’re in the middle of the game, or in the middle of a ride, mentally be in the middle of it. That’s the only way you can really influence the outcome.
A huge part of working with horses is staying in the moment. That’s why most riding instructors have the go-to instruction of, “Take a deep breath.” Besides the fact that you are continually in need of oxygen, that breath intake is in the moment. It helps you forget all about the fact that your horse just slipped in that corner; keep him on the dryer inner track and appreciate his sure-footedness here and now. Don’t think about whether you’ll have to emergency dismount if that dog in the opposite corner charges at your horse like your friend said it does sometimes. Don’t even think about how proud you will be at the end of your ride if your high-energy horse makes it the whole hour without spooking.
Right here, right now, enjoy the moment of swaying with your horse’s movement, appreciating the rare air of being suspended between the earth and sky with one of your best friends.
And just stay there.