What would happen to you and your riding if you began embracing your unique style as a rider? If instead of trying to ride like someone else, you began to really understand and know what it is to ride like you?
I think that many riders are trying to ride like or act like someone else in their riding. Maybe it’s the rider at the barn who has been at this a few years longer than you. Or the rider who is 10, 20, or 30 years younger than you. It could be the rider who has never had their own horse, meaning they have ridden any horse they had the opportunity to ride for the past 10 years. Or the rider who is quiet, reserved, and calm under pressure…
As equestrians, we all have riders we admire. Riders we would like to become ‘more like’ in our own riding. But they are not you.
The key is to really begin to understand your own unique style as a rider, and from that place, begin blending complementary techniques and styles into your mix.
Right now, there is a trend towards understanding how we can work with others better from the results of different personality tests. There are the DISC Profile, the MyersBriggs, the Enneagram, and the Kolbe to name a few. Even your unique birth chart. Most are used by employers when finding potential employees for teams and projects. The tests help identify strengths and areas where each person would thrive.
The underlying factor is that we are not all great at everything. You have your unique strengths and areas where you shine. And, due to the polarity of the world, you also have the areas where you would not naturally feel comfortable or thrive. I believe that you, as a rider, experience a similar situation.
As a rider, you naturally have areas that you excel at with little effort – and you have those other areas that you find uncomfortable or difficult.
If you can begin looking at your riding from the perspective of identifying your strengths and abilities, it will really help simplify ‘getting better’ and improving yourself in the saddle.
Modeling – That Works for You
I am a big believer in identifying someone who is doing the thing you want to do in a way that you enjoy them doing it. What trips many people up (my past self included) is that we get disappointed when that person then does something we don’t quite enjoy. We feel ‘let down’ or deceived in some way. Which is absolute madness when we really look at it.
Nobody will do everything just as you would do it, or just as you want it done.
If they did, they would be you! Wouldn’t they?! So how about, rather than stressing ourselves out about all the things we don’t enjoy, we simply begin to just focus on the couple of elements that we do?
Choose specific things about specific equestrians that you enjoy and can begin modeling in your riding and your horsemanship. Leave the things you don’t!
Blend The Elements Together
By then blending those different elements together, you can begin to really work on developing your own unique style. Your unique approach to working with, training, and just being with horses.
Infuse modeled techniques and methods with your personality and experiences.
This is how you can then begin to create a style of your own. Will everyone enjoy it? No. They most certainly won’t. But this is their opinion, and it is also none of your business. They can choose to take the parts of your riding style that they enjoy and being modeling those if they want. And, they can simply leave the bits they don’t enjoy alone!
Celebrate Your Unique Style
Once you begin to actively work on this process, you will find that you develop a certain rhythm. Your rhythm. This will carry over to everything that you do in the saddle. Will it work for all horses? No. Every horse, just like every person, is not for every rider.
However, by taking the time to identify and then ‘be’ yourself as a rider, you will have a much easier time communicating and working with the horses who do respond and enjoy your unique style.
And that is where the magic occurs…
Additional Resources for Equestrians
- Riding & Acting; The Connection
- What Does an Equestrian Look Like? Diversity in Our Sport
- What’s Your Riding Number?
- Connection; My Online Membership for Equestrians
- Online community for equestrians working on their mindset & fitness
- Online Community for equestrians focusing on re-schooling horses (and ex-racehorses
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