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ICYMI – Five Things You Should Drop at a Horse Show…Right Now

If you are regularly on social media, you know it doesn’t take longer than five minutes before something comes across your feed about things you should or should not be doing to make your life better.

Chances are you’ve even seen one (or more) versions of “How to Avoid a Narcissist,” “Ten People Who Are Winning on the Internet,” and “What Every Facebook Wall Looks Like On Your Birthday.”

Even if the content is completely ridiculous, we seem to gravitate towards these kinds of posts because they do tend to offer some inspiration or kernels of truth and they are usually heavy with inspirational quotes, serious (or not so serious) lists, memes, and GIFs.

And we like it.

Here at GoHorseShow, we decided to have a little fun with this social media phenomenon and compile our own serious (or not so serious) list of five things you should drop at a horse show…right now.

It is complete with inspirational quotes, memes, and GIFS. Read on to be inspired (and entertained).

1) Drop Practicing Your Pattern a Million Times

It’s not helping.  You think it is, but it isn’t.  In fact, with each run through, it seems to get worse and worse.  So stop already!

Seriously, if you need any more reassurance that not practicing your pattern a million times is not only okay but is BETTER for you and your horse, check out this recent article that talks about what you risk if you continue to practice the pattern a million times.

Then tell yourself, “it’s just not worth it.”  (We promise it’s not.)

It’s great to know your pattern and how you are going to execute it (your ride pretty much depends on it).

But it is not great if your horse does.

Trust the training that has gone into your horse, do your homework at home, and drop the practice overkill.

2) Drop Competing With Everyone But Yourself

This may seem counter intuitive considering horse showing by nature is a highly competitive sport. But when you get too wrapped up in who you are going up against, you are psyching yourself out and not focusing on what is important.

Come on, do you really think the top competitors sit there and worry about who is in the pen with them?

(That answer would be a no.)

They are thinking about what their last score was, how to improve it, and how to make that happen.

The more you concentrate on improving you and your horse and less on your competition, the better your performance will be.

So drop competing with everyone but yourself.  (You’ll thank us later.)

3) Drop The Blame Game

Falling right in line with competing for more with others than with yourself, when you start blaming your horse, the judges, or “politics,” you are only setting yourself up for unnecessary stress, a bad attitude, and possibly a poor performance.

I don’t think I have to say that none of these are good things, but I will…

None of these are good things.

Even if you’ve never had a trainer, any experienced equestrian knows that nine times out of ten a horse’s mistake is rider error and when a horse misbehaves something has been skipped in their training.  Stop blaming your horse.

Sometimes, when we have an excellent ride and aren’t rewarded for it, our new blame victim becomes the judges.

“Well, my ride was great, but so-and-so broke, and they placed higher!”

If you’re honest with yourself, chances are you have gotten lucky in the past and made a bobble the judge didn’t see and were placed well, so don’t blame the judge if they missed a competitor’s bobble and put them high on their card. Remember, judges can only judge what is in front of them and what they see.

Oh, and not to mention, you ARE paying for someone’s opinion.

Lastly, no self-respecting judge is going to play the “political game” they are so often accused of playing.

People that consistently win do so because they’re good.

The end.

Drop the blame game.

4) Drop The Negative Self Talk

We’ve all heard this one before, but seriously, stop being a Negative Nancy when you have a less than spectacular ride (after you’re done blaming everyone else, of course).

As seasoned equestrians, we know and (should) accept that our performances are usually subpar because of something we did, but just because you aren’t blaming your horse, the judges, or politics doesn’t mean you aren’t sitting there beating yourself up for it.

Again, this is not a good thing.

What’s the good ol’ cowboy motto?  If you fall off, get back on?  Well, yeah, that about sums it up.

If you have a terrible ride, shake it off, or it is bound to haunt you during your next go.

Drop the negative self-talk.

5) Drop Taking Your Trainer For Granted

If you have a trainer, please do yourself (and them) a favor and be appreciative.

They spend far more hours at the show grounds than you do, they put up with your nerves and your worries, they put up with you souring up your horse, and they do it all to see you succeed.

Sweeping the barn aisle, mucking a stall, checking waters, having food catered are all ways you can show your trainer you appreciate them.

We’ve written a few articles on how to appreciate your trainer, so check them out if you need a refresher course.  Here’s a good one to get those appreciation juices flowing.

Oh, and a simple “thank you” never hurts either.

Drop taking your trainer for granted and realize they are there for you.

About Chenay: A Tucson, Arizona native Chenay started riding Pony Hunters at 6 years old until she found a passion for Paint horses in 1993. She began showing at APHA approved shows in November of that year and continued on with a successful Youth career until 2000. She went on to graduate from the University of Arizona in 2006 with a dual Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. Today, she lives in Yucaipa, California with her husband, son, and lots of animals, including a rescued APHA mare.