Novice riders of all ages suffer from them, but experienced competitors struggle as well. Professional trainers battle with them, horses have to endure them, and all judges can spot them. We’re talking about bad riding habits.
However, with a committed, positive attitude and a honest assessment of your flaws, you can learn how to vanquish the most common riding faux pas.
There’s No Such Thing as Perfection
Trainer and judge Clint Fullerton owns Fullerton Equine, LLC in Bonner Springs, Kansas. He holds twelve judges cards. He’s quick to point out that the perfect rider, the perfect horse, and the perfect performance doesn’t exist. Comparing your own personal riding talents, your horse’s training, and your performance to others isn’t healthy or realistic.
“In showing, your goals shouldn’t be all about outperforming your peers and winning the prize,” he says. “The minute you start thinking about trying to be perfect and beating others is the same minute you lose sight of what’s really important- the experience and connection with your horse.”
Fullerton uses a football analogy as an example when talking to riders about staying in a healthy mindset when there’s competition pressure.
“If a quarterback throws an interception, how that player chooses to respond will set the precedent in that moment and in the near and distant future. The inability of being able to shake it off and let go of your disappointments not only ends the learning process, but it also doesn’t allow you to forgive yourself for having an off ride or making a mistake.”
Learning Bad Habits