• Elaine Sanders

You Can't Leave Your Troubles at the Gate

There is a saying in the horse world, “leave your troubles at the gate”. The idea behind this is that in order to have a clear mind, with the ability to concentrate and focus on your interaction with the horse, you can’t dwell on the problems of your work and home life. You have to leave those things at the gate so that they don’t distract you.

The thing is, horses don’t care if you have a stack of bills piling up. Horses don’t care if you have a sick parent. Horses don’t mind if your coworkers were particularly difficult today. And so horses don’t really care if you leave these problems at the gate or not.

Horses are not attuned to the stocks, or to the news, or to social media. And so whether you “leave those problems at the gate” or not doesn’t matter to them.

Horses are attuned to human emotion. And that is a lot harder to leave at the gate.

Our emotions are a constant thing. Every single moment of the day, you are experiencing an emotion. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are experiencing an emotion.

You carry these emotions around with you all day. Frustration, then some anxiety, a bit of impatience, a lot of worry, a tad of amusement, a dash of humiliation. If you aren’t working at your emotions all day, then you’re going to bring them in the gate with you. That’s a fact.

Horses can sense these emotions, not the problems.

It’s a bit like the work-life balance myth. The idea that you should leave your work problems at work and your home problems at home. Nice idea. Not possible.

Or how about leaving your troubles outside the bedroom so that you can have good night’s rest? Also sounds great, but not possible.

We only live one life. And we carry the stressful emotions from home to work, and the stressful emotions from work to home. And we carry all those stressful emotions to bed.

In the same way, we carry the stressful emotions from life, through the gate.

At around this point, you may be asking, “What’s there to do? If I’m carrying emotions around all day like some overflowing backpack, then what am I supposed to do?”

It’s about handling stressful emotions as they come up throughout the day.

All too often people take the binge-purge approach to stress. They binge on stressful emotions and then try to purge in the evening at the barn, or in front of the tv, or at yoga on Thursdays, or in Mexico in February.

The problem is that while bingeing on those stressful emotions all day, there are real effects on your physiology. Real effects on your resilience. Real effects on your coherence. And stressful emotions breed more stressful emotions.

And that’s what you bring through the gate. Or bring home from work. Or bring to work. Or bring to bed.

Stressful emotions must be conquered in the moment. ASAP so that you’re not carrying them around with you.

Are you tired of carrying those stressful emotions around with you? This is something that I help clients with all the time. Click here to learn how you also can discover exactly how to conquer those stressful feelings so that you can bring your best self to your horse.

With Heart,


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