Appreciate the Journey

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This article won the 2022 GMO Newsletter Award for a general-interest article for GMOs with fewer than 75 members. It originally appeared in the NEW Dressage Association newsletter, Forward, Spring 2022.

The USDF Group Member Organization (GMO) Newsletter Awards are designed to recognize outstanding efforts by GMOs that produce newsletters. Awards in two categories will be presented for exemplary articles. Nominations are due by August 31st. Only an official representative of a GMO may submit the nomination. For a nomination form follow this link.

By Jacquelyn Golosinski

Competition and training are very large pieces of the sport of horse riding, and it may become something we are so involved in that we forget what brought us there in the first place.

What did bring us to where we currently stand in our passion? Well, if you asked your younger self why they wanted to begin horse riding lessons, they would tell you it’s because they love horses, and that’s it.
That’s exactly the point.

Competition and the training process are all fun and games, but can also be incredibly discouraging and crippling to one’s self-confidence and self-esteem when the journey does not go as planned. When one begins to fall and tangle themselves up in the rut of “This is impossible.”, “I am never going to get where I want to be.”, and “I feel like this is not for me anymore.”, it is important to remind themselves of why they started on that journey in the first place.

Equestrians fell in love with the horse first, not the sport. It takes many riders a number of years to even discover what the discipline they want to pursue. When one discipline does not call them home, they move on to the next and maybe sometimes even return back to a
the discipline they had previously attempted.

Why does this experimental process even happen? Why not just give up after attempting one or two or three different disciplines? Well, because we still love horses. We are willing to try anything and everything because we are dedicated to the horse, we are passionate about the horse, we started because of the horse.

So, when a rider is experimenting with different training techniques and dipping their toes in the water in competition, they should not become discouraged when their initial plan takes a detour. Experiment. We should remind ourselves of why we started. Remind yourself of how much happiness you encountered upon your very first arrival on a farm many years ago. Remind yourself how it made you feel to touch a horse’s nose for the first time and feel their soft coat brushing up against the palm of your hand.

Appreciate and love the horse for their being. The training and competition will follow. When it becomes difficult, go back to the basics.

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