Part 2: Prepare and Polish

It’s Spring, and as you know, everyone is getting out and about with their horses.

I’m doing a 4-part series about the steps you can take to set yourself up for success when you ride at new places and in front of other people – places that might be outside of your comfort zone.

During this series, the specific example I talk about is showing – as in competitions – but it could be anywhere you want to do well, like a clinic, where you board your horse, or on the trail with friends.

I identify four sequential steps I know can set you up for success. Soon, I’ll do an in-depth webinar series on these topics, so I’m asking now for your suggestions for the challenges you’d like me to cover when I do that series.

Once again, the four steps for setting yourself up for success are:

1. Set Your True North, which I talked about last week – and I thank you for your feedback. I’ve received lots of emails on this topic. Thank You!

2. Prepare and Polish, which we’ll discuss in this video

3. Compete with Confidence – next week’s topic

4. A 5-Star Review

So let’s get started with Prepare and Polish, which, in a nutshell, is the commitment to excellence by valuing, (above all else) – constantly improving – then showing (or going to your event) – and then based upon results – making a strategic plan to improve for your next event.

. .


As an example of how necessary preparation is, think of when you planned a major life event, like your wedding. I bet you spent a lot of time planning and preparing.

And when the day came, if the pieces were in place and the details had all of the t’s crossed and i’s dotted, I bet the actual event was a joy. That doesn’t mean there weren’t hiccups along the way, but I bet you knew you could handle them – or roll with the punches.

It’s the same way for showing.

The first time I made the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Finals, I prepared my horse and myself as I had never done before.

I thought of it as working on myself and tuning my horse as two separate entities to consider. And then I thought about how we needed to come together as a team. So there was him, there was me, and there was us.

This three-pronged approach made an incredible difference because it clarified what we should work on to enter the show arena and be as ready as possible. When you’re as prepared as possible – that’s all you can do and all you have control over.

So, here’s how I think of those three parts, me – them – us to prepare and polish for an event.

1. First, identify the pieces of your discipline – break them down. This first step goes across the board for you, your horse, and the two of you together.

2. Then, for you:

  • Where are your technical skills for each of those chunks? What about the transitions between the chunks?
  • What is the accuracy and consistency of your mental skills in each area? How will you be calm, focused, and flow between the energy of the chunks?
  • Do you have a riding plan that combines mental tools like how you think and what you do with your body within the technical chunks?

3. For your horse – it’s very similar:

  • Where are their technical skills for each of the chunks? What about the transitions between the chunks? What do they need to keep improving, and how will that be practiced?
  • What is your horse’s ability to focus and stay calm in differing environments? Do you have a way to help them if they get wired or distracted?

4. For the two of you together as a team – again – it’s very similar.

  • Are you committed to being the one who guides and supports your horse in any situation?
  • Do you believe in your horse – and the two of you together?
  • Do you have plans for the day of the show – or the event – that makes sure you’re both ready when you enter the ring? I’m talking about plans like how you will do your warm-up, practices, and a pre-ride ritual.

Nic example but no transcript (please make this sentence out when you print the transcript.)

So there you have it!

I know I shared a lot of information with you for this second Step, Prepare and Polish, but I can’t overstate how critical preparation is.

And, of course, once we’ve gone to an event, we come home, step back and review the results and then polish the pieces that need it. This goes on for a lifetime – you never arrive.

I’ll be covering what I mentioned here in-depth in the Shine in the Showpen Online Workshop series, but I want to make sure I have as many bases and examples covered as possible. That’s why I need your help.

Please leave a comment for me. I’ve printed out every note I received and studying them.

Next week, I’ll talk about Compete with Confidence. I know you’ll love that one, too.

I look forward to hearing from you! Please leave a comment.

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6 Comments on Part 2: Prepare and Polish

  1. Cynthia M on Sun, 8th May 2022 3:10 pm
  2. Love this series. So much of riding fitness is mental fitness! Maybe add visualization in as part of the show/event prep routine?

  3. Katrina on Sun, 8th May 2022 8:02 pm
  4. I loved the part about breaking down the process for you AND your horse’s Needs. I am planning a first, buddy trail ride. This podcast has really helped me to start breaking down this ride for each of us so anxieties do not build leading up to this event. It’s much easier to manage the smaller pieces to achieve my goal.🙂💜

  5. Lynda Savenkoff on Sun, 8th May 2022 11:20 pm
  6. Hi Barb! How exciting to be with Dr Loehr & how awesome if he had time to do an interview with you!!

  7. Lynda Savenkoff on Sun, 8th May 2022 11:35 pm
  8. Idea for the Shine Series:
    *Dealing with ‘over thinking’ & micro managing’ during competition & riding in general.

  9. Jaime Brown on Mon, 9th May 2022 10:27 am
  10. This has been a game changer… struggling to stay focused and stays accurate on my patterns…learning I need to be precise in my mental practice… practicing a mental “trot” when an “extended trot” is required, will produce (from me in the show pen) a trot rather than extended trot. UGH. Lesson learned, I hope!!

  11. Kelly Scilingo on Thu, 19th May 2022 6:31 pm
  12. I find practice at my trainers and preparing for the show in the practice arena my feeling is I’ve got this! When I am showing and cutting my first cow what I think is happening is I am getting ahead of myself instead of reading a cow.
    How do you bridge this disconnect?

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