Dear Brain,

Quiet time, please.

I need to go to the big box store oh no my list, I must have left it at home, what was it I needed again? I think a case of toilet paper and some hand lotion, and maybe there was….


I don’t have time to shush I have to start organizing for the family visit next week…did I remember to…

SHHHHhhhhh!!!!! We are riding now.  No bustle.  No thinking.  Quiet.  Shhhhhh.

That’s all fine for you to say  – and we’re just warming up, I’d like to point out – but I have to work this whole month out! Do you realize all the things that are happening this month that I have to make arrangements for? Do you know what kind of stress I’m…

Yes. And shush.  Quiet seat. Quiet hands. Quiet brain.  Shhhh.  Riding happening.  You Must Be Present to Win. It’s like driving and texting.  Accident waiting to happen. Throw the thinking into the back seat and don’t answer, okay? No matter how many times it rings.

Good point okay I need to be real quiet like super quiet like still and stuff so I can’t think about…did I pick up the dog food?   OMGosh they are going to close!   Oh oh…shhhhhh.  I know, I know!  Shhhhhhh.

Thank you.  Now where are your shoulders?

I think I lost them?  They’re not square!  I lost them! What will I do??

You will hush, first. Shhhhhhh. Think of this as a sleeping baby. Don’t wake the baby. Shhhhhhh. Quiet seat. Quiet legs. Quiet hands. Slow, quiet thoughts.

Eventually, this worked.  After 20 minutes of walk warm up, struggling to hush, I finally got my brain onboard with the be quiet and Ride The Horse thing.

Shhhhhh.  It’s powerful. Strangely comforting.

Hudson knew the minute I stopped carrying on in my head.  It was instant.

Hudson: Oh, there you are. Didn’t see you.

Jane: Mmmmm. Hi, buddy.

Hudson: (very quiet humming)

Jane: (to self) Shhhhhhhhhhhh…listen to Hudson hum.

We had a lovely ride.  And a sharp SHUSH to self became a wonderful meditation.

Hudson started to amp himself up.  I continued shushing myself: I don’t want to add to his amping up. He is having an allergy attack (being treated) and has hives.  He’s itchy, and it makes him want to GO.  I don’t know if the adrenaline produced by running blocks his itchiness, or if he’s trying to out run it.

But we had room, it was a lovely day, and I let him go. Some fights aren’t worth having: this was easily settled (and may have a physical cause). When he asked to stop cantering, I said no, and asked him to collect: beautiful, relaxed, easy canter, round and on the bit. Some of our best canter work to date.  Then we went the other way.  It was round, and it was good.

Shhhhhh is now my reminder word: get present, be quiet, and allow focus to happen.  I have great ability to focus.

Once I shush.

(Do you have reminder words? Want to share?)

7 thoughts on “Shhhhhhhh…

  1. I am lucky. All day long, my brain will performs a ridiculous hamster-on-wheel routine and goes in 100 different directions because of the constant barrage of 10,000 things I have to do, haven’t done, need to remember, already forgot, and haven’t even realized yet. When I am on my horse though, it stops (for the first and last time, all day), and I just think about riding. It feels like when you plug a phone or an ipod in to charge, and the screen just shows that little battery-recharging symbol. It’s why I am so addicted to riding, I think. This feeling usually lasts at least through untacking, grooming, and tack cleaning. Then I get back in the car at the end of the night and the rat race begins again in my brain at full tilt, but at least I had a couple of hours of peace and quiet.

    I love picturing the Hudson humming sound too….

  2. Love it. Reminds me of Jane Savoie and when she talks about using anchors to take yourself away from negative slef talk or other negative habits. Thanks for the post — really resonated with me as I have a similar struggle with constant internal dialogue!

  3. Around our house, the cat is in charge of making things REAL. That’s why he sits on weird stuff (paper bags, dish towels, Jim’s head): if he didn’t the stuff would lose its reality.

    When I ride, I keep a mental image of the cat on my head. Stay real. Focus on what is happening right this instant and don’t worry about how far we’ve gone, how far to the next water tank, how many horses are ahead or behind us….

    It helps. I have a little stuffed cat that is permanently attached to my gear bag as a Reality Reminder!

  4. The Zen quality of riding — needing to be in the moment — is one of the things I like best about it.

    1. Just want to let you know Blogger isn’t letting me comment on your blog. I can comment on other blogger based blogs? Must be a hiccup somewhere. I’ll try signing in on Blogger and see if that works! Love your latest post, making me nuts I can’t tell you that directly. 😉

  5. I think it’s really funny that you use “Shhhhhh” when I use almost the exact opposite, “THINK!!!!”. Though I think I also have the opposite problem to you, as I have a habit of letting my brain go too quiet, at which point it sort of abandons me and goes off to sleep with the sheep. Which leaves me a bit stuck as Simba goes, “Hello? Sarah, there’s this scary branch and ummmmm DON’T ABANDON ME!!!” while I go, “lalalalalalalala go on Simba what’s up? lalalalalala.” Which is great for riding instinctively, but not so great when you have a horse that wants 110% attention, please, because I am number 1 in this universe and you better not be hanging out with the sheep again!

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