It seems like we just get used to something then it changes. It can be hard to keep up with the constant change and very distracting to our performance preparation.
Let’s take a look at some significant changes that the equestrian industry has experienced over the years:
• Business vs Hobby: Equestrian sports have become less about hobby and more about business. People are investing more and more money into their sport and expecting some sort of return whether through prize money, or sales. The increase in entry fees etc excludes many people from some sports who would otherwise love to be involved
• Economic crisis: Many of us felt the pinch from the economic crises. For some more than others it became more difficult to justify the money they were investing in their sport.
• Inflation: Prices inevitably continue to rise placing more pressure on each of us to do well in the show pen and see some return for our efforts and investments.
• Taxes: Changes and proposed changes to tax laws are making us reassess our involvement within the equestrian industry.
Rules and Regulations
• Approved Medications: Changes to the list of medications that we can and can’t use for our equine athlete’s has caused some controversy, confusion, and forced changes to training and preparation procedures.
• Equipment: Changes to approved equipment has also resulted in changes to training practices.
• Humane Treatment of animals: With an increasing involvement by animal advocate organizations some equestrian sports have experienced significant changes in rules and regulations
• Judging: Those who were winning a few years ago are finding that the way they were training and showing a few years ago is no longer winning today.
• Riding and training style: In response to changes in judging expectations, participants have had to change their training and showing style to stay on top. IF you have been doing this for a long time those changes can be very difficult to adopt.
• Higher expectations on both horse and rider leads to more pressure and higher risk of injury.
• Less gender bias. Equestrian sports used to be quite clearly defined by gender in not only the type of sport but also the level of competition. Traditionally participants in equestrian sports like dressage were predominantly female whereas sports such as polo were a male domain. Similarly, it wasn’t that long ago that very few women participated in the Olympics. Gender bias is becoming less prominent across the board and that has caused some significant changes within the industry.
• Equal opportunities for men and women at all levels of competition.
Anytime there is change of any significance there is the potential for transitional difficulties. We people tend to be creatures of habit and we feel most comfortable with familiarity. Consequently, many of us are resistive to change even when the change may be for the better. The transition can cause us significant stress if not handled appropriately and we are unprepared. One thing we can depend on is that change is inevitable so the best we can do is develop our personal skills to handle the transition and maintain a flexibility that enables us to make the most out of any situation.