Just a quick burst and recollection of my thoughts from the weekend that just passed..
The focus point of this piece will be the word;
gaining, resulting in, or relating to victory in a contest or competition.“a winning streak”synonyms: victorious, successful, triumphant, vanquishing, conquering;
What exactly is winning and what does it mean to you?
Take a moment to think about this word, what it means to you and how it affects your journey.
On the weekend, we attended the Gisborne Horse Trials. A local horse trials just around the corner from home. In the Dressage I brought home a beautiful test, one of my best. Consisting of eleven 9’s and a whopping 87.33%, placing us first to start the day.
Cross country is my favourite phase. The rush of adrenaline, the speed, the jumps, the cheering, the challenges. It is great! Ever since I’ve owned Lewis, this has been our biggest struggle. At Gisborne, there was this sense of pressure, having jumped clear around the entire Pakenham EVA80 course, and this week being placed first after dressage. Upon my course walk with Matt, I began to look at all these jumps differently, like they we much higher or scarier than I had remember. I had doubt creeping over me and nerves rising. With a slap and a good chat, we were back on the right path of walking the course confidently and focusing on the task at hand.
I rode my cross country at 1.08pm and zoomed around like I was aboard a seasoned eventer. I am so proud of Lewis and the achievements we have made just in the short period of 2018. But then.. Jump number 16, a step – ditch – bank – roll top combination.. is where I let myself and Lewis down. We came into the fence a little quick, had a little spook and then I rode completely opposite to the way I had planned. We had a run out here, but I persisted and got him over this combination. We finished the course undertime, but feeling rather disheartened and down.
This feeling of winning and then loosing, going from the top straight to the bottom, the leader board looking so appealing to not even wanting to look at it.
Being so happy and proud, to being so sad and let down.
I had a real roller coaster of emotions in the vet check, I blocked out those who were there to support me, I wasn’t as happy as I should have been with Lewis and I felt terrible inside..
On my walk back to the float, Dad and Matt spoke to me about my run and were so proud to see Lewis go around the course flowing, not hesitating, keeping speed, remembering our course, looking great. They had all these positives about what I just did..
I sat down after cooling off Lewis and I had a really deep think. I thought to myself about the run I had at Gisborne Horse Trials 12 months ago; multiple stops, not flowing, not confident; time penalties.
Boom, there it was. The light bulb moment. The moment I realised exactly how far we had come in the last almost two years.
6, 12 and 18 months ago we would only ever dream about making it around a cross country course clear, flowing, being super confident with ourselves, and feeling like an ‘eventer’.
So, I made a list of the positive outcomes from my cross country:
- He did not feel like stopping at any other fence
- We felt fitter than the weekend before
- We worked as a team
- We were 20 seconds under time this weekend
- I remained calm going into the start box
- We got straight out the box into a canter
- No rears at all
- No hissy fits half way around the course
- We jumped down of the bank into the water!!!!!
- We got over Fence 16 the second time without hesitation
Wow. Look at all those positives, a whole 10 dot points of great outcomes. This really helped me to look at my experience on cross country as a whole and as a positive outcome, instead of focusing on the one negative of one silly stop.
YAY – so I felt great going into Show Jumping. I knew I didn’t really have a chance at a placing so I focused solely on a clear, equitation round, and that is exactly what we did.
Results were listed and I had a quick look. We came away with 3rd place overall. Our dressage score and a clear show jumping round had kept us steady with the rest of the group. By the looks of the results, a lot of riders had trouble on the cross country as well as the show jumping.
Now, what have I taken away from this weekend;
Never be disheartened by your performance, Equestrian sport (in my opinion) is one of the hardest sports in the world. Not only does the athlete have to be in shape, and mind on the game, but so does a 600kg+ horse, they have to remember routines, focus on technique and so much more all at once.
You have a special bond with your horse.. your team mate, which no one else will feel or resemble. Horses don’t choose to compete, they do it for us and we must respect them ever so greatly. I believe it is pretty special what we get horses to do and how incredible they really are.
The line between a win and a loss should only be determined by the way you feel about your ride, not by what a scoreboard says. You may come dead last, but you were so happy with your canter in your dressage test, making it over the scariest jump on the course or just simply going out for the day and having fun. Don’t let peer pressure, scores, and others opinions get in your way from feeling success and achievement. We have our own goals and we all succeed at different speeds and in different ways.
Take away every positive from your event and make sure you focus on the positives. There will always be another event, and another $5 ribbon. The true joy in competing should revolve around the achievements you made within that, and the next step on your journey to success. The $5 ribbon is just a bonus!
Winning in my eyes now, is to strengthen the bond and trust I have with my team mate, to make small realistic goals and smash them, to conquer things you never thought you could, and to enjoy every second you have on your horse. Life is too short to focus on the negatives.
PS. I said quick at the start but I couldn’t stop myself typing
Happy riding lovers