Emotions are heightened at the start of show season as ambitious goals, nerve-wracking fears and struggles to accept failure are all part of the immediate future for riders. And Kendra DeVos (MSW, RSW) will be facing that this season as she and her horse, Gigi, take on the Silver Series at Angelstone.

But as a qualified therapist, Kendra is adept at identifying certain techniques to deal with all of these things and she shares them with Tracey during this episode.

There are many ways to deal with show season stress and enjoy the ride. (photo courtesy Kendra DeVos)

As their conversation unfolds on the latest episode of Hitting Your Stride, host Tracey Mitchell and Kendra begin by asking the question, ‘What do we really want to achieve?’ and go from there. Goals should be something bigger than just ‘a goal’, being important enough to hold significant meaning to us; according to Kendra, a key to this is using ‘The Window of Tolerance’ and finding the sweet spot around the edges.

In talking about the rollercoaster of expectations that comes with highs and lows of competition, Tracey and Kendra discuss the mindset needed to deal with both ends of the ride before going on to talk about how you need to put the energy into the results you want to see – linking you to ‘your why’. And with your brain hard-wired to find the negative, they bring up the need to consciously exercise positive self-talk to enable visualizing success.

As their chat winds down, they bring up ‘The Instagram Syndrome’ – not letting comparison become the thief of joy, the most universally shared human experience, and how your comfort zone is a beautiful but barren place. Those who fail are learning to succeed, which is the whole point of the exercise. And when it comes to the partnership with your horse, Kendra and Tracey emphasize just how important it really is to having an honest and open relationship with yourself and your goals; Kendra shares a poignant story about something she learned from the most unlikely source.

Kendra DeVos can be found online at www.devoscounselling.com. Anyone wanting or needing to consult a counsellor can find one close by on the website www.psychologytoday.com.

Listen to the episode here: