The Rolex Ring is one of the biggest equestrian stages in North America. The only 4 star in the country is held in this iconic arena. Being able to compete in the ring is a dream held by many including myself. When I heard that New Vocation was having a charity jumper show, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to ring in the Rolex Ring while supporting a great cause. While this experience allowed me to check a big to-do off my bucket list, I did learn some very valuable lessons.
Sometimes Finishing is the Only Thing
While I was waiting to head in for my first class, I had the chance to watch several people go. About half were able to finish, but racked up rails, while the other half made a deposit into the dirt bank. The setting in the Rolex Ring is very intimidating for many horses. Even my bomb proof horse got backed off by the stands. When trying something new, or scary for you or your horse, giving it a good run and finishing, no matter how rough, should be your top priority. No matter what, safety, not standings, should be your top priority.
Flexibility on Fleek
Whether it is a two-hour delay or a spooky horse, flexibility is an invaluable skill. Knowing how much or how little your horse your horse needs for warm up or support is a “sub-skill” for flexibility mastery. Be able to adjust and readjust every part of your plan will make your day more enjoyable for you and your horse. Adding in some buffer time and getting as much done as possible before you leave will also help your flexibility game.
Go with the Flow
Look for the good in any situation is another great skill to have in your toolbox. If you had a janky round or test, chalk it up to a learning experience. If you have a good go about, celebrate! Also, know when enough is enough. If your horse isn’t feeling right, don’t push it. Better to lose an entry then lose a horse or a ton of money on vet bills (which we know isn’t hard to do).
Using every opportunity big or small to learn something and get miles on is how riders grow. Whether it’s something that sheds light on a training hiccup or a little aha moment, be sure to look back at things because hindsight is 20/20.