I’m sure there is a point in your life when you have come across your first Standardbred, it will be a point in your life that you remember. For me, I’ve been fortunate to have grown up with them in my life since I can honestly remember. With my family having involvement with the breed before I even knew what horse breeds are.
People sometimes ask me; how do you measure your success with your Standardbred against other horses in the open competition. I have to stop and think, why do I need to measure my success any differently to other riders.
People sometimes ask me; how do you measure your success with your Standardbred against other horses in the open competition
My answer usually is something along the lines of, well I’ve been fortunate to have grown up with the breed since a young age, so I literally see them as any other horse. I love every aspect of the breed, they have been amazing to work with from breeding, training, racing, retiring and recently retraining as a saddle horse. As we know the Standardbred have a lovely trainable nature to them.
Now, that’s just my honest opinion.
But I do think about people who have found the love of the breed later in their equestrian journey. What influence this must bring to them. I know my strength is to put the blinkers on and ignore any ‘negativity’. I can’t help but wonder what influence the wider equestrian community has on people who have found the breed differently to me.
Collectively as equestrians, no matter what discipline you choose. We all put the same amount of time and effort into the sport. We all have a different level of expectations, but when it comes to the competition aspect what we want is to truly achieve the best possible mark.
I’m not entirely sure how my mindset works at times, but what I know and feel confident with is, that there is no need to see myself as someone ‘different’ because of my horse. When I see my name in the result sheet, I don’t think wow I placed mid field, that’s great considering I have a Standardbred. I’m thinking, great ride, but how can I make it better and be further up that list.
Through-out my riding and competition life with my number one Standardbred Arnie, I’ve never felt as if I’ve been let down because of his breed. I’ve never really felt the need to judge my opinion of success because of his breed. If anything, it just makes me more determined to try new things and advance our training!
I receive many messages from other Standardbred riders who do feel they need to adjust their mindset and lower their expectations of success because of the breed of horse they ride.
My advice. Don’t. You have a willing trainable horse, just transitioning from one career to another. I don’t think many other dressage or show horses out there also can pull a cart 😉