We Got This
By April Ray-Peterson
A week away from the first horse show of the year and I can’t help but feel a little panicky. I didn’t get out on any field trips this winter despite buying a trailer and making all sorts of plans to do so. That’s the thing about plans; they’re easy to make, but hard to keep.
A part of me is worrying about all the things that could go wrong. But then there is this new and improved part of me that says, don’t worry, you got this. And the best part is, it’s not just me. I have a great support team at the barn, a coach who believes in me and my horse, and somewhere deep down inside of me the belief that I can do this, and things are going to be just fine. And if they aren’t, I have people I can lean on to help me get through it all.
So instead of feeling nervous, underprepared, and worried I am choosing to feel calm, prepared, and excited. But not too excited. We spend far too much time, money, and effort on this sport for it to not be fun. After all, isn’t fun what it’s all about? See my previous post: It’s Supposed to be Fun.
At the beginning of this year, I was asked to set goals. Defining goals when it comes to riding is such a useful thing to do; how are you supposed to reach your goals if you don’t know what they are? So, I think this is as good a time as any to look back on the goals I set a few months ago:
Initially, I just want to get to a place where both my horse, Fire and I are comfortable hauling out and going to new places. Where she can behave like a lady and not a large orangutan - on the ground and under saddle. In my mind - any successes on top of that are just icing on the cake.
Once we have tackled that hurdle and more related to riding, I want to put in consistent, solid rounds, where I can walk away feeling like I've done the best I could do and honoured my horse. I am not married to the idea of staying in the Baby Green ring all year given that she's coming five, but also don't mind taking it slow with her if need be. It would be great to take her in the jumper field this summer to play around a little as well.
I would be lying if I said I didn't want to win, or at the very least place consistently. But for me that can never be the goal, or I will put so much pressure on myself I would pretty much self-destruct. I just need to work on my own anxieties when it comes to horse showing and make sure I don't pass them along to Fire, or abandon the skills I have worked so hard on the moment I step in the show ring. Oh, yea - and HAVE FUN! I want to have ALL the fun.
So, let’s all set some goals, go out there and have fun, and don’t worry – be happy.
Main photo: April and Fire at a horse show in 2017. Photo: Hannah Riach