According to the American Horse Council, approximately 480,000 people across the United States are involved in some form of competitive horse riding. For the average individual who owns a horse and who has been riding around on the horse for three or four years, deciding to compete in a horse show can be a very exciting and nerve-racking experience. There are a lot of benefits that younger riders get from engaging in horse competitions.
First, it gets a rider out of their comfort zone. Horse riders, just like everyone else, can find themselves in a rut. They come across the same people, they go through the same routine, and they ride the horse around in the same area every single day. At some point, the challenge that they first experienced when they hopped on a horse for the first time is gone. Now it’s just routine. Having a stagnant routine of riding your horse can become detrimental. This is because a rider can have certain challenges when they are on their horse, and so instead of addressing the difficulties they have, they create a routine that makes it so they don’t have to confront those challenges. They don’t ever get any better. The challenges they had when they got on the horse for the very first time are the same challenges they have years later.
Competing forces a person to get out of their rut. Riding a horse in a new place forces the rider to confront new obstacles. These new obstacles will help them tackle deficiencies in their riding that they did not have to address when they were in an area that was familiar to them.
One of the things that can force a rider out of their comfort zone when they compete is the fact that instead of riding by themselves in an open area, they may need to navigate around multiple other riders when they are in a warm-up ring.
Many riders will say that when they leave a property that they are comfortable riding in and they ride in a new environment, they feel like their riding has become refreshed. They can feel the difference in the way their horse responds to their direction.
For individuals who are looking at competing with their horse, a dressage horse trainer can be an invaluable resource. They can provide a lot of the technical know-how that the average rider does not have that will allow a rider to be successful in competition.