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Run Your Own Race

I was reading an article about showing and the author reminded readers to not focus on the competition but rather themselves. Reminded us to run our own race. Thus I had to go look up this reference. I had a basic concept but wanted to know more. My google search started with a quick reference to this phrase and it originated with runners. As I am not a runner, that did not resonate much with me. I continued looking down the list and the 5th hit was the one I decided to click on. A rather bland page opened up but right there in the middle, I saw Thoroughbred. Ok, now I am interested. I would like to give the author of this page credit but no name. Rather the landing page just has links to various topics, nothing much else.

Even though the webpage is a is a bit vague, it was spot on about this. From the mystery author: " I remember reading a long time ago about how horses when they are racing don’t care about the other horses; they don’t look over to see what the next horse is doing. They are focused and they run their own race. I found this quote while looking up ‘run your own race’:

“I raised you to be a thoroughbred. When thoroughbreds run they wear blinders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead with no distractions, no other horses. They hear the crowd but they don’t listen. They just run their own race. That’s what you have to do. Don’t listen to anyone comparing you to me or to anyone else. You just run your own race.” Excerpted from The Right Words at the Right Time (Atria Books, January 2004) by Marlo Thomas.

I generally do not go to motivational speakers, books, or posters for well, anything, but as horses were used in this motivational section, I decided I could be more open minded.

Run your own race. I like this. Over the last few years, I think I can relate to this concept. I have always been fairly independent and I am sure that has annoyed many people in my life. I have tried to do the team thing as it relates to my equine activities but always with a bit of distance. That is just me. For my day job, I get to attend many meetings and whenever a new personality test comes out, we get to take it. Depending on which test, I am a Mastermind, a scientist, an Introvert. I am fine with these assessments - pretty accurate!

I am down with going to shows sans coach. I don't need to have a trainer or coach be at my side. It is a bit more fun when included with the 'barn team' but it is not a need. My thought process is: you ride with coach/instructor/clinician and these professionals prepare you in lessons to deal with situations and do well when riding on your own at home/attending shows. I mean really - if you are on course at a show, your instructor cannot yell to you from ringside 'More Leg!' or tell you what the next fence is. (That is technically illegal *BUT* trainers, instructors and coaches do it all the time. Makes me cringe but if the show steward decides it is okay and doesn't disqualify the rider, than okay! The show is running their own race.)

I have tried the 'team' and it has has honestly, made me a little sad. I have been on various sports teams over the years and have never felt like I have with the equestrian 'team'. I think it is because of my introverted tendencies and that I don't board my horses at the barn or facility. They are at home with me. That is probably the biggest reason I have never truly felt part of the barn team. The barn teammates see each other often. They rely on each other for horse trailering to get places. They chat in the cross ties as they groom their horses. For the non-boarder, they show up with horse already groomed and ready to ride. No idle chit chat. Then, when done riding, loads up and goes home. Not much connection with the boarders. The extroverts that do trailer in are better at fitting in, getting involved in conversation, hanging out after a group lesson. For me, after a lesson, there is still so much to do! Get back home which is over X miles away, clean stalls, clean tack, feed, check waters and all the other responsibilities that go with keeping horses at home. Thus for me, the problem with Team is that there is no I. I do a lot to keep the horses at home. I don't have a groom. I don't have employees that muck stalls. None of that.

Do I have fun when included with the barn team? You bet! But barn team tendencies are truly an interesting thing. For lack of a better word - Cliquey sums it up pretty well. Many years ago, prior to riding with a barn or team, I just did clinics or private lessons. When I started riding with a new instructor, it was sort of neat being in a regular group lesson. Never had a group ride before. I felt so extroverted! Got to talk to other riders! Many riders came and went but there were a few of us that were barn staples. Now that I think about, oh man, were we a clique? (I hope not) At this facility, I even trailered in and I still felt included. But the barn 'grew' and things changed. Changed so much that the entire 'team' was shut down as in the coach decided to go a different direction. We could still ride together but it was not the same. Certain personalities dominated. Fun over. Tried new barn - basically same deal after a few years. When I would jump over to various horse forums to see if I was just crazy, nope - this seems to be the pattern of many equestrian facilities.

Thus I designed a new plan. More me and my horses. Time to Run my own Race. I still enjoy being around my fellow riders by seeing them at shows or clinics- Talking, learning and laughing with them but I am on my track, I am looking forward. I hear the crowd ( IE. Facebook, Instagram, other social media) but I focus on my race. Don't compare me to anyone else. Just running my own race with my horses.


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