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I find myself often pondering the future, reflecting on the past, and living in the present. And I am usually thinking about what my “team” looks like.
As an equestrian it is easy wonder what it looks like to be a part of this “team”. What do we need to be successful? What do we need to thrive? Do we go out there to “break a leg” or “pick ourselves up and dust our selves off” or “beat a team/personal best” or are we driven just to “win”? I feel like this is different for each individual. For me, being a part of this equestrian team looks like this.
Inclusion: there is no doubt that our sport has athletes of many talents, backgrounds, and upbringing. I think it is easy to get wrapped up in who has what, and who is doing what. Often causing us to forget the girl with the dirty half chaps and borrowed boots, probably has the same dreams as the guy riding the fancy import, and winning every chance he gets. I think it is far too easy to compare, and pin ourselves against one another, instead of working to include each other in this sport, in our passion and to thrive as a whole. I have made it a personal journey of mine to make sure each and every person I have the chance to encourage, I do. You never know how your support and guidance can change someone’s life!
Training: this one is broad and can be interpreted in many ways. But I truly believe training goes beyond who stands ringside and says the first words to you when you walk out. It goes beyond the one who teaches lessons. Our trainers are so many different people in our lives! Our trainers are our parents, who guide us through life and provide insight on how to handle ourselves. Our trainers are our peers, we can often learn from those who face similar struggles and celebrate each other when we achieve goals. Our trainers are our trainers. The ones who invest in us, who put their own needs and desires aside to help us achieve our goals and who are there to tell us to “dust ourselves off and get back on”. We all have so many different people in our life that are training us on a daily basis to make our industry one that is approachable, and desirable to any and all who are interested. It is our job to soak up those teachings, and pass them along to anyone we can.
Dedication: this seems like such a simple concept. But when you have the well being of an animal at the mercy of how dedicated you are to them, it can be overwhelming! Our 4 legged team mates are who and what make our dreams a reality. Without them, we don’t have a complete team. So be dedicated to them and each and every aspect of this sport. Educate yourself on bits. Know why your horse or the horse you ride is eating what it eats. Learn the cues your partner (both equine and human) is giving you, be aware of how your actions effect those around you. Ask questions. Lots of questions. If you don’t know, it’s ok! Surround yourself with people who will take the time to educate you! Be dedicated to those who are dedicated to you. And ALWAYS put your best foot forward!
We are human. We slip up. Our partners are horses. They have their good days and their bad. But, when all is said and done-we owe it to ourselves and to each other to make sure our team knows we are in this together, each and every day.
Need a team? Reach out! @finnyandvinny is my IG handle and you are welcome on my team-ANY TIME! And I am so thankful to be accepted on the Herd Of Zebras team. It’s my safe place!
Much love and best wishes,