How To Ride Against People With Horses and Money
by Karl Avdek
How to compete against expensive horses and people with money; as in MORE money … than you.
Hmm, interesting question. Let me think for a minute. Okay, I’ve got it. Here’s the answer …
Don’t … !!!
Disappointed with the answer? I understand. It sounds like “mumbo jumbo”, “gobbledy gook” and worse: it probably sounds like a very nice “theory”; a goodie goodie Pollyanna story; long in theory; a great “philosophy” for people who finish in second place; i.e. “losers”.
Let’s start with a saying which I am certain you have heard many many times before. It is very very common and it is called, “the serenity prayer”. It goes like this:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
To be very honest, I always HATED that prayer. “Loser,” my mind screamed.
However as I matured as a performer and trained I re-examined and saw that if the saying is intelligently interpreted, it can give us a “game plan” whereby we can win; and in fact win not just in the immediate moment but long term as well and with consistency. It gives us a plan whereby we can REALLY transform ourselves into WINNERS every single time we go out.
“Accepting things we cannot change” can give us “direction” when we compete.
There is very simply NOTHING we can do about someone else being mounted on a more expensive horse. That is their good fortune. So tip your hat.
However, if we CHOOSE to ALLOW our OWN performance to be influenced by FOCUSING on the price tag associated with another animal we are competing against we are distracted from our own performance and lost; capable of performing at a percentage of our capabilities rather than our own personal best. We become focused on negative “possibilities” rather than positives and more importantly, the things we CAN control: such s our own performance and that of our horse.
There is a course to be ridden … be it a barrel pattern, a hunter jumper course, or a reining patter by your “team”; you and your horse. That is ALL that is within your control is you and your horse.
So grab hold of the moment and make the most of it.
Also, let’s be clear on a few points: (1. “More expensive” does NOT necessarily mean “better” (2. “more expensive does not mean “better on THAT particular day. (3. “more expensive does not mean “capable of being fastest, most agile, or “guaranteed” of a wining performance … on that given day, etc. and (4. “more expensive” does not mean that the COMBINATION of that horse and that rider; i.e. the “team” is better.
Again … particularly on that given day.
All we have within our grasp; our control is ourselves, our horse, the course, and .. oh yeah … the “moment” … which would be NOW!!!
When we consistently approach the end gate before each performance and can HONESTLY declare that, we are “prepared to ride our best right NOW” … we are a winner.
When we consistently finish our performance and can HONESTLY declare that I “JUST rode the best I could TODAY” … we are a winner.
When we dismount and consistently declare that “NOW I am going to evaluate my performance and get BETTER” … we are a winner.
You see when you do these things it is INEVITABLE that you will win because there are never any excuses, only top performances and constant improvement.
There was an incredible western movie in 1960 wherein one of the gunfighters was described as being “the best.” Someone asked, “if he is the best … with whom does he compete?”
“Himself …” was the answer.
One year when legendary basketball coach Pat Riley was coaching the Los Angeles Lakers he asked each member of the team to improve their performance … 5% …
They won the title!!!
Morever employing these character traits can also lead performers in the direction of wonderful occurrences.
Athletes … in fact PEOPLE in every line of endeavor who consistently work hard and with intelligence to improve themselves tend to attract attention and good things; good people to work with; trainers, breeders, barns, and yes, beter horses.
I can think of literally dozens of riders in my own experience who have climbed out of situations seemingly filled with nothing to achieve greatness. My best friend in the horse business is a hall of fame cutting horse trainer who began his career sleeping in a stall with his horse. I have another friend who is now a prestigious trainer and judge who re-entered the hunter jumper business while she was working as a repairman for the telephone company. She bought a green horse she could not afford and got a job mucking stalls so she could invest time in her horse. Just when the animal began to look really well he died suddenly. Not to be undone, my friend continued to climb the ranks and is now very substantial; with her own steadily growing facility in one of the wealthiest areas of the country.
Oh yeah … and the judge thing too!!!
And for a parting shot, let’s not forget the famous story of SNOWMAN; the plow horse that was purchased … at the advanced age of eight … for $80 literally with two of his feet on the ramp on the truck headed for the slaughter house. Because of his sweet disposition he was bought merely to be a school horse for children but ultimately became one of the top show jumpers in the world in his prime. He was featured on television, in a biographical book, a documentary, was inducted into the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame and has had a Breyer model horse in his likeness.
Not bad for an animal with one foot literally on the road to his end.
There is an old song by rock and roller Stephen Stills. “If you can’t be with the one you love … love the one you’re with” but perhaps Kenny Rogers’ iconic country western song “The Gambler” says it best.
“… every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser”.
Take hold of what you can control and ride your best today. Ride better tomorrow.
About the Author
Karl Avdek grew up in Iowa where his father; who was a mechanical engineer, managed a steel foundry. Coincidentally the man who owned the foundry also owned the largest thoroughbred horse farm in the state and Karl's father not only designed and built the farm but managed it as well. He also ultimately had several patents on corrective shoeing devices. Karl began training horses professionally at the age of fifteen.
Karl attended both the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin. He played three sports through college and was offered an opportunity to play professional football in Canada and to try out for professional baseball. As a consequence of sustaining several major injuries and multiple concussions Karl passed on the opportunity and came to New York after graduating from college.
Karl has had an incredibly eclectic life. He has been in the film industry as a model, an actor, a producer, director, stunt coordinator, and screenwriter. He has worked for NBC, three times been a finalist for an American Film Institute grant and recently won a screenwriting competition at the prestigious Independent Feature Project market. Karl has even had an office on Wall St. where he helped construct a tax leveraged offering memorandum for film financing.
Ultimately Karl drifted back into the things that he knew best and grew up with; horses and baseball. He was a professor in the equine science department at Pace University. He lived in England and toured Europe for six months lecturing on and demonstrating on American Quarter Horses and western horsemanship, showed reining horses and conducted "problem solving" clinics throughout the northeast. He has been interviewed by Horse Radio, Horse Illustrated magazine, and his work has been written up in the New England Equine Journal, The Yankee Pedlar, and other equine industry periodicals in the northeast.
Karl has also coached football, track and baseball at the college level and has written and produced an instructional series which was used endorsed by several industry vendors, college coaches and used in the coaching certification process by the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
Throughout all these activities Karl has donated time and created events for charities including the Humane Society, Pegasus, Toys 4 Tots, the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, and 911.
In 2014, Karl was one of the founding members of the Hawkeye Farms Foundation; a nonprofit charity foundation which will produce products and entertainment events in order to raise awareness and financing for youth sports and animal rescue.
Karl has donated and sold original art for Equine Angels Rescue Sanctuary, Ice Hockey in Harlem, and Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship and is in currently in
preproduction on the foundation's first three films; a baseball film entitled MIDDLE AGED AND STILL ONLY SEMIPRO, a period western; ONCE UPON A TIME FOR A DOLLAR, and a horse rescue film entitled GO WEST FOR CHRISTMAS.
Visit Karl's website here:
Performance Under Pressure Sports.