To the outside world, equestrians are a highly romanticized bunch. These outsiders see the beauty and power of the horse, they see the long standing traditions and equestrian culture. What they don’t see is the amount of dedication, planning, and knowledge that our sport is built upon. Historically, our relationship has been one of master and servant.
In recent times, our relationship has shifted from necessity and practicality and we now see horses not as our servants, but as our partners. Improving the quality of our horse’s lives is a realization that we can get more from our partnership. In that process, let’s not overlook a key part of that dynamic - ourselves.
We are 50% of the partnership. When we see ourselves as a valued part of the team and care for our well being, the whole team thrives. So what does it look like when you turn that intention towards becoming the best partner for your horse?
How to be an Intentional Equestrian:
1. GET TO KNOW YOU - In pursuit of bringing your best to every ride, it helps to really understand who you are as a human and not just as an equestrian.
Start by recognizing that you are both similar to and different from every other person out there, equestrian or otherwise. This means that you possess your own unique combination of weakness and strength. By viewing weaknesses as untapped potential, you have a fresh perspective on what you can improve. Potential is something to get excited about!
2. EXPERIMENT - When other parts of your life are a hot mess, how can you expect to be present and focused during your time with your horse?
Exploring skills, routines, and support systems is a deliberate trial and error process where you develop an effective program for yourself. This is no different than creating a care and training program for your horse.
3. DO NOT FEAR FAILURE - Developing supportive practices comes from being willing to keep track of what works and committing to it.
Part of the equation is having a healthy view of failure and errors. Mistakes can be viewed either as a poor reflection of yourself, your skills, and your potential, or for what they really are: feedback. Feedback is simply information that guides you to make decisions on what does and does not work, in order for you to develop practices, rituals and challenges which further your progress as an equestrian.
When you take the time to be intentional in what you do from day to day you set yourself up to become purposeful and well directed as an equestrian athlete and partner with your horses. In the next article, we’ll discuss how to build a fulfilling practice based on the information you gather from your experimentation. Look forward to feeling your best and bringing your best to every ride!