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Match your goals to your plans

It’s no secret that last week at the show had some tough courses at Spruce Meadows. It was my decision not to go on Sunday with my horse, and it was made for a couple reasons.

First, this was my second 1.40m of the year and it’s a new height for me. I didn’t honestly expect there to be so many questions on course this early in the year, or for it to look so big to me.

Second, and maybe even the bigger reason, was that my intention is to go to California next week and I want to be ready for that. Everything we have done this winter was intended to build up for that. My class on Friday last week, although not a great score, really wasn’t bad and I felt good leaving it on that.

For me it’s important to set your goals and build towards them, even if that means stepping down for a show, or in this case scratching from a class that you aren’t sure you can pull off for a positive step.

On Sunday I jumped in the warm up ring anyway to do what I had set out to do fitness-wise for my horse, and he jumped super. And the thing that struck me most was that even though he felt amazing and jumped great, I still didn’t want to do the class because there were parts of the course that just felt like were too much for me. It was a hard riding course and I wasn’t feeling confident in it.

I overheard someone once say to their student, “You never regret not going” and that stuck with me. If my gut says no, that’s all I need. There will be more days and one class is never the end goal for me.

To be clear, I didn’t feel shitty about my riding or that we couldn’t survive it, but more that it wasn’t in line with the bigger goal of preparing for California.

It’s important to know your limitations and match them to your goals. I hated not taking part, because I like to, but when you’re not sure, you shouldn’t go. This isn’t to be confused with nerves and giving yourself a way out of challenging yourself but a realistic look at where you’re going and finding the best route forward.

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