Did you know that every ride could be a “win”? Yep, even the rides that suck can be a success.
This last week the 3 of us and our gang of 5 year olds ventured off to Thunderbird for a week of fun in the sun at the show (or so we thought). Don’t get me wrong, over all we had a blast, even when the rain came. However, we (especially me) encountered some of the growing pains that can come with young horses.
We had had a great season so far, and I felt we had done all the necessary preparation to be there, but as we all know “the best laid plans……” I had a few rides early in the week that royally SUCKED, and I’m not being a whiner here. I mean sucked as in falling off twice in one day (at the same fence no less), a pretty scary crash and a lot of questions with no answers It would have been easy to say that this was my horse’s fault, and that he “was bad” but it wasn’t and he wasn’t, it was an accident, plain and simple, so, I dusted myself off, made sure my horse was okay and decided tomorrow was a new day.
Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. The next day was another day on the struggle bus with my horse too scared from his fall to compete. I had to make a decision on where to go from here. Was I frustrated? You betcha! Would it have been easy to blame my horse? Of course! But, really what I needed to do was take a step back and recognize what was my chance to turn this bus around. To turn the SUCK into SUCCESS.
Every time you ride it’s your chance to pick up the reins and turn what sucked last time into a success, but I have found that in a mistake – not mistake binary thought process it’s hard to see the small gains. As with most competitive endeavors it’s pretty black and white, you won or you didn’t, you beat your PB or you didn’t, you made the play or it was an error. But, in this sport where our partner is a living breathing animal and not an inanimate object there is an entire spectrum of grey and grey is where most of the work is done.
Think about it this way; if you are at the bottom of a cliff and you have to climb to the top, and you only think about how much work it’s going to be to get to the top, you will a) become overwhelmed and b) think about how much it’s going to suck to have to climb up that whole way. But, if you break it down into smaller steps i.e.: climbed it to the first ledge – Success! Climbed half way – Success! And so forth until you have built up success after success until you are at the top.
And this is how I needed to approach this; jump one small jump – Success! Jump down a line – Success! Put a small pattern together – Success! Jump a course at height – Success! Get into the show ring the next day and complete the course – Success! And after we rebuilt ourselves on all these small gains, we ended the show on a positive note with solid rounds and even a couple good ribbons. The suck was turned into success.
So, the next time you find yourself piloting the struggle bus, know that you can take what isn’t going well and turn it into something great, and also that you ain’t on that bus alone!