There is a big shift happening in the world of horse competition today.
The old model of “I’m an uninformed amateur who’s messing up my horse, and I’ll never get it” is fading in the background. The days of ‘there’s only winning and losing’ are becoming a thing of the past.
Competing is so much more than that. It’s courageous and thrilling – and that’s worth everything.
The old approach wherein everyone believes that progress has to be painfully slow and measured only on the outside is anything from incredibly frustrating – to shaming – to unsatisfying.
Plus, it inhibits your ability to ride at ease, think for yourself, be confident – and feel your horse.
Today’s video is all about a new mindset and how to set you and your horse up for success in the show pen.
For any horse and rider team to perform at peak levels in competition, both must be communicating back and forth as seamlessly as possible.
This type of conversation begins when you’re calm, focused, immersed in the moment, and supporting your partner. Nothing more. You’re not aware of the weather, who’s judging, or who’s watching.
You ride for that insatiable feeling of being at one with a horse. Of course, we all want to win. But feeling in sync with a horse is nothing short of heaven.
That ability for you to perceive your horse moment-to-moment begins with a ‘slow on the inside’ feeling and a positively engaged mind.
It’s a feeling is sublime calmness, with a keen awareness – as if all your senses have been turned on. And in addition to incredible synchronicity with the horse, you can ‘ride through mistakes’ and make good decisions when things go off the rails.
In this new shift, you are beginning to understand that you are responsible for your own state of mind, body, and emotion – no one else can do it for you.
You are also responsible for discovering, understanding and practicing the pieces and parts that add up to competitive excellence – and then systematically cultivating those skills and behaviors – for a lifetime.
In competition, this begins by setting your own ‘True North,’ that guiding compass that is authentic and holds your unique reasons for riding and competing. Those reasons are yours, and then you summon the courage to create a bold vision and believe in yourself.
You also know you are not perfect (and never will be) because the perfection mindset dwells on what’s not going well. Excellence says, ‘Take me to the next mountain top; I’m ready.
On show day, the goal is to be your collective best with your horse. You are there to show your strengths and shore up your weaknesses.
Showing is laying it all on the line at a specific place and time in front of other people. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, but you know you have done everything possible to prepare at the end of the day.
At the end of the day or later at home comes a review. What went well? What worked for your horse? How did you two do together? Celebrate your strengths and accomplishments and be detective-like for your next steps to improve. The love of competition and the pursuit of excellence continues.
Competitive excellence is not only what you see on the outside – it’s an experience shared between the inside of the rider’s soul and the horse’s spirit. It’s working hard individually (and together), getting ready, walking into the show pen, staying cool under pressure – seeing the truth when it’s all done, and then craving more improvement.
The desire for constant growth is never viewed with a depredating eye – only with the constant encouragement of, “Here you go. Here’s your next step. Enjoy!”
This mindset and practicing the steps are your jobs, along with the support of others – but you are still the one who is responsible for going for the gusto.
Embrace the shift, the joy, and the fun. It truly is all about the journey.
Please leave a comment for me. I LOVE hearing from you!
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS
Thank you for your wisdom and insight. I’m taking my horse about an hour away tomorrow for a lesson, and I’ll try to keep some of these ideas in mind even for my lesson.
You’re so welcome, Carolyn.
I love this!
I am also seeing this shift in showing that is becoming more about how your ride went than what the results were…and I’m LOVING it!!
this is what I have been trying to instill in my students for 20 years! Thank YOU!
You’re so welcome, Joanne!
What is the strategy if you have practiced being calm and connected to your horse and you enter the show pen and realize your horse is now anxious and on the muscle- all your preparation goes out the window? Allow the horse to run, more out of control?
Wow, Patti, that’s a hard question to answer without more info. It sounds like really diagnosing where the problem begins with your horse, and what you can do differently next time. So many things are trial and error and trying different solutions to see what works. I know that’s general, but finding the reasons why is always the first step.
So enjoy your Podcasts Barb. I would like to sign up for the free 4-part Podcast series – “Shine in the Show Pen” however, the link doesn’t want to open ?? Perhaps I missed the window of opportunity ? Is it possible to forward to me via email?
Thanks so much – from another Barb.
Hi Barbara, Please try the link again. We just made some changes.
Thank you, Christina
Thank you for all that you do. I really appreciate your wise advice and insightful information.
You’re so welcome, Donna! (-: