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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Harrison

What's Fair? How to Create Fair Expectations For You & Your Horse

When you get involved in a sport with a partner you add a great deal to the natural challenges of tackling an athletic endeavor. When you get involved in a sport that involves you being the direct teacher of your partner you add another layer of trials. When that partner speaks a different language and is in fact a different species altogether your task is nearly off the chart of possible. Or at least it feels that way at times.

That said - you need to be fair, both to yourself and your horse as you both feel the stress of these challenges.

What's Fair? How to create fair expectations for you and your horse

I'm sorry the judge didn't see the person who beat you in the class get the wrong canter lead through the transition . But weren't you lucky the judge didn't realize you were on the wrong diagonal for the short side of the ring? Maybe that judge just really doesn't like grey horses. Another judge will love them. It's called Life.

You picked your sport. And, like it, or not, you picked your partner. And, accept it, or not, life happens.

So. How can you be fair to yourself and your partner?

1. Be realistic. If you've never shown a horse before you aren't likely to be the top of your chosen sport two months after you discover said game.

2. Train for success. Miracle methods don't work. Simply wanting to be good at something simply isn't good enough to have perfect rides.

3. Build a toolbox custom designed for you. I mean that figuratively. Know what you will do to keep yourself and your partner in the best state on show day. Have strategies that will work for you to be calm, emotionally together,, focused, or whatever you need. Have warm up routines that are built to aid your success (Engagement or focus are issues? Know that? Do something about it.)

4. Find your self discipline. Then use it. Luck is hard work. Success is harder work. Self discipline includes things like practicing good self care. And, sadly, all the work in the world won't always result in success or good luck. (See ^^^ "Life isn't fair" )

5. Use good judgement. Know what a reasonable plan for progression might look like and be honest at least with yourself. If you arrive and a situation isn't going to work for you in the now don't say "let's just try it" and then be upset if your horse reacts exactly as you thought they would.

6. Avoid excuses. Something didn't go as expected? By all means figure out why and what to do about it but it's happened. Move on. No matter if your horse has never seen a flower box or a carnival ride was beside the show ring. You had a cold and felt crappy? So sad too bad - not an excuse.

7. Accept that there are bad days. The flip side of that is, if you do your work, there are also good days. Shake them off and carry on.

8. Absorb the great around you. Take classes. Attend clinics. Participate fully. Watch video. Ask questions. Keep learning! I live in the middle of a lake. This is not always easy for me but I do what I can to keep learning.

9. Learn from the days it doesn't work. There are take aways from every situation and a likely big one will be "I didn't think of training with that happening". So make that happen. Get your partnership used to as many variations as you can while working happily. The time invested truly does pay off.

10. Celebrate the days it all comes together and life is fair and wonderful and success is YOURS baby, yours!!

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What's Fair? Creating fair expectations for you and your horse

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