Out of the mouth of babes...
At the horse show yesterday I had the joy of coaching two of my young riding students. They were both aboard very nice hunter ponies. Well, let me backtrack a little.
One pony, the tubby silvery white mare, was a sweetheart. The little black Welsh gelding was, well... Let's just say that he began the day being his usual self. In his first few jumping classes he'd break to the trot rather than maintain his canter past the in-gate.
He's so danged cute he's disarming. He has a thick, shaggy forelock that drapes over his big, almond eyes, making him look like a Hollywood Bad Boy.
About midday a spectator mentioned that he was probably a "green pony."
His young rider-- whom I believe is naturally gifted and quite gutsy-- is very, very competitive. Missing a chance at a blue ribbon because her pony was uncooperative was not sitting well with her. She wrinkled her freckled nose in response and replied, "No, he's not green. He's a brat."
I could tell she was beginning to feel demoralized.
That's when Auntie Cindy (that would be me) had a little talk with her about the rewards of perservering in the face of great odds, and how we shouldn't give up just because we aren't winning blue ribbons. We have to see challenges as opportunities to grow as horsemen and horsewomen. You know, the ol' Rah-Rah Speech.
But I do truly believe it all.
Horse shows can really teach us so much about how to maintain our composure. They teach us how to find the courage to dust off our boots once more and get back into that arena.
This little girl did just that. And she finished the day by winning both the short stirrup equitation flat class and the division's equitation over fences class. Even I was impressed by how she literally gritted her teeth and physically pushed that little black pony around the corners with her outside leg. That crafty little munchkin kept cantering past the in-gate.
I was proud of her. Not only did she learn invaluable horsemanship skills, but she also got a crash course on Real Life Skills: Don't ever admit defeat. At least not until the last class of the day.
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