Horse events are a lot of fun. You’re showing off what you and your horse can do, reaping the benefits of all your hard work, and spending time with like-minded enthusiasts. What’s not to love?
Botching a class or a run, that’s what. When you turn in a performance that’s well below what you know you and your horse are capable of, it’s painful. But should you let it ruin your fun?
Definitely not! In fact, learning from mistakes is one of the great perks of competition. Shows are a real-world test. More than any practice session, they’ll pinpoint where you need more work.
And that’s a good thing! I’m going to explain how you can not only deal with the disappointment of a botch but also turn it into a positive for you and your horse. All it takes is a little planning and some conscious effort.
To paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus, “It’s not what happens to you that matters, but how you respond to it.” This is fortunate because although you can’t control what happens, you definitely can control how you respond.
First, Prepare to Succeed
By “succeed,” I don’t mean win, specifically. You may well do that, too, but this preparation is about getting ready to keep forging ahead no matter what your performance is at the event. Here’s what to do.
Fix your mindset. I tell all my customers to think of the show as just another practice. By that I mean, don’t change things up in the show pen. Ride just as you’ve been practicing. Don’t worry about the judges.
Just focus on completing each part of the class or each piece of your run correctly, the way you’ve been practicing it at home.
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