Failure is something everyone in any sport struggles with, and sometimes it’s hard to be a good sport about it.
I previously wrote about goals and wanting to win, and also about RFDTV’s The American and qualifying for the Semifinals. This was one of those shows I have dreamed about winning. I worked harder than I ever have trying to get my horses right. I ran 14 times and had maybe four clean runs. I went into the race with the mindset that I would do great.
This is the perfect example of what failure looks like. Sometimes when we take two steps forward, we take four steps backward. Failure is something everyone in any sport struggles with, and sometimes it’s hard to be a “good sport” about it. When you compete at a certain level and put in the work, it’s hard to watch yourself fail. I’ve learned you have to practice what you preach, and I know firsthand how hard this can be. It’s very difficult to have the mindset of, “We’ll just ‘fix’ it when we get home,” especially when it’s an event you’ve wanted to win for so long.
No one is going to ride perfectly every time they go down the alleyway, and that is something I’ve had to really stress to myself. For me, handling failure is very difficult, and it’s so easy to be hard on yourself after a not-so-great run, but this all goes back to practicing what you preach—I’ve talked about this in my previous columns. I’ve learned to really keep my circle small. Everyone around you should want to see you do well and help you, not kick you while you’re down. It’s so important to keep positive influences around when you’re in a slump.
Regrouping and fixing our problems after a barrel race or rodeo can be difficult, because you feel like you’ve worked so hard and these problems should be fixed by now. If you’re struggling, my advice is to take a moment for a couple deep breaths, regroup and start fixing yourself and your horse to go win the next weekend. Everyone has the ability to win, but it’s how you handle your success versus your failures that defines a true winner. Everyone loves to win, but no one likes to lose. From past experience, you have to take good when it’s good and be proud of yourself, but also take the bad and realize it’s just a barrel race—it’s not going to make you or break you.
Lastly, how you handle your failure is how your horse handles it. Our horses love to win just as much as we do, and they can tell when we’re happy or mad after a run. Don’t break their spirit because you’re in a slump or they didn’t work perfectly. Horses weren’t made to run around a barrel, so be thankful that yours loves you enough to go out there and do it for you. This column is very special to me, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.
This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of BHN.