Why Should You Compete?

No matter what sport you participate in there is most likely a chance to enter a competition.  Should you do it?  I say yes!  I ride horses and there are lots of opportunities to compete in horse shows in all of the equestrian disciplines.

I think there are a number of valuable things that come from entering competitions.

  1. Learning to set goals. You will discuss with your coach what your realistic goals are and with their help you will set out short term, medium term and long-term goals. For equestrians, this would be deciding what shows you want to compete in; local shows that afford a smaller financial outlay and a more “schooling” show approach to the judging or bigger national level shows which are more expensive and the judging is more rigorous. If you are a dressage rider what level of test are you ready to ride? If a jumper what height of fence are you ready for? What are you working toward for the next show season?
  2. Learning to plan. Once you have your goals then you and your coach can set out a plan for how to achieve those goals. What do you have to start working on now? Where should you be in your training in three weeks? In six weeks?
  3. Learning to let go. Even with the best set of plans things can change. When you get to the competition and you are fully prepared, ready to get in there and show what you can do …..BAM…..something happens!  A spanner in the works!  This can be a last-minute change of schedule, weather, problem at the venue etc. etc.  These are things you can have no control over.  You have to let it go and go to your Plan B.  The ability to let it go is a useful  life skill.

Positive people only. If you go to horse shows with other people from your barn or yard it is great if they are all a positive and supportive group. But there may be a negative Nellie or a high maintenance  Harry in the group. Since they are essentially part of your “team” you have to live with them.  Just give them love and don’t play into their negativity. Then there are your friends who come to watch you compete.  The real friends will be positive and supportive even if you have a very unsuccessful show. Then there are the other “friends”. They cannot restrain themselves from telling you how you could have done it better and it is most likely that those “friends” have not competed or been in a show ring for decades.  Discourage those “friends” from coming to watch you compete. Seriously! Dissuade them from attending by any means possible. It is very important to surround yourself with positive people. The only people who are qualified to critique your ride are the judge and your coach. My coach has a positive approach to discussing  the rides; good ones and not so good ones.

 

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5. The breakthrough! This is the most important reason to compete. Getting out and competing will tell you the truth, sometimes the harsh truth, about where you stand and what you are really capable of.  In horse sports, there is always the variable of the horse. Your horse may have a bad day and it may not be your best performance. This can give you the opportunity to learn how to work around that and at the next show you may be able to be better prepared. 888_3809 Whatever happens you will learn a lot from getting into the competition arena.  How did your training hold up in the stress of the show ring?  How did you hold up in the stress of the show ring? What went well? What did not go well?  What will you work on at home to improve?

My biggest breakthroughs have come in competition.  There is a heightened reality in competition and things have become crystal clear to me in a way they are not when I am in the comfort of the training arena at home.  The breakthrough awareness can be exciting, exhilarating or discouraging depending on what it is. But they are all important, the nice ones and the uncomfortable ones, and both lead to great opportunities to learn and move ahead.19620534_10158927494270472_6916546010306428734_o

If you want to be recreational rider only that is fine. It is a wonderful thing to spend time with horses whatever you are doing with them. But if you are investing time, energy and money into training and working at your riding then it is important to compete.

And…it can be great fun!

*All the photos in this post  were taken by and are the property of Connie Gaube ( Connie Gee). Thank you Connie for these lovely photos. *

27 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this! And is why I wasn’t ready to quit showing!! I really feel that competing helps me become a better rider and partner for my horse. Plus having a goal makes me get out and ride! Not that I don’t want to ride but having a goal to work towards makes me get out of bed and go ride when I would rather hit snooze a few times and play on facebook! I understand when my friends don’t ride as much as they’d like because the rest of their life gets in the way and I don’t want to be like that. I love riding and I love my horses and I know that keeping my routine is important for them as well as myself! I do need goals to work towards though and that’s where competing comes in-if I have goals and shows to work towards and a progression of skills it makes me accountable to getting better and that benefits my horses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m glad the post could give you some motivation. Carry on and best of luck!

      Like

  2. Avery says:

    yes, agreed. It is not easy, but it can be so beneficial if kept positive and fun. It is fun to read about your training and shows and how it all comes together as you progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That’s how it is supposed to go but just like life sometimes it is not a steady upward progression. But it is always interesting and challenging.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Avery says:

        Never is! But that makes all the more worth earning and working for

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post! Competing brings out our passion, creativity, drive and desire to improve and feel good about ourselves and proud of our accomplishments. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a really interesting read and it really inspired me to get out and compete! Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You’re welcome.best of luck !

      Like

  5. Robyn says:

    Great post – I agree. I started running a few years ago and toyed with the idea of competing in a race. Eventually I went for it. It was so much fun, I never stopped! For all the reasons you mentioned above. Am I the best runner out there? No, not by any means. I am competing with myself – to achieve my own personal goals. I don’t always achieve my goal, but I love to continue to work and train for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Good for you! That is terrific. I agree with you about competing with yourself. That’s pretty much how I feel as well. Thanks for this comment it is nice to learn more about you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice, I agree. It’s always fun to do it even if you may or may not win 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would love to show off my body, but don’t have the time taking care of my husband. Also I don’t know whether he would like me as a body builder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Ah! That’s to bad because I think you could do very well!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lawrence Bardoo says:

    Thank you. So. Beautifully put. It’s what I always say to my clients.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are welcome! Glad you could identify with the post.

      Like

  9. cigarman501 says:

    As a former, retired, Athletic coach I find that I still compete even if it is against myself when I go for a walk or a run. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! I can understand that. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  10. Such a beautiful post! And I love the pictures too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Lovely post and I completely agree. You get so much out of competing. I played chess at quite a high level for a while and loved the competitions, even the ones that went badly I learnt so much from. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you and how interesting that you found the same thing with chess!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s very different but I relate to nearly all the points you made! I really miss the side of competing aswell. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

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