When it comes to showing horses and competing in any event, there comes a time when you have to make a decision as to whether you want to show up and just compete, or do you want to do what it takes to win. In the rodeo world it is called donating. I kind of like that term. What it indicates to me is that you are there to show up and donate the money to be in the pen with the competitors, or the people who are doing what it takes to win. When you are getting started this is something that you have to do, but at some point in your show career you have to make a decision to dedicate yourself enough to become a competitor.
Doing what it takes to win can mean many different things. Sometimes this means that you need to make the next move in purchasing more horse power. Sometimes it means that you need to step up your practice. More often than not the first step is for you to step up your practice and get good coaching. Once you have put in your time, and exceeded the level of your horse, then that is the time to step up the horse power.
I see a lot of people try to step up the horse power and expect a better result in the show pen right away. Well, you have stepped up in horse, now it is time to step up your riding level. That is where a good coach comes in. A good example is if you have a fear of the lead change coupled with a foggy understanding of how to obtain a correct lead change. The fix is not purchasing a horse with a better lead change, rather it is to learn how to ride better first. Dedicate yourself to taking lessons and get a firm understanding of the lead change. You may actually fix the horse that you have, and in the process become a better rider.
I have people come out to our facility and say that they have a strong desire to become a great rider. They want it like nothing before, and would like for me to teach them to become the best that they can be. The first thing that I tell them is that I will put as much time into them as they put into themselves. Dedication is the key to success in anything. That is what horses can teach you, and that is a lesson worth learning because it will follow you into the rest of your life.
I will give you some great example of winners: The San Antonio Spurs are a great team, a team comprised of great athletes with skill and knowledge to compete and win at the top level. Why do they have a coach? Can’t they stay in shape and practice on their own. If that was the case there would be no coaches in any of the NBA teams. They need to have someone there to give insight into their game, detect glitches in their execution, to give motivation, and to keep them focused on the task at hand.
I just watched a US Open singles tennis match who like wise are great athletes with tons of talent. Each one of the competitors has a coach, not because they do not know the game but for the same reason that professional sports teams have them too.
You see a lot of people join a gym to get in better shape each year. They start out dedicating themselves to getting in good physical condition yet, 99 percent of them do not finish the year. Why do you think that most have you sign a contract for a year? Because odds are you wont use all of it and they will still get paid. Why do you think that most sign the contract? Because they really want to stick with it and reach their goal. The ones that succeed at a higher percentage are the ones that have a personal trainer; someone that holds you accountable for showing up, and can coach you to your goals.
It takes more than just good intentions. Success takes dedication, hard work, and inspiration from a knowledgeable coach/trainer. Winning or becoming a winner is measured by personal goals. Just because you are not a world champion does not mean that you are not a winner. A winner is one who reaches his or her goals and passes their personal best. I will consider myself a great teacher when my assistant Jeni Phipps beats me in the show pen.