Say you have a bad show. We have all been there. After all of your terrible rounds are finished, do you mope around feeling sorry for yourself the rest of day? Or do you brush it off and say, “well tomorrow is another day,” with a smile? I had a trainer who would tell me that if I chipped in at the first fence of my course to forget about it and make the rest of my round flawless. Isn’t that the way to be? Rather than dwelling on mistakes and mishaps, if we brush them off and move forward we can very often redeem ourselves. If we get hung up on a bad fence, or a bad day, the next one will likely be just as bad. Remaining positive, and focused ahead rather than behind, can turn things around.
Horses can sense our attitude as well. They feel what we are feeling, and can absorb it. Would you rather your horse absorb a bad attitude or a good attitude? When they feel our frustration, anger, and negativity they can become unsure of themselves – and even stressed. We really must adopt the “good vibes only” attitude if we really want our horses to perform well.
Being able to brush off, and even laugh off, bad rides has been such and important aspect of my riding career. Don’t get me wrong, I have had plenty of days that I felt sorry for myself and had a negative attitude toward my horse and riding abilities. We will all have those days, but we must keep them few and far between! Back when I was competing a lot, laughing off the bad days helped me to come back the next day and make a complete 180. When I didn’t get hung up on the mistakes, I was able to move forward. I was also more pleasant for my barn-mates to be around! Staying positive is a huge part of what has turned Chance around. A good attitude is absolutely key in equestrian. There will always be bad jumps, terrible horse shows, and disappointments but whether or not we handle them with smile will make all the difference.