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Karl Cook’s life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately. From developing young horses at his family’s Pomponio Ranch, rescuing bunnies, and oh yeah, marrying Kaley Cuoco and establishing their life together, the guy is a tad busy.

With so much to balance, we wouldn’t blame Karl for being stressed to the max, and yet, we never see him break under pressure or lose his cool. Kudos to you, Karl.

But we wonder, is he really as laid back in the saddle as he is on Instagram stories? Surprisingly, yes. Sure, it might be something in the California air, or the fact that he looks like he might throw on a wetsuit and paddle out on a surfboard at any moment, but the reality is that Karl has learned over time just what to do when the jumps go up and the prize money gets heftier.

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Do you ever sit around and wonder what the greats - the Beezies, the Marcus Ehnings, the Pessoas (of all generations) - are thinking about before they enter the ring? When you have that much talent, is anything really the same?

Related: 9 Ways To Ride Like a Pro Even if You Aren't One

This sport is a little bit special, in a lot of ways. Aside from the fact that we get to share each moment with a four-legged partner-in-crime, one thing that stands out about horse sport is the incredible importance of the mental game. While all sports require some brain power, riding requires an extra level of mental toughness, focus, and adaptability. One man who has mastered the mental side of riding is none other than McLain Ward, and picking his brain is one of my favorite pastimes.

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