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Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself; 10 Ways to Stay Positive About Showing

It’s easy to be overly hard on yourself when you live and breathe in the subjective horse industry. When as little as half of a point can separate first and second place, riders are left wondering what could have been if they only could have done something just a little different. Beating yourself up over past rides or performances is not going to prolong your future or change anything. However, we can all take lessons on how to be a little kinder to ourselves along the way. Staying positive throughout it all can make a huge difference. Here are ten things to keep in mind when attempting to not be so hard on yourself.

1. Your Mistakes Are Made For Learning

No one is perfect every time out, one hundred percent of the time. Even the top professionals make mistakes every now and then, but what we do with those mishaps can either make us into better riders, or they can leave us upset and angry. Reflection is a powerful tool that can be used to learn from past mistakes. Every mistake that has been made can be used as a guide in the future. Win or lose, you can always learn and improve the next time out.



motivational quote- don't be hard on yourself2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Comparison is inevitable. We are all guilty of watching others succeed and envying them or wanting to be more like them. However, it is important to remember that you are not them, nor will you ever be. Everyone has their own struggles and quirks that make them unique. Often times, we may get so caught up in wanting to be like someone else or as good as someone else that we forget where we started. Consistently improving is one way to make it to the top, but try not to be so hard on yourself along the way by stopping the comparison.




3. The “Right-Way” to do Something May Vary-4

If you ask a question in the horse world, you might get one hundred different answers or opinions. The so-called, “right way” to do something typically depends on the situation. This can also be said for anything inside or outside of the arena. In order to take it easier on yourself, don’t be afraid to open your eyes and ears to new styles and techniques. Sure, some trends might go in and out in the horse industry, but you might be surprised at what you can learn from different people along the way.





4. Learn from Criticism

motivational quote- don't be hard on yourselfTrainers and judges are paid to give criticism and even our friends and family may voice their opinions, too. While all of these comments may begin to pile up, it is easier to take them all with a grain of salt and try to apply just a little bit of each one to our daily practices. In life, we will always hear criticism, not just at a horse show. However, using this in a constructive manner can teach us a lot about ourselves, and our horses. In the end, those who criticize are most likely just trying to help us better ourselves and want to see you succeed in the long run.




motivational quote- don't be hard on yourself5. Accept Your Weaknesses

Not all riders were created equal. Not all horses were created equal. Your world champion western pleasure horses typically will not go on to become famous hunter under saddle horses. Can this be viewed as a weakness? Sure, but not everyone is meant to be great at everything. Accepting your weaknesses is one way of putting a positive spin on them and not constantly dwelling on the things that we may not be able to change.

6. Look at Your Past with Pride

Even the most successful riders did not come out of the womb as world champions. It is no secret that success takes time, dedication and practice along with natural born talent to become a champion. No one started at the top and those who are there currently are not there by mistake. We all work towards our individual goals and sometimes; we lose sight of how far we have come. It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you forget about all of the progress that you have made thus far. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back for all of the triumphs that you have already had, and make space for new ones to come.
motivational quote- don't be hard on yourself

7. Don’t Underestimate Your Talent Until You’ve Tried it 100 Times

This is a great rule to apply to anything new or different. You may not win a new class your first time out. You may not win the second, third or fourth time either. Heck, you might not even hear your name called. However, do not give up on yourself until you have truly given it your best shot, time and time again. Some people are too accepting of defeat, and they give up on their dreams just because they do not happen right away. In order to be less tough on yourself, apply your talents as many times as possible to reveal where you truly stand.


8. Your Problems Are Not Unique

motivational quote- don't be hard on yourselfIn horseback riding, many of us share similar struggles. Running in showmanship and two-pointing in equitation are two big struggles that many exhibitors face, even if they don’t let you know it’s one of their weak points. No matter what you are facing, chances are, someone out there has gone through the same thing. When you are analyzing your own competitiveness, just know that whatever you are having a hard time with, someone else has likely faced the same battles or struggles with the same thing you do.



9. Express Your Anger In A Creative Way

motivational quote- don't be hard on yourselfGetting angry is human nature and it happens to the best of us, especially at long, hot, sleepless horse shows. This being said, what we do with that anger is what can either sink us or help us swim. Channeling your anger or stress into a productive manner like practicing your pattern or cleaning your tack can help to get your mind off of things, and it can also help you for the future. Having positive solutions for stressful situations is key to making life easier on yourself and those around you.



motivational quote- don't be hard on yourself10. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Lastly, in order to be less hard on yourself, surround yourself with people who only want the best for you. Cutting toxic people out of the picture and getting rid of negative energy is so important in creating a happy place for you and your horse. Positivity is often overlooked in such a fast-paced environment like a horse show where we all need it most. Being surrounded by people who will only support and lift you up will not only put you in a better mindset, but it will help you focus on the important things as well.




motivational quote- don't be hard on yourself


In the end, when we look back on our experience with horses, we will look at the fun times we had and all of the great memories spent with our friends and equine companions. To increase your chances in making these cherished memories, work towards being less hard on yourself and it will only improve your odds.



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