During the last week of March, the attention of the horse world will be focused on the FEI World Cup in Omaha. It is the pinnacle of equestrian sports.
Instead, my daughters will be focused on their preparations for their 2017 riding season. Who wins, or does not win, in Omaha does not matter. Who rides well, or who didn’t, does not matter. With their season beginning a scant, six weeks later, in mid-May, it is ten days of everyday riding. It is ten days of requiring their best, and more.
Trish and Cameron visiting: “How are you today?” (RRC, Mar 11 2017)
They prepare like elite professionals. The practice day is very structured, from beginning to end. Attention to detail is an imperative. Critical analysis is essential. While Trish can leave my girls to practice without much supervision, she watches from the sidelines. Like them, Trish, too, has her notepad in which she jots down her observations. After a segment is completed, the four will compare notes. This kind of off-saddle instruction allows them to have additional insight and analysis of their riding technique. The continual learning, including for a rider competing at the highest level, is a must.
warming up: Tara having a hot drink during a break at practice (RRC, Mar 11 2017)
While the practice sessions seem to be intense, they are fairly relaxed. If any mistakes are made, it is better to have them during practice. The repetitive nature of practice is also a good exercise in building patience and composure, and learning more about their equine partners. It is in championship moments when the hard work and staying disciplined make a difference.
If practice is any indicator, my girls are continuing to ride very well. They are riding fast, crisply and with precision, and have said, “better than last season.” They will know how well when they open their season.
Borrowing a line from their favorite rider, Kent Farrington, “Enjoy the process, not just the end result.” And, that is how they ride.
Elizabeth and SAM: kisses before practice (RRC, Mar 11 2017)