What is Winning?
It’s a question that I’m not sure we are exploring enough, so I’d like to take a moment to think about it.
At school we are taught to get the best results, to win sport day races, to be better than the other kids in the class.
As adults, we are constantly judged for our place in society, the promotion, the salary, the car and so on.
So naturally to some, horse riding is just a part of that race to win at life. It’s a sport or a hobby sport. It’s where they get their kicks, their prizes and trophies. To others it’s a financial opportunity to get huge payoffs from investing or betting.
What about the horse’s win?
Horses have no notion of prizes or money. Their needs are simplistic and honest. The win for the horse is to work within their limits – pushing only within a safe boundary of those limits.
There are many levels of nervous system that the horse functions on. Keeping below the high stress limits, listening to them when they say NO and giving them a voice in the competition too. Holding back what you want, to give them a little. Knowing when and how takes patience and practice.
What winning means to me
While I love winning a rossette, it only means something to me if I believe we have earned it.
What I mean by earnt, is that we have acheived it for the right reasons. That during the trial our partnership wasn’t compromised, that the limits and boundaries remained in tact. That at the end of the competition we both feel relaxed.
Over the years I have won many rossettes, trophies and prizes with various horses. But, none ever felt as good as the TREC National Championship win with Teddy. The rosette and the trophy were the icing on the cake, but the real win was all of the individual goals we achieved. The small things, such as our first points in the MA, the highest PTV score to date and our most successful POR. Three huge wins to us, maybe they would seem small to others.
But don’t forget the backseat wins – that build the bigger picture. The win that you could walk to the field calmly, the win of them picking up their feet for you, of trailering – Literally 100’s of wins that lead you to whatever moment you feel it’s coming together. I want you to be so proud of each and every step and own them for your hard work and dedication to your horse. If you can work that way, train that way – Your horse is a real winner.
My advice, if you want it, is this…..
When you aim to WIN – win at all the little things you want to improve. Each of them should be celebrated just as much as the big win. Feel the satisfaction of your training coming together. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else, for they are on a different stage of their journey. It’s easy to rush, it’s much harder to sit back and wait.
Our next aim won’t be rushed, we may even take some steps back to evaluate. But we will keep working towards our overall goal to win in everything we do – whether that includes a trophy or not 🙂
I use shaping plans in everything I practice and I write them up for and with clients to help people see just how far they have come. Here is a template to make your own, it’s free to download from the shop. (It will take you through checkout as free). Enjoy and share your progress with us in our FACEBOOK GROUP