Brett Parbery, an Australian Grand Prix rider and 2018 WEG team rider, recently shared this insightful post on his Facebook page with the following words of wisdom.
Do you ever feel like quitting?
We all have those days...
You may sometimes feel that the challenges and setbacks in dressage outweigh your enjoyment to the point that you feel like quitting.
Firstly, let me tell you I know exactly how you feel. I get it. I've also had days, many days, in my dressage career that I've been ready to throw in the towel.
Here are a few ways I've learned to move forward through the hard times in dressage:
1. Reconnect with what you love about your sport. How you choose to do dressage is up to you. You don't have to compete. You don't have to compete in your town. You don't have to compete right now. You don't have to go to clinics. You don't have to train with someone who belittles you (regardless of how important they think they are!)
2. If you want to compete, do it your way. You don't have to look at the scores or pick up the test papers. Think about your purpose for competing - it might be simply to get some exposure for your horse and experience for you, in which case if you know you'll get upset with a low score, don't look at the scoreboard.
3. Trust your gut. If something or someone (like a trainer) feels a little off and the joy is not there for you…STOP and go elsewhere. You don't owe anyone anything. Practice exercising boundaries and protecting yourself from toxic people.
4. Know that there are supportive, positive people in dressage. The Parbery Program in Performance Riders is full of them. You don't need to tolerate negativity.
5. When you're riding, focus only on the feel of the horse - that's all there is. Nothing else matters when you're on the horse.
6. A problem shared is a problem halved. Reach out to someone likeminded. You can send us a message, we're always happy to hear from you!
Dressage is a wonderful and beautiful sport. When I ride dressage demonstrations for cutting or campdrafting events, the audience is mesmerised, they think it's mystical and amazing.
You're doing a wonderful thing, training your horse, so my advice is to enjoy that, be grateful for that and surround yourself with people who will enjoy and be grateful along with you.
by Brett Parbery
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