Thursday, January 22, 2009


For as much as horse riding is a physically demanding sport, it is as much mentally demanding as well. Your ATTITUDE plays a HUGE part in your capabilities as a rider. The mood your in or the attitude you have can help you or hinder you.
Case and point. Let's throw 2Toads out there to the wolves. She was at a show in a showmanship class with her horse that SHE felt was NOT good at showmanship at all... So 2Toads, put on a big smile and tried her hinny off. Well sure enough the judge liked her and she moved on to a "Round Robin" type of showmanship, where you switch horses with other competitors. They show your horse, you show theirs. Well the horse 2toads got was an amazing showmanship horse horse, so 2Toads like we've all done, said "Well this is in the bag. This horse is AMAZING." She didn't win that class... Why??? Well the judge came up to her later and said her attitude totally changed when she was showing the horse she "thought" was a walk in the park. She let the positive thoughts leave her mind and just got lazy. ASSUMING this horse would give her a blue ribbon.

NOW, I can guarantee you she is far from the only one. I've done that a million times if I've done it once. You have to keep yourself in a "PMA" frame of mind. Positive Mental Attitude. no matter which horse you're riding or showing, your attitude WILL show through to the judges. And THAT is what they like to see. People having FUN!!! Not the cut throats, or the snotty, the people who have FUN! keeping yourself in a PMA is also beneficial for your horse as well. They'll feel your vibes and in turn relax and perform appropriately. It can be an extremely hard concept to grasp at times, your horse might be having a bad day, you might have woke up late, but it works.

One of my students takes her self way too seriously when we're at the shows, she get s way emotional and upset so FINALLY after she smiles and at least APPEARS to be having fun she places. I keep telling her people LIKE seeing other people have fun! It really is ALL about the ATTITUDE!!

If you get upset or stressed take a walk, quit for the day, take a breather. You'll do more harm than good to you and your horse if you let the negative attitude sneak in and take over. Make up a mantra or chant for yourself when you feel like you're going to lose it, or are way too stressed. "PMA, PMA, Pma, Pma, pma, p.....m......a, p........" Ahhhhhhh relax... :) Smile big and HAVE FUN!!!


GoLightly said...

Your attitude directly influences your horse.
So true.
You are one smart cookie monster.

Attitude, demeanour, whatever you call it, if you aren't having fun, don't bother.
Smile, enjoy!
NO MATTER WHAT. Well, okay, if the horse dumps you into the shit pile, ok, one frown is allowed, at YOURSELF, for falling off:)
It'll surprise the heck out of other people, and horses love you more when you smile kindly at them.

Great post, TrexX.
as per usual...

GoLightly said...

oops, forgot to add,

kestrel said...

Horses, like dogs and kids, tend to try to be what we think they are. I know a bunch of them that have completely turned around because one person BELIEVED that they had potential.

horsesandponies4ever said...

Yes, attitude plays a major part. I hate seeing grumpy people, or people who think their better than everyone else because they can afford fancy horses *bangs head against desk*. When I used to do danceing, my teachers always told us to smile, even if we were half petrified. I know judges love to see people relaxed and have a smile plastered to their faces. Just make sure it doesn't slip off X).

Mikolaj said...

I think my biggest accomplishment ever was the "smallest". I had planned to enter my Arab mare in a fun schooling Dressage show that was being hosted in the winter months to give everyone some fun.

Unfortunately, my mare came down with a bad cold a few weeks before the show. Nothing serious, but she as unrideable due to her cough. She cleared up a couple days before the show, and the ONLY time I rode her was the night before the show - bareback in the arena at 10pm, we went over one of our two tests. I figured meh, good experience right? So we went. The day of the show I rode her in the arena and she was behaving fantastically. I was so proud of her.

I walked into that showring looking for nothing more then experience. I concentrated on my mare, concentrated on her enjoying herself, concentrated on JUST her. And you know what? Out of 8 entries, we WON our first test =D I was almost crying I was so proud of her. It was a totally laid back non-formal fun event, but by worrying about NOTHING but my horse having fun, she had enough fun to pull a ribbon for us!

Anytime I get to tense at an event, I think back to that time. We won because I didn't care a lick about winning and just set out to make my mare as comfortable as possible at her very first Dressage show. My attitude calmed her, made her realize there was nothing to worry about, and she shone through brilliantly!

clara said...

i think part of the reason me and my horse do well at shows is b/c i chill out and try to stay calm the whole time. i didn't think attitude made that much of a difference until i went to state and in my stock seat eq class i got so nervous and was fiddling with my horse the whole time thinking "ugh just put your head down!" i was stressed and was stressing my poor horse out and he taught me a very important and humbling lesson. we were loping around and i was nervous and was stressing me and my horse out and right when we got infront of the judge my horse did a sliding stop. i couldn't get him to go and i was soooo embarrassed. we got a white but it taught me how important it is to relax and have fun at shows. after all it is just a ribbon.

SammieRockes said...

haha. thats true, I remember I put on 6 mo OTTB in a parade, I smiled, and talked and wave, he jittered and side passed, people thought I was making him do that cuz I looked so calm.

And last year, I took my gelding to a show(He hates arenas as I have mentioned) We just did showman ship, so I could keep my barn boss happy, and well, I was nervous a little, because I have discovered horses love to mkae you look bad sometimes, hahahaah. Well we went in, did the pattern, he was slow to start the jog, and then, though he normally backs well in hand, didn't back a step! so i turned to finsih the patter, the judged looked at me and said "What, no back up" I smiled and said "His reverse button is out of order" the judge crakced up and gave me a red for my sense of humor.

Mikolaj said...

It would be really cool if all shows started implementing a "good attitude" system. Either for each class, or just at the end of the show, hand out a ribbon or trophy to the person they observed as having the best attitude - regardless of placement. Maybe that person just having an awful day and yet still smiling and patting her horse after every class. Do more to promote and reward that good attitude, y'know? =)

ridewithjoy said...

First show, local sheriff posse fun show-age 13, Novice WP and a BIG class 20+ if I remember right, I was riding my friend's stiff as board old grade QH. Peanut did not pick up the left lead ever. We all were sent to the rail one at a time for a left lead. I kept pulling him up each two strides to try again until I ran out of room and went back to the line up to wait till the class was over. I never got a left lead so figured I was way out of the ribbons. We won the blue and I was so shocked I almost fell off! Was the judge blind? No, when I asked him him about it he told me that NOBODY got the lead ( I didn't have my glasses then and had no clue) but he said I was the only one who kept trying to get it.