From Endurance to Dressage
Last week, I wrote a post about what confidence means to me. Essentially, to me, confidence is an appreciation of one's own strengths. Perceived confidence is a funny thing though. One can have boatloads of it that the rest of the world simply can't see. What one person feels is mettle, grit, or conviction, the rest of us see as over-confidence which is nearly always viewed as a bad thing. To the person letting it all hang out (so to speak), I say, run with it, girlfriend. Is that how I want to live my life? Well no, but more power to those that do.
While I got a lot of positive feedback on that post - some of you expressed an appreciation of my honesty, others took me to task. I was criticized for the example of "over-confidence" that I chose to share - the rider who claimed to be at a higher level than she had previously demonstrated. Several people pointed out that it was petty to include that example.
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I make a point of not writing negative things about other riders. I definitely write critical things about myself though, always in an effort to show my learning curve. I generally avoid too much negative self-talk - unless it's funny, then game on. But I don't bash on people, ever.
So why did I mention that other rider? I think if we revisit what I said, it might be more clear. What I said was this: "she was claiming to be a Fourth Level rider and had her Training Level horse decked out in a double bridle in an attempt to make it so. My thoughts? Wow. That's confidence."
Do I think she overstated her abilities? Yes, but that's how she perceived her abilities. I wasn't exaggerating or lying. She confidently stated what she believed she could do. The rest of the world just couldn't see it so we label it as being over-confident. My actual comment was "Wow. That's confidence." But hey, you run with it, girlfriend.
I am sure that I have been over-confident more than once in my life. And no doubt, I either kicked butt or more likely, learned a valuable lesson. Isn't that how we gain confidence? We think we can and then we do it, or we think we can and then find out we can't, so we work even harder the next time. Success breeds confidence, failure motivates us to try again.
The truth is, I am very careful about claiming what I can do. I think most perfectionists are. I frequently call myself an under-achieving over-achiever (That's going to be the title of the book I someday write.). Meaning, I expect far more from myself than I can deliver. I am never happy with a dressage test because I know that it can always be done better. And that's me in a nutshell, trying to do everything better.
In response to that same bog post, I was accused of ignoring a judge's comments in favor of just trying to earn more points. Anyone who has been reading about my journey for more than the past five minutes knows that I dissect every. single. judge's. comment. Yes, I try to earn more points because more points means progress. Progress comes by taking what the judge says and then working hard to apply it.
I guess it all comes down to this: competing in a sport that deliberately invites criticism is tough. Writing about that criticism and then sharing it with the rest of the world means you had better have a thick enough skin to withstand the negative feedback. On top of that, I ask readers to share their opinions here, whether I agree with them or not.
Really. What do you think?
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: