When things don’t go as planned in the saddle, who’s really at fault? Kate Kosnoff reflects.
I fell off of my horse at a schooling show a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I hit the dirt, my mind ran through about a dozen excuses as to why I fell off — the footing was bad, the weather was too cloudy, my horse had to pee, we had to wait for too long at the in-gate, there were too many people watching. I quickly realized that even though it was totally my fault, I did not even hold myself responsible. Instead, I searched for other reasons and people to blame.
Why is it that, as equestrians, we feel an overwhelming amount of anger and frustration when we make a mistake? Perhaps it’s just me, but I get the feeling that I’m not alone. Many of us tend to be perfectionists, and when we miss a lead change or pop chip to a jump, it is never “our fault.” In this sport, we as athletes are under a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect, and that doesn’t always make for the best attitudes or sportsmanship.
After much thinking, I reached the conclusion that the only person to blame for my fall was myself. I leaned up the neck and took my leg off, and my saint of a horse jumped anyway. I have a feeling of peace about the whole thing, and I’d like to think that I am becoming more accepting of my mistakes in the saddle. The truth is, we cannot always be perfect at all times. Let’s agree to be perfectly imperfect.
Kate Kosnoff is a sophomore at Denison University in Ohio. She has been riding for seven years and currently owns two horses, Mac and Marley. You can check out her blog, Kate at the In Gate, here.