It takes a lot to reach your goals in any sport, as an equestrian it is a little different to most as we have a living, breathing animal to consider. Success is relative to your goals, it doesn't matter if you are looking to to compete at a local, regional, national or international level you need to take a holistic approach to your performance. In short, the more professional you are in your management and approach, the better the reward will be. This month we discuss the importance of having a supportive network of people around you who are on the journey with you to boost your success.
A SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
The most successful and secure riders form a team of people around them who can mentor and support them along the way. Lonely is not strong and to achieve in this sport we need good support networks around us. It takes a village to raise a horse and rider team- trainers, farriers, vets, family, friends- the list is long! Think about how many people you need to be in contact with in order to just get to the point where you can enter a show! If you build this foundation of people to support you in your journey, you will make room for yourself to better focus on the ingredients that you need in order to be successful in your chosen discipline- mental strength, skill, discipline, ability and drive.
Mental strength is a big one for any sport. Without it you will find yourself struggling along the way. The highs and lows that you experience with horses aren't for the faint of heart, in fact mental strength overrides natural talent- you can have all the talent in the world but if you don't have the mental strength and discipline to accompany it then you won’t reach your true potential. Don’t be discouraged if you don't possess that natural talent- most people don’t! You could be a perfectly fine rider that has learnt the necessary skill to compete where you want to be with a strong mindset and less natural talent and find yourself right up there footing it with the best of them- this is where psychological strength is super important!
Undying drive accompanies mental strength, you must be super resilient to stand the test of time in equestrian sports. The true test of this is when you realise that the top riders are back at it on a Monday morning working hard, even if they had their biggest career win the day before. They celebrate and then the very next day they are carrying on as per normal. This is the dedication and drive required to make it, no matter what you carry on working your grind and making things happen. Horses can be a rollercoaster and it doesn't matter if you are at the top of it or the bottom of it, your luck can change at any given moment- for better or worse- and this is the importance of having drive, discipline and determination.
Find people who can help you in these areas- a trainer who can support you in these areas as well as improving your riding are few and far between so don't rest until you find the right fit for you. Someone who genuinely cares about your journey and not just taking your money is going to be the person who goes the extra mile to see you through your goals. You need a trainer that above all, strengthens your self confidence and self belief- if your trainer isn't doing this for you then look elsewhere!
Document your journey. Write down notes after each lesson, jot things down as you think about what might help you in your quest- even if its just on your phone until you can get home and write it in your training diary. Every time you hear or think of something valuable, write it down so you can hold onto that wisdom and refer to your notes often.
This system of support is going to boost your performance and also make the whole journey much more enjoyable! A lonely rider is not a strong one but more so they aren't a happy rider!