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Posted by Equestrian Queensland on 02/12/2019.
Photo Credit Calico Pony

The Three P's by Grace Buchholz

The best advice I can give to students and what I strive to live by when competing, when training and in general life is the Three PPP’s. Positivity, Patience and Professionalism. I believe each of these all have a deeper meaning but can be stripped back to simple adjectives that are easy to maintain.

I’m lucky enough to work in an occupation that allows me to coach and see the growth in students not only when riding but as humans. The end of the year is stressful for many with students completing final exams, Christmas and the New Year just around the corner and the added stress of the drought. Which brings me to the first P. Positivity. There is so much negativity in the world, and we are all at fault of being negative at some stage or another. As members of the equine community we all know it’s not easy otherwise we would all be doing it. We need to remember the reasons we started riding, to set realistic and reachable goals, to be able to work through problems positively. This is what makes a good rider, someone who can see opportunities where others only see problems. This person generally has a positive outlook on the situation and infects others with optimism. This energy is then generated to our horses, on the ground, in training and in competition. If there is a negative outlook on a situation for example something as simple not being straight we need to take a step back and ask ourselves where I have gone wrong, and then decide how to approach it differently in a way that may be more beneficial, for instance correcting our position or using markers around the arena. We also need to be able to identify when things are going well and reward for those efforts. It doesn’t have to be straight away nor does it have to go a certain way and you certainly don’t have to be able to do it because the other person in the arena is doing it.

Which bring me to the second P. Patience. Patience is one of the most important p’s when dealing with horses. As riders we can never be in a hurry to get to the next movement, the next level or even the next pace. Being patient with small positive outcomes everyday will get you to where you want to be. We need to remember that when starting a new exercise it is new for both the horse and rider and can be strange. It is not going to happen straight away but being persistent (another great p word) and patient it will begin to happen. We need to remember that when our horses are confused, tense or finding something difficult that we must not punish them but continue to be patient until the horse begins to recognise the task, which then we can reward.

Lastly Professionalism, whether we’re riding at home, warming up at a competition or competing, we continuously act professional. We need to effectively manage our time, display leadership, act in an ethical manner and show tenacity and determination. Our attitude towards others both in and out of the arena, our presentation and riding needs to remain professional. Just because we’re riding at home it doesn’t mean we’re not professional. If we continue to act professional we will become professional. I’m not saying everyone is going to be a full time rider, trainer or coach, I’m simply talking about our attitude, our position, and the quality.

Overall there are many p words that can be described when riding; Passionate, Perfect, Power, Progress, Persistent, Pressure and many others, however I believe that if we stick to the Three P’s we can strive for greatness and success. To me riding is about nailing the basics so that the rest just follows on smoothly. As riders we need to remember that Positivity is contagious, Patience is virtue and a rider should always remain Professional.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Grace Buchholz

SCOTS PGC College, Warwick
Equestrian Coordinator
EA Introductory Coach


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