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How talented do you *really* think you (or your offspring) are?

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  • #41
    I truly believe DD has enough talent and a good eye, along with a complete lack of fear. She could go all the way to the top if she had the backing that other top riders have. Unfortunately we are priced so far out as to be laughable. It wouldn't say the same for my son, who had some lessons but no feel. I wouldn't say the same for myself - I had the eye and the talent but after giving birth was consumed by fear and couldn't do it. DD is the one who took a mediocre pony and made a champion out of it, then promptly started tearing up the jumpers before my job went the way of the DoDo.
    Now we have learned to focus our efforts elsewhere and enjoy what comes our way and not regret the things we can't control. I have realized that even if I hadn't gotten too sick to work, we would never have been able to put her in a top program anyway so there is no use holding on to that emotion. And it has freed us up to try new things since she isn't riding and showing right now. So sometimes change is good and from bad things can come new ideas and new growth. Hurray for spreading new wings!
    I wanted to edit this to add that she also has the work ethic required - she would ride all day and then work mucking and wrapping and cleaning and bathing all night if that is what it took. When she has a car and can get around I have no doubt she will be all over barn ratting on her own.
    Last edited by alittlegray; Jun. 5, 2013, 11:47 PM.
    If you love me let me go....


    • #42
      I definitely think I am more talented at riding than hard-working, because for the first 20 years of my life I never worked for anything! My coaches have told me I have natural talent, but they're not really "BNTs" so idk if that has any meaning lol. I would love to be able to have a nice hunter/eq horse once I graduate from college and get settled in my job and also show as frequently as I can (preferably in higher level hunters and derbies). But I have absolutely no interest (and I'm sure not enough talent) to show in the high level jumpers. Ever. I'm way too chicken for that!


      • #43
        Honestly, I have seen a number of riders with enough talent to make it to the top -- I can mention any number (names that won't be recognized) that were competitive (not at the very top levels) in the Big Eq on horses that were at best marginal. What they lacked was opportunity - in TWO significant ways. 1) Time in the saddle and in the show ring - without multiple horses and withour substantial funds, they were unable to get the kind of experience (Outliers - that 10,000 hours) needed to excel. 2) The quality horse necessary to show their skills to their best advantage.

        Natural talent is a nice luxury, but that alone will not get one very far. Hard work, desire, coachability, and time in the saddle are far more important.


        • #44
          I have heard that George Morris was not naturally talented at the beginning of his riding career...look at him now.


          • #45
            Its funny that this thread should pop up now as I was having conservation with one of my ex-trainers ( ex due to moves etc) and we were kinda talking about this same topic...

            Basically it went something like this I started by stating I bet you went home pounding your head up against the walls after a lesson with me because my ability/skill level was disimal...
            She replied No not really you were more talented than J, M, and any of the others I have taught since you just had the height thing to get over and yes you may have had to work harder than most but you did what was necessary for you and your horse to succeed. And I only had to tell you once how to do things and well others I should have had a recorded a tape.. No you had a lot of talent and a lot of skill that could have taken you far even on the particular horse you had.. if your fear did not hold you back.

            Do I beleve her.. yeah I kinda do as she is "old sckool" and doesn't give complements often epescally of my class.. todays class not sure..

            So I can say that if my body had not rebelled I may have gone further and if the finances had been there of course who knows.
            Friend of bar .ka


            • #46
              How to answer this...there's different sorts of riders and different types of rides. DD has a great sense of feel but is timid - impossible to teach feel. Then there are others who just "know" and have this almost creepy ability to read a horse and know how far to push, when to take back, give, etc. On certain rides DD has the Vulcan mind meld connection...others no so much... She does really well on the sensitive horses that don't like a busy rider.

              No one at our house is "majickal" - we all have a bit of natural talent in certain areas but no way are we the package deal of success. We have to work our fannies off.


              • #47
                I can tell you for being in this business a long time that talent along is not going to get you anywhere. Money is the most important thing in this sport. Many untalented riders are plopped into expensive, great horses and although they might not win all the time they manage, and the horses are so well trained that they do their job most of the time.
                Working hard and giving up everything else in your life to pursue riding might give you rewards but they don't last if you don't have financial backing.


                • #48
                  Originally posted by TrakHack View Post
                  I say this as someone who has a close connection to an Olympic gold medalist (in a non-equestrian sport). He understands that if you don't have exceptional talent, it doesn't matter how hard you work at it, you're not going to be competitive. I am glad I learned this lesson at a relatively young age.
                  Speaking from a running point of view, this is not always true from my own observations. A very close family friend is not a naturally gifted runner, but she is the one running every day, sometimes multiple times in the day, and placing well in her races (28th of 1500 in a handicapped race, second age group). She has basic talent, but running is a sport where you can adjust yourself to make up for your lost talent by pushing yourself and learning to feel the mountain. My dad is a very gifted runner-he has had the best time of a very prestigious race with 1500 runners, but he does not have the drive to train hard like he used to.

                  On the riding perspective, I have some talent. Based on what my trainers and other riders say about me (or tell my mom!). I lack determination though, based from the fact that I have little chance of 'making it' or being seem because of finances. If I was put in a better spot financially, stuck with the big-name trainers and a fancy horse I think I could be decently competitive.


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by TrakHack View Post
                    He understands that if you don't have exceptional talent, it doesn't matter how hard you work at it, you're not going to be competitive. I am glad I learned this lesson at a relatively young age.
                    I was told that I was not talented at math in grade school. I was actually considered "special" and placed in very low level classes. I just graduated from a good college with a degree that is basically applied mathmatics.Talent is a mix of hard work, dedication, luck and pure force of will. I'm very sorry that someone short sold you like this, people can be very unfair.


                    • #50
                      I don't think I am talented.

                      It's taken me a long time to get where I am. I am not a good enough rider to take a diamond in the rough and turn it even into an A/O horse. The horses I have ridden at the highest levels I've competed at have been made horses. And I haven't just gotten on them and been like, "oh this is easy!" I've had adjusting time.

                      But I work really hard. And I think anyone, with a good trainer, willpower, and determination, can really improve their riding and stand out from the average riding crowd. I completely think its possible. When I was younger and had more free time, I would get on anything. It wasn't always (or really ever) pretty but I would work at it and try to make it work. I'm not a natural, but I work my tail off and I'm happier than ever at this place. I hope to keep improving with more hard work!


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by englishcowgirl View Post
                        I was told that I was not talented at math in grade school. I was actually considered "special" and placed in very low level classes. I just graduated from a good college with a degree that is basically applied mathmatics.Talent is a mix of hard work, dedication, luck and pure force of will. I'm very sorry that someone short sold you like this, people can be very unfair.
                        I agree with you. I was and still am one of those people that when someone tells me I can't, then I will.

                        My son when he was 5 the "top" Kinder teacher came to me and said my son was slow, uncoordinated and probably had ADHD.... I was shocked because he always seemed to me to be very sharp. But he was five. I just didn't believe her......

                        Today; he's in 10th grade has been in Honors since 6th grade and very good with computers. He's on the high school golf team....
                        Live in the sunshine.
                        Swim in the sea.
                        Drink the wild air.


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by bluecharm7 View Post
                          I had the opportunity to ride a retired Olympic jumper level horse, he was ridden in the Olympics, I learned when I rode him that sometimes the horse can make you look very good. However, the horse was taught by very talented people to give him the ability to know distances and you could point and shoot that horse over fences. If you could stay on he made you look very good, no talent required. Some times people who have money don't necessarily have the talent but have the money for the trainers that do. This is the one sport where the horse needs to have talent where the rider can just be determined.

                          That's an exceptionally rare horse. I have ridden a number of highly educated horses and -- almost to a horse -- they do what you ASK them to do, not necessarily what you WANT them to do. Riding well-trained, highly educated horse is more likely to be an extremely humbling experience than it is to make you look good.

                          You could put me in the ring on the best hunter out there (drugged to the gills, natch ) and it's STILL unlikely that I would find eight good distances.

                          As for me, I have exactly zero natural talent, but I work hard.
                          According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.


                          • #53
                            I like to believe that "I coulda bin a contendah." I am athletic and was successful in several sports, but just never had the riding background that would have been required to reach the top levels (or at least try!). It would have been nice to have had the opportunity- even though I might have figured out that I sucked! At my age, with my finances, and with my horse- I am happy with whatever I can get!!! To me it's not about the competition or results, but about having the most wonderful opportunity in the world to have a fantastic bond with my wonderful mare. I am very happy with that. I am blessed to have the perfect horse for me.
                            Last edited by Mukluk; Jun. 7, 2013, 01:02 AM.


                            • #54
                              Many kids after the juniors go to college and discover other things. They don't ride because there are other things in life worth pursuing such as an education (which is almost impossible to do unless you have your own plane to fly you in and out of horseshows and enough money to buy last year GP winners). Parents that are smart, and wise encourage their children to receive an education because it gives you more choices in life. But with money sometimes you can get away with little talent. Good horses give you confidence which is hard to do with green ones.
                              In cases like RK, she had talent but was also fortunate to have very invested parents, and financial backing to make it a success. She gave up going to college to put all her time in the sport because she and her family made that decision early on that this was will be her life.
                              It is sometimes deceiving to see the younger riders defeating the old pros and people thinking they are better but look at some of the horses they are riding compared to some of the greener ones some of the pros are riding.
                              And yes even in the higher jumps a horse can save you. You can bury a horse in a jump and if it has a lot of scope it will clear the jumps. You see that a lot. Not sure if it can make you an Olympic rider but it can take you close.


                              • #55
                                I'd be much BETTER than I am now, but I don't think I would be talented enough to compete with the best of the best.


                                • #56
                                  Me... If I had the money I could have been ok. If kiddo has the drive , she could be great...if her mother had the money. I should have married better ha ha
                                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                  • #57
                                    I suck. I am overweight/not fit, uncoordinated, and timid. BUT I work hard and am constantly improving.

                                    AND I could fix at least one of those with numerous saintly packers and daily lessons!!! I'm never doing jumpers, but I could have fun in the hunters or eq losing to the big guys.

                                    Money, time, location, and luck play a part in this sport, in addition to natural talent, dedication, and work ethic. The horse does play a big role, obviously. A packer that will find the distances and keep you in the saddle makes the rider's life so much easier.
                                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                                    • #58
                                      I don't believe in talent. Not since reading this book.

                                      I believe that, generally, it's the right mix of circumstances that gets one to the top. You live in the right area (it's really hard to learn when all of the trainers are 800 miles away), find the right trainer, sit on the right horse at the right time, etc...

                                      I also think that, for most, it's about pitbull-ish tenacity. Sure, it's easier with money because you can purchase the right training and the right horses to smooth the way a little bit, but money isn't everything. And I really think it's a shame that everyone thinks that's the only way to the top.

                                      As with everything in life, you want it? Go out and get it. And don't whine about how so-and-so has it easier because whining doesn't change anything.

                                      As for me, like I said, I don't think talent is a thing. I have good feel, but some fear issues. Luckily, I'm tenacious almost to a fault. Do I think I'll make it to the big rings? Eh, probably not. I have a habit of making poor geographical choices for horse showing. But I'm always getting better, and that's what matters.
                                      "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                                      -George Morris


                                      • #59
                                        I don't think money gets one to the top. But let's face it, time in the saddle and good training does help. So if you can afford to have 3+ well-trained, sound horses going at once, you're ahead of the game. I don't think recognizing that is whining. Sitting back and not working hard with what you have, and blaming lack of funds IS whining. Feeling ungrateful if you have any horse at all is worse than whining. Let's face it, most people in this world could not afford any horse, so those of us with horses are already lucky.
                                        Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                                        • #60
                                          This is a cool thread, and I appreciate all the responses.

                                          I honestly didn't know I was a genuinely good rider as a kid until I watched old home movies my dad shot. I never owned my own pony/horse and showed schooling, unrated and 4-H shows on lesson horses. That is what our family budget allowed; I had a wonderful time, and am grateful to this day that I was at least able to do that much. But watching those movies, I feel a bit sad, because yes - I WAS good. Good hands, good seat, good feel, and natural talent. Given access to a nice mount, solid training program and decent showing budget I think I could have done quite well, especially in the Ponies.

                                          But reach the top, like Maclay finals? I doubt it. I had/have fear and nerve issues that probably would have nixed that. And forget about the big sticks, I've never wanted to jump faster and higher.

                                          I'm still a good rider but have zero budget. Having recently been diagnosed with RA, I'm grateful for any riding at all, and fervently hope I won't lose my ability to do it for real when I have the finances.
                                          "Horses lend us the wings we lack." ~ Pam Brown