What to do when disaster strikes

By Annette Paterakis

Have you ever been at a show or in a situation where you had to perform, and then suddenly, out of the blue, disaster strikes? Perhaps one of your friends got involved in an accident or maybe one of your horses just passed away? On a few occasions my clients have reached out to me asking for help as they had just got some very bad news, whilst at a show. How to stay focused under the most difficult of circumstances? Here are a few ways for you to let go of all the thoughts racing through your mind and to focus on the task at hand.

1. Make a decision

First of all, make a decision whether you are capable and willing to continue riding at this show or event. Only you can decide this and it really depends on how important or bad the situation is and how you are coping emotionally. Just know that whatever your decision is, you aren’t weak for not riding, nor heartless for carrying on.

2. Let it go

If you decide to go ahead and ride, then you might still feel emotional and thoughts might be distracting you from riding. A very helpful tool I use and teach my clients a lot is called EFT. It’s an amazing way to let go of unhelpful thoughts and emotions and can be more powerful than a breathing exercise. If you are new to EFT, have a look online or read a book on the topic to get yourself familiar with it and try it a few times so you can use it when you need it. Or, register here (www.annettepaterakis.com/master-your-mind) for my upcoming online mental training program as I will cover EFT in one of the lessons as well.


“Just know that whatever your decision is, you aren’t weak for not riding, nor heartless for carrying on.”


3. Put it in a box

Now that you have let go of the most distracting thoughts and emotions, you could imagine putting this emotional, hurtful or distracting event into a beautiful, imaginary box (it’s your imaginary box, so yes, you can design it yourself if you like) or a safe vault. Imagine putting the lid on and wrapping some ribbons around or closing the vault door and locking it shut. Now that your problem is stowed away safely, you can really focus on the task at hand.

4. Get into a different state

The last thing you want to do is to get into a different state. When we are, or have just been emotional, shaken or upset, we tend to be in a very different mental and physiological state than when you are about to go and win a class, right? Just know that you can get into a different state at all times.

Follow these steps:

  1. First of all, close your eyes and tune inwards.
  2. Now pick a moment that you were feeling really proud, grateful or excited about something. Really step into this moment like you are there again. Feel what you felt then, see what you saw then.
  3. Let this proud, grateful or excited feeling really fill you up. Now, let the feelings double in size and fill you up even more.
  4. Continue this process two more times.
  5. Take a few deep breaths and open your eyes feeling excited and ready to ride!