One of the hardest parts of rodeo or any sport for that matter is accepting defeat. The most challenging thing is having to accept it was your fault, it’s easy to blame it on other things, but the majority of the time it was one small mistake that we as competitors make. Sure, sometimes it might be the animal that you drew, and occasionally it will be your horse, but by preparing your horse properly for its job you will have less of a chance of that happening.
One thing that we have all been guilty of at some point was blaming our bad run on our horse, when normally it wasn’t our horse’s fault. Horses are athletes, and they need to be in tiptop condition in order to perform at the best of their ability. If you think about it, take two sprinters, one that exercises daily and one that only exercises twice a week, which sprinter is likely to win the race? Yes, there’s no doubt that the second sprinter couldn’t be just as fast, if not faster than the first, but when not conditioned properly that sprinter will run out of air, slow down, and is at a much higher risk of getting injured. Horses are the exact same way, except they have four legs instead of two.
Not only is conditioning your horse properly a vital role in success in the equine industry, but so is knowing your horse, which is hard to do sometimes. Knowing your horse means you know when he is sore, when he needs injections, when he needs to be adjusted, or even knowing when to try something different with them – whether that’s changing bits, doing a different drill, or even just doing a different event on them.
Taking care of your equine partner will not only allow you to succeed but it will also decrease the odds of something happening to them during a run. Proper nutrition and making sure your horse is properly hydrated plays into this equation too – an athlete cannot perform at their highest level without the right nutrition. There are lots of folks out there who can help guide you in the right direction, if you need it – talk to friends, fellow horse people or family and get referrals. Do your homework – finding the right fit can be difficult but well worth it in the long run!
Taking care of your horse is important, but so is taking care of yourself. Our bodies and minds play a very important role in our sport. If you think about it, we are our own kind of athletes - how many athletes do what we do? They don’t carry feed and hay everyday, water buckets, saddles and tack, clean stalls and trailers the list is endless. Most athletes go to the gym or the track and practice for their one sport. In rodeo, we all have multiple events and are very blessed to get to do what we do! How many Jr. High and High School kids do you know that are as active and do as much outdoors as we do? That’s why providing your body with the nutrition it needs is important to perform at the level we perform at. Along with that is conditioning – just like for our horses. It’s extremely critical that we take the time to condition our bodies so we can perform at our best.
Again, if you need help with this seek out help from someone with the proper training. There’s a lot of information out there on the web and not all of it is good - that goes for us and our horses!
Taking care of our equine partners and ourselves is a great way to help pave the road to success that we all work so hard for.