© 2006 Cherry Hill
you want to be a serious, dedicated rider? A rider with any degree of experience
can become one. Do not think that becoming serious or dedicated about your riding
will mean that you will lose your sense of humor or that you will be required
to live, breathe, and talk about nothing but horses. Quite the contrary. Some
of the most successful riders say that a sense of humor is what helps them to
keep the ups and down of their work in perspective. And as far as having interests
other than riding, it is essential! Only by being a well-rounded individual will
you bring to your riding an overall sense of well-being. Think of the serious,
dedicated rider as a person who has chosen riding as a recreational vocation
an activity that is pursued for self-development and self-satisfaction as well
as relaxation and enjoyment.
The dedicated rider is a life-long
learner, intent on maximizing her equine knowledge and skills. A dedicated beginning
rider is not a lesser person than a more skilled rider. Dedicated riders at all
levels have certain characteristics in common: a healthy self-image, a consistently
positive attitude toward work, and a knowledge of successful principles for dealing
with themselves, their horses, and other people.
physical and mental self-image of the dedicated rider makes daily tasks run smoothly
and adds a measure of help when problems arise. Problems are part of learning
how to ride. How you react to a problem will greatly affect the future of your
endeavor. The dedicated rider is not afraid of change, as it often leads to growth
and improvement. Individuals who view problems as opportunities for learning rather
than deterrents are ultimately more successful. People that like things to stay
the same tend to progress more slowly. Remember, when the going seems easy, it
may just be that you are going downhill.
Evaluations are an
essential part of becoming a better rider. Learning how to appraise your own skills
will be discussed later in the book. A developing rider needs more, however, than
self-evaluation. Critiques from qualified instructors are essential. Riders at
all levels have room for improvement and should receive warranted criticism with
respect and an open mind. During an evaluation, apologies are unnecessary and
excuses are non-productive. Instead, focus your energies specifically on what
you can do to improve.
Often the needed changes involve habits
that occur out of the saddle. The rider's body is most effective when maintained
by moderation and regularity in eating, drinking, sleeping, and exercising. Maximum
performance is contingent on dedication to healthy habits. A healthy physical
self-image begins with high standards of personal hygiene and a tidy appearance.
Although what's on the inside counts, what's on the outside shows. If you are
sloppy or careless in your dress, it can cause you to approach your work with
horses in the same manner. Additionally, if your personal appearance is offensive
you may alienate your fellow students or your instructor.
The dedicated rider really enjoys her involvement with horses. Horses provide
a good way for you to get to know yourself and they can offer a way for you to
reach some of your personal goals. The successful rider at any level knows the
answers to the following questions: Where have I been? Where am I now? Where do
I want to go? How do I get there?