Love and take care of yourself.
A simple task, but not easy. Too often in this sport we view our lives with tunnel vision–we see our end goal and we will do everything and anything it takes to get there–all the while blocking out the negative side effects of our well being. Too often we take criticism from irrelevant people personally and try to change ourselves to please them. We compare ourselves to others and strive to be like them; to be the same size, or the same weight, or showing at the same level.
If you are a perfectionist like me, I’m sure there have been many tears shed over a “bad” lesson or show, and moments where you have wanted to quit. Long story short, this is not healthy. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, or being determined and working hard, but we have to learn when to stop. The perfection we are striving for is unattainable. Even the people at the very top of our sport make mistakes; when you are dealing with animals, despite your best efforts, things will not always go “perfectly” or as planned.
So here’s my challenge for you: Take one day a month just for you.
Do the things you love to do and remove the stress, drama and the pressure. Treat yourself: buy your favorite sweet treat or Starbucks drink without worrying about the sugar content or calories, have a spa day, or do yoga. TREAT YOURSELF LIKE A PRINCESS, BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE. Read your favorite book, or have a solo dance party to your favorite song. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do what you love and what makes you happy. Do not think about what others are doing, do not compare yourself to unrealistic standards, and do not say a bad thing about yourself or anyone else for the entire day. Go to the barn and just groom your horse, or go for a nice hack or trail ride without the stress of a lesson or training. I promise it will be good for both of you. When the day is done reflect on how you feel–now try to apply this to your daily life. Make a list of the things you love to do and that make you feel good, then make a list of the things you do daily and adjust accordingly. It will change your life, and if everyone tries it, we could change this sport.
Share your “princess day” with us on Twitter or Instagram with #princessday and #RidersforWellBeing
Michaela is a senior in high school, and will be attending university next year for journalism. She loves to travel and has a small photography company of her own. She was born and raised in Calgary, AB Canada and has been riding and showing for 12 years. She is lucky enough to own the horse of a lifetime, her incredible grey Oldenburg mare, Inzo, who she competes with in the jumpers and equitation. She rides daily, and has a love for fitness and being outdoors. She hopes to make it to the top levels of this sport and be able to change this industry for the better.