How to Bounce Back from a Disappointing Show Season October 14 2015

How to bounce back from a disappointing horse show season

For almost any breed, horse show season is coming to a close.  Most people have a handful of shows or competitions left to go, or have just come home from their final hurrah. But if you didn't quite achieve everything you'd wanted going into the season, how do you bounce back?

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you came short of your goals or let you, your horse, or your trainer down. But here’s the good news: there are a few easy things you can do to dust yourself off emotionally, and get back in the saddle - both literally and figuratively.

Don’t dwell on the bad moments

While you want to take lessons away from all the mistakes you made this season, don’t take screenshots of the mistakes in your class videos and post them on your ceiling so when you go to bed at night you are staring at a collage of failure. That is:

  1. great way to get no sleep at all, and
  2. a great way to pull yourself deeper into the dark rabbit hole of a riding slump.

Just take those moments, learn from them, and move on!

Make a plan

Often when you fail, it’s a catalyst for reaching greater heights. You are forced to take a look at what went wrong, or what is holding you back from achieving your goals. So make a plan to figure this roadblock out if you haven’t by spending time discussing it with your trainer. Or if you HAVE figured it out, make a plan for how to get around that roadblock; or kung fu kick the crap out of it till you entirely clear your road to excellence!

Hit the gym

Get your butt into the gym (or outside if you prefer) so you can get yourself in good physical shape. Nothing makes you more motivated or re-energized than feeling like a lean mean riding machine!  Pick a reasonable starting goal, like getting to the gym 2-3 times a week to start off with and continue raising the stakes.  Run a 5k, do a triathlon if you’re really motivated, and if you’re insane, do something like Tough Mudder where they make you go through a cold and muddy obstacle course that is long enough to make you question whether or not this was a good idea and whether or not you will actually survive. Whatever it is, get to work!

Hit the barn

While you are working hard on your plan for improvement and your physical strength and wellbeing, don’t forget to spend time with your horse, your trainer, and - in fact - as many different horses as you can. This will ensure a well rounded training experience over winter and really help you be a more capable, more adaptable rider; something that often causes roadblocks for riders.

Look to the future

Get yourself excited about the upcoming show season as an opportunity for redemption.  Don’t dread it as a potential round two of failure served up with a side of sadness, because then you'll never be able to motivate yourself to do the work needed to get back. Take the time to really think about why you love the sport you are in and fall back in love with it if you’ve lost sight of that. Nothing is more motivating than passion so make sure you haven’t lost yours!

Have any stories about an embarrassing show season and how you got back into the saddle?  Let us know in the comments down below!