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Motivation Monday: Using Bad Times to Improve

Dec 11, 2023

Following up on my recent blog post about having issues and setbacks, I recently came across this quote unrelated to horses and jotted it down in my phone to remember and to pass along.

"If the seas were always calm, we'd never build a better boat."

Think about that for a minute.

What that quote is saying is that if we never have any issues or challenges, we would never have any reason or impetus to improve. 

Some of my biggest lightbulb moments, or biggest changes in philosophy or attitude or training all came from challenges and setbacks that I faced. 

For example, this summer I had a fall at Maryland International at the very last "combination" on course. I say "combination", because it was technically numbered separate, but it was very much related.

It was a gallop up a hill, then about a 160 degree turn into a small water complex, 2 strides to a maxed out table, and then gallop a handful of strides up another hill to two more fences.

As I swung on the sharp turn, Cay backed off because of the turn, and then backed off at the entrance to the water. Long story short, I ended up getting my "eventing baptism" as my first fall in water in my 12 or so years of eventing. 

Of course I was disappointed, especially as it was near the very end of the course and I was counting on it for a qualification. But once I got home, I refocused how to never let that sort of question catch me out again. About once a week or so, for months on end, I would set up a ground pole in the arena on a tight, sharp 180 degree turn and make sure I rode the snot out of the turn and never had an inkling of backing off. 

There are many, many other examples of things I've changed in my riding and training after having some sort of issue or setback. 

Riding horses is a tough sport and you will have issues at some point. In my opinion, more than any other sport. But at the end of the day, you have two choices when confronted with that setback. You can either let it defeat you, or you can choose to attack it head-on and use it as motivation to improve your riding. 

The choice is up to you.

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