Lately, I've watched people struggle - in and out of the show pen. I've thought to myself, I should come on here and write something motivational and helpful. I have experienced my fair share of ups and downs, surely I can help them through theirs.
The truth is, this sport is hard, and it is individualized, and sometimes, even surrounded by friends and peers, it is lonely. If you are going through a slump, my advice to you is this:
- What is bugging you right now? What's crawling under your skin and getting in the way of your successes? Do a bit of a deep, introspective, dive here. If you want to blame everyone and everything around you - that's cool. But, is it actually you? Is it insecurities? Is it pressure? Who is causing that pressure? Who is manifesting those insecurities? Generally, and unfortunately [because it's way easier to blame others], we are putting it on ourselves.
- Develop resources to work through the mental constructs you are creating that are blocking your pathways to success.
- The more good you put out there, the more good comes back to you. It may not always feel that way, I get it. It's not always easy to cheer on your friends while you are constantly donating money. It isn't easy to be constantly eyeing up your bank account while others are pulling in with brand new trucks, trailers and horses. It isn't easy to sit out a show, to sit out a season, to sit on the sidelines indefinitely. But, I promise you two things. 1. The less you compare, the stronger you become. 2. It is uncanny - keep cheering, keep supporting, keep putting that good out there, it comes back around.
- Luck. It's a thing. I see it all the time. Beginner's luck. New horse luck. New trainer luck. Develop a program that works for you. Develop a system so that your riding stops being luck and starts being the sum of your hard work and sacrifices.
- Why do I say that? Because waiting on luck is a hell of a lot more stressful than being confident in yourself.
- Take a break. 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months, 5 years. If you are in the middle of feeling like you don't want to be "here" then leave. It's like we've always said to kids as we reprimand them, "you can come back when you're ready" and the same goes for adults in the show pen. Come back when you are ready personally, professionally, emotionally and financially (but, like, that one is a loose pillar am I right?). Sometimes it takes 5 minutes at the stalls, sometimes it takes 5 hours in your trailer, 5 days at home and not even riding, 5 months to go explore other opportunities, 5 years to start a new chapter.
- It'll be here when you get back. Know when you've pushed yourself too far and know when it's time to slow down.
- Surround yourself with good people. The supportive kind, the funny kind, the helpful kind, the quiet kind, the loud kind, the drinking kind. Whatever works for you and whatever lifts you up - seek that over anything else. Your circle is instrumental in your success.
I promise you, if you get absolutely smoked by your friend and are legitimately and truly happy for them. If you have a program that instils confidence in you before you enter the show pen. If you know when to take a break and take a breather and if you surround yourself with good people... you are well on your way.
Keep grinding. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were 75's. Believe in your unicorn and believe in your damn self too.