'Horses are very grounding' has to be one of my favourite horse quotes, as it is undeniably true. Horses both teach and test us in different ways, and though one minute you may be flying high, there are also times where you have to accept that it is not your day, hang up the bridle and try again.
This has been a little more relevant to me recently, as I have been competing more through the Summer and stepping both my horses and myself out of our comfort zones. For me, this meant jumping bigger tracks. Though I put in the months of preparation, training, care and everything else that comes along with owning horses, there is no guarantee that everything will go perfect in the ring. Heck, is there even such thing as perfection when it comes to horses?
So, though I have in my head the desire to push our boundaries and progress even further, you sometimes need to take a step back and just appreciate how far you have come already and how much your horse has already done for you. This may mean putting your great plans on hold and just enjoying what you both enjoy doing. Though you may feel that there is a certain pressure to become the next Scott Brash or Charlotte Dujardin, you can always get that same satisfaction by completing the small goals you set yourself.
The truth is, most of the pressure you feel is what you put on yourself. Even when you feel you may be stuck in a continuous cycle, that you are no longer progressing, you simply have to find the positives in any situation. Perhaps your horse has been performing fantastically at home and then you have a disaster on the day of the show, there will always be positives to take out of a situation. Whether this is what you feel you did well, or what you know you can do better at. But at the end of the day, the one thing we always seem to forget is that they are just horses. They're not machines, we cannot control their free will and we sometimes have to accept that things are not always going to go the way we planned them. And that's okay, because that means that we have more yet to learn.
The same concept can be applied to any discipline really, you can just have a bad day. This might mean you simply have a fence down, you forget your dressage test or a bad schooling session. But though this may happen, you have to remain optimistic and brush yourself off, there will always be another day when you can try again. And when you do try again you need to put the past behind you. Another of my favourite horse quotes seems relevant here- 'Train like you've never won, perform like you've never lost'.
And this is so true. You might not win today, but it doesn't mean that you won't win another day.
This is the mentality I have tried to keep throughout this month. Though I had didn't have the results I had been working hard for, I was still proud of my horses and myself for pushing to try something new. And as they say, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and there doesn't have to be a victory to feel like an accomplishment. I don't regret trying something new because at same time, I have learned something new about my horses. And I will try again. It is still enjoyable to stay in your comfort zone, and I will still continue to do this to an extent as pushing beyond this is understandably daunting. But persistence pays off, and most of the time- it will be worth it.
Thank you for reading my blog, see you next time!