[Guest Blog] Is being a GREAT RIDER out of your reach? by The Dressage Tipster

What do you think separates the great from the good? Do you look at the so called ‘elite’ riders and wish that was you?

I’ll get straight to the point, their success is the result of their philosophy; they will undoubtedly have a great attitude; a state of mind that says ‘I can do this’.

Is this something you feel is out of your reach? I would suggest to you, very strongly, that it isn’t. Anyone can train themselves to be positive and have a great attitude. This is something that is available to each and every one of us.

Those who have achieved great success, be it in the competition ring or in their ability to help other riders are not necessarily more skilful and are certainly no more intelligent than you, what separates them is their burning desire and positive mindset. There is absolutely nothing wrong with aiming to be really successful in competition. Yes, none of us can escape the classical versus competition dressage comparisons; the suggestion that somehow if you strive for competitive success you must not be all that concerned with your horse’s welfare - physical or mental. Perhaps you are devoid of compassion in your quest for the ribbons and only if you train with a classical trainer who has never competed could you possibly have a conscience.

Part of our human make up is about our hierarchy of needs, one of which is to realise our potential and live life to the full. My view is that there’s nothing wrong with being a competitive performer at all, but particularly when it is the result of dedication, devotion and discipline.

So, what do you think separates the great from the good? It comes down to hard work. Is this something you feel is out of your reach? You can create spectacular results through daily practice. We all have the capacity for hard work.

All very motivational, all very nice to read I hear you cry … but HOW?

1. Baby Steps:

How many of you are looking for that revolutionising tip that will transform your riding ability overnight? Even though this is what we think we want, it’s all a little bit scary isn’t it? Truth is that no-one wants to make massive changes to the way they think, feel and behave. We would rather stay in our comfort zone.

The best way to get to your own personal greatness is through small, continuous steps, which I call baby steps. This is how I got to publish my book The Crystal System, by taking small steps towards my ultimate goal of publishing my own work. The idea was pretty scary, the reality is that with baby steps I got there. Doesn’t seem so scary now does it? Can you make small improvements every day? Is this something you feel is out of your reach?

2. Rider Focus:

There’s so much to do isn’t there? One of the key reasons that riders fail is that they try to make too many changes too soon. The most successful riders are focused. The elite are more than just focussed they are single-minded. They have a very clear picture of what it is they want to do and they have the self discipline to stick to it. Identify what’s important, get some priority and chip away at the issues.

There are so many tools to help you get focus, far too many for me to go into in one blog post. Here are just a few that would help you if you set out to learn more about them.

     · making your success a habit
     · staying in the present
     · writing things down
     · goal setting
     · ride planning
     · creating milestones
     · crystallising your thinking
     · constant and consistent evaluation and re-evaluation
     · control of breathing

Anything there that you feel is out of your reach?

3. Take Action:

You’re trying to develop a skill, right? So, make the time to practice. If you really devote yourself to riding well, with the right help, you could reach a place of mastery. Enthusiasm, eagerness, readiness, willingness, call it what you will. Being willing to do something is admirable. But without action you are unworthy of admiration. Discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires; you will need this to succeed.

You must take action otherwise you will simply never get started. Whilst, many regard procrastination as a useful way of identifying what is important to us personally, this on the basis that it is rare to procrastinate when one truly values the task at hand. Others believe that procrastination results in stress, a sense of guilt and creation of a crisis that could be avoided. As with all things, you will need to find the balance.

Do you feel that you are unable to take action? Is this out of your reach?


Part of the value I hope to add to you as a rider is to be a catalyst for positive change and to gently challenge you to get better, to grow, to be great - regardless of your starting point. Here Are Some Challenges I Offer You …

     1. Set your internal Sat Nav destination and make a decision to begin on the road to your very own          success (whatever that might look like)
     2. Take a baby step towards it.
     3. Encourage a fellow equestrian to join you, get an accountability buddy
     4. Do something that frightens you – feel the fear and do it anyway
     5. Write a list of challenges you have with your horse and/or riding and prioritise them
     6. Give your coach a thank you ‘something’ (card/gift/email/message)but make sure you say why 
         you are thanking them
     7. Take one lesson with a different coach or attend a clinic. Get out of your comfort zone.
     8. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be you.
     9. Listen well. You need to be good at listening, I mean really good. Seems simple but it’s       
         outrageously difficult.
     10. Improve at least one thing, every session
     11. Simplify. Clear out the clutter. Get clear about what you are doing.
     12. Stand for excellence, in fact be most excellent!
     13. Read a great book – Might I suggest The Crystal System, by Patricia Pitt … lol

The theme of my book is that clarity precedes mastery and the more clearly you look for what you want, the more powerfully you can generate the result. Hope you’ve enjoyed my food for thought on how you can become a great rider, or at least set you on the road to greatness.

Anything there that you feel is out of your reach?

Patricia Pitt – The Dressage Tipster



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