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New Year Resolutions for the Novice Competitor

Bringing it back to the OG puking unicorn that started it all for The Beginner's Guide

Here it is, a curated list of 6 resolutions for all you amazing novice competitors sparkle throwing, cow-cutting unicorns, out there looking forward to a successful new year in the show pen!

1.Thou Shall Not Switch Training Programs After One Bad Run

I know... you bought this magical unicorn that used to mark 75's like it was easy with its previous rider. You spent a lot of money. You're heading to your first show of the year and you are fixin' to mark a 78, dammit. You end up marking a 60. Your unicorn is now seemingly broken. Your trainer is looking out for you and doing their very best coaching you through runs with your limited skill set. One of the major keys to success is consistency, don't be a trainer hopper, stay the course unless you have a much more educated reason than "well I'm shoving my horse up the pen with my offside leg and for some reason my trainer is telling me to take my spurs off - they should be able to just FIX THAT, I paid a RIDICULOUS amount of money for these custom Kerry Kelley spurs and I LOVE them and will NOT take them off." Girl, we've all been there, if someone wants to send me a pair of Kerry Kelley's I probably wouldn't want to take them off either, heck I'd probably sleep in them, but maybe you should have invested in the clover-leafs, not the rock grinders.

2.Practice Gratitude In and Out of the Show Pen

#RealTalkTime - one of the biggest regrets I have showing Lady is not being utterly thankful for her every time I swung a leg over her. Towards the end of her show career it was all about what she should have been doing and what she was doing wrong, not what she was doing for me in the moment and in the long run. Not okay. I am so thankful for her now. Look, it's easy to get wrapped up in horses not working well, bad show after bad show, decent scores that aren't pulling cheques, mean-ass cows that run you over for no goddamn reason. But don't let any of that effect your mindset of gratitude when it comes to your show horse. We ask a ton of them, and usually we ask way more of them as novice competitors than we'll ever recognize until way on down the road. They are unicorns, even if they don't always sparkle, be grateful that you are even getting to attempt to throw your hand down.

3.I will actually learn the difference between cows. For example, "The Headlight" and "The Black Baldy" - not just pretend I know what my turn back help is telling me.

Shut up, you've done it, we all have atleast once. In turn, another resolution that fits this theme could be that you will communicate with your help how you hear. For example, I've had my help tell me "NOT that black cow" and it seems all I've heard is "THAT black cow"... every...time.

4.Set a Mantra For The Show Pen

Sports psychologists say that using a mantra - a short statement you tell yourself repeatedly - is often a huge help in mental toughness

My New Mantra This Year Will Be - "You Don't Actually Need To Pee. You Don't Actually Need To Pee. You Don't Actually Need To Pee."

That is, unless you attempted coping mechanism number five... drinking before your run. Learn from mama's mistakes my children, you're just going to feel really gross, a little out of it, but not in a productive way, and then you'll legitimately have to pee like three times and then you have to ask someone to get on your horse, and then it just looks like you have something going on... down there... no bueno.

Or, Alternatively, "I Will Not Cry In front of My Turnback Help. I Will Not Cry In front of My Turnback Help. I Will Not Cry In Front of My Turnback Help."

No cry babies allowed this year ya'll! In the show pen, I mean. Crying will occur, it's cool. I should probably market a small pack of cutting horse themed tissues that come with eye drops to fix your red-as-hell eyes after a good cry sesh. We all know the only appropriate place to cry is at the trailer, or back at the stalls, so that you can hide and ugly cry for a solid five minutes while unsaddling your horse. Sixties and Tears people, Sixties and Tears.. that's legitimately what I should have named this damn blog.

Or, I guess something like, "Sit the Stop" or "Calm, Clear, Smooth"... but those aren't as fun.

My personal goal for this year.

5.Set Personal Goals

Something else I've learned on this journey is that in order to achieve personal success, one should set goals. Now, listen carefully, your goals should be tailored to who you are as a rider, and also throw some goals in there that are achievable. Nothing feels better than crossing off a goal. Your best friend's goals may be "Win the World" "Win Eighteen Saddles" "Never Mark Below a 75" and, heck, if those are achievable for her - fricken go on with your bad self. If your goals are "Show For The First Time" "Consistency In The Show Pen" "Pick Up A Cheque" - that is JUST AS AWESOME. Don't compare yourself to others, and be real about where you are in the journey.


I mean it! Showing cutting horses is SO COOL. It IS. It's the best. Every time you walk out of the show pen in 2018, give your horse a solid pat on the neck and tell them thank you, then thank your turn back help, those guys deserve a solid thank you for getting you clear while you were sword fighting around. Then thank your trainer for putting up with your crap, followed by friends, family members, and anyone else in your general proximity that perhaps you were snarky too on a down-day when you were in that sixties and tears mindset.

THEN THANK YA DAMN SELF, because for a LOT, if not most, novice competitors showing a cutting horse is a dream realized. You probably worked REALLY HARD to get into the show pen, whether that be financially, mentally, physically... WHATEVER. We're all on this journey together and it's the best feeling in the world hearing "Your Name now showing Your Horse" and being able to drop your hand and go for it? So cool.

So, from your favourite cutting horse keyboard warrior... little 'ol me, I hope for nothing more for you than 75's and poppin' bottles like you're Austin Shepard and you just won the World Finals and the Futurity and made another one back to the finals and it's like everyday is your damn birthday. But, you know, if you are just out there... doing the damn thing, achieving your own personal goals and relishing in the fact you get to be one of the few people in the world that gets to feel this feeling - that's pretty cool too.

Here's to 2018!

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