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

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

    Title edited to attract more parents.

    I ask this because on two separate threads here the sentiment of being priced out of the top levels of competition has been discussed, with some lamenting the fact that many can't afford it. This is not new, of course.

    Even if you could afford showing at the top levels, are you really that talented of a rider to be competitive?

    (Note, I know some people who post here already participate and are competitive at the top levels...)

    Many people work very hard at their riding skill. It doesn't mean they are talented.

    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.

    The people I see who are competitive are those who are exceptionally talented, are hard-workers, and are in the right circumstances to have the opportunity to excel.

    So, let's say you have all the money and time in the world. Do you think you actually have the *talent* to be competitive among top level riders?

    For myself, the answer is a resounding "no". If/when I have that kind of money, I will happily back a pro or young rider as an owner. It would make no sense for me to be the rider of an exceptionally talented horse.
    Last edited by TrakHack; Jun. 5, 2013, 12:35 PM.

  • #2
    As an adult learner, I'd say I have no talent at all.

    For the most part, I think there's a perfect storm around those that are competitive. They have innate talent, a knowledgeable group of people to mold that talent, and access to the right horses at the right time (not necessarily the most expensive, but ones that have challenged the rider in a good way or taught them a pivotal lesson). Having some money to spend on the above might help too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Heck no! Neither the talent nor the courage!

      Comment


      • #4
        LOL...I have no natural talent. It's all learned (and still learning)...all of the money in the world WOULD make me a better rider - I'm positive of that .

        Comment


        • #5
          No. However, if I could do it just once, I would. Just for the experience of having done it.

          Comment


          • #6
            You can definitely see the difference between a rider with innate talent, they just have a natural feel versus riders that are "made" through hard work and a lot of times money/access to the right horses at the right time. There are some people (myself included!) that just don't have the courage, natural feel, or desire to do the horse thing as anything more than a very intensive hobby. All the money and time in the world could make anyone a *better* rider just from repeated practice, but some people are just not ever going to get to the top of the sport.

            Comment


            • #7
              The title of this thread should be...

              How talented do you "really" think you *WERE*. The only thing a tiny bit more frustrating than being young, and pretty darn talented according to some pretty BN people who knew what talent was, but having not enough financial access to compete nice horses (sold on to BNT BNRs) is finally
              being in a position to have nice horses and compete, but not being, any longer, physically able to do so (typed having just gotten on of the hospital for my back and wearing a knee brace).

              At the point I am now, I'm really really, glad that riding is NOT how I'm making my living, because for the last six months, I'd be starving to death.

              If you had asked me 35 years ago "if" I had enough talent to make it to the top, well, there was a slew of top name big guns back then, I'd have been about third tier I guess, with the horses I had access to, if the finances had been there. For awhile, I had the $$ to compete, but the horses weren't as much.

              Now.... nope.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TrakHack View Post
                Or DD/DS, if you are a mother.

                I ask this because on two separate threads here the sentiment of being priced out of the top levels of competition has been discussed, with some lamenting the fact that many can't afford it. This is not new, of course.

                Even if you could afford showing at the top levels, are you really that talented of a rider to be competitive?

                (Note, I know some people who post here already participate and are competitive at the top levels...)

                Many people work very hard at their riding skill. It doesn't mean they are talented.

                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.

                The people I see who are competitive are those who are exceptionally talented, are hard-workers, and are in the right circumstances to have the opportunity to excel.

                So, let's say you have all the money and time in the world. Do you think you actually have the *talent* to be competitive among top level riders?

                For myself, the answer is a resounding "no". If/when I have that kind of money, I will happily back a pro or young rider as an owner. It would make no sense for me to be the rider of an exceptionally talented horse.
                I have a good eye and a good intrinsic feel for pace. Beyond that, I'd say meh... average talent.

                However, depending on how you define "competitive among top level riders," then the answer is, "maybe."

                For example, there are top level amateur hunter riders who never have to jump more than 3'6" or 3'9" ...I believe that with the right horse, being competitive in that ring is very achievable for riders of average talent who are willing to work hard (assuming access to a good program, training, etc.)

                I do not personally think the same can be said for, say, GP level jumping, high level eventing, etc. Although GM famously said he was successful sheerly through force of will and exceptional effort; he claims he had no eye and terrible nerves throughout most of his competitive career. So who knows?
                **********
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                -PaulaEdwina

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DancingArabian View Post
                  No. However, if I could do it just once, I would. Just for the experience of having done it.
                  ^
                  Originally posted by rustbreeches
                  [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis

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                  • #10
                    Not exceptionally so, but I could definitely be a LOT better with more funding for lessons and training for my horse to not make him so uncooperative. Oh, and funding for a bigger stash of xanax
                    Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would say I'm more stubborn than talented! If I'd had other opportunities when I was young - who knows - I'm not very competitive though. I enjoy showing (just schooling shows for me) because it gives me a good gauge as to where we're at. And I think it's good to get off the property, at least once a year.
                      http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                      "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        While yes, horseback riding at the highest levels requires natural talent – I will argue that in contrast to many sports, skills can be learned that can overcome a lack of natural talent.

                        And even more than talent, do you have the DRIVE to become a top rider?

                        Makes me think of a girl (now woman) who I rode with growing up. She was a member the gold winning Pan American eventing team last year. She will tell you that she does NOT have “natural” talent, rather worked her butt off to acquire the skills she needed.

                        Personally – I do not think I have “natural” talent, but at one point in life had the DRIVE needed to improve greatly.

                        When I started riding as a kid – I had no balance, struggled on a lunge line learning to post. But I had DRIVE. In just over 4 years I went from on the lunge line – to bringing my own green horse up to, and competed at the prelim level eventing.

                        If I had the will, and the way to focus my life around riding (ie didn’t have to work and commute 13 hours a day). I think I could be a pretty good rider. Add a million+ horse and training budget, I bet I could do okay.

                        Edited to add- I think *this* is what gets you to the top vs. natural talent.

                        "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't"
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I strongly recommend a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell for some very interesting insight into this topic.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For myself, I believe I have some talent and natural riding ability but to hang at the top levels with some of the big names probably not lol. I'm not ashamed to admit it, I don't have the guts to jump high anymore for one. I do mainly dressage now but I still don't think I have the natural talent of our olympians. I do believe if I had the horse and money I could hang with a lot of the AAs in dressage showing at higher levels.

                            For my child, I do believe she could go a long ways. She has a extremely natural form and talent on a horse. The problem is her sticking to it. She hasn't ridden in years, except for a week 2 summers ago at a camp. Before then it was about 3 years since she had ridden. She has started back and her first lesson she was trotting nicely, very steady and natural. Knew her diagonals and would correct on her own and knew leg pressure and how to ride from the leg which was not taught when she was younger but in listening to me talking over the years she has it down and can actually implement it without being told or taught. She is tight in the tack and truth be told looks better than me that rides 3 times a week at least when time permits. I hope she does stick with it this time because I do believe she could go a long ways.
                            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And I recommend:


                              How Good Riders Get Good: Daily Choices That Lead to Success in Any Equestrian Sport
                              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I had natural talent for riding (still do, I suppose) as a kid, and I'm sure my brother still wants to smack me as a lot of stuff just comes easy for me that he has to work on, but I have zero nerve, which is fine as while it turns out we rather DID have the money, my parents refused to spend that kind of dough on horse shows, especially if I was scared half the time. Which is probably the right decision. Talent's nice but without nerve, drive, and financial backing, it won't get you very far.
                                Author Page
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                                • #17
                                  This reminds me of a signature line I saw once and really liked. Something along the lines of "Most people don't need a $50,000 horse. Most people need a $5000 horse and $45,000 worth of lessons."
                                  This certainly applies to me

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have minimal natural talent. I have enough insight to recognize that my lack of body awareness/control and minimal confidence are barriers that would not be solved by a $$$ horse alone. I also have taken 8 lessons in the last 6 years and have a horse I desperately love who is an awful match for me.
                                    If the stars aligned I think I could be a nice rider. Not exceptional but nice. A few lessons a week and a schoolmaster can fix a plethora of issues. I don't think all of the money in the world could turn me into a top derby rider or GP candidate.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by HazelG View Post
                                      I strongly recommend a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell for some very interesting insight into this topic.
                                      Yes, Malcolm was the key note speaker at my company's annual conference a few years ago. Love his books.

                                      The drive, the habits, the hard work can help compensate for lack of natural talent, but let's say you have all of those. Do you have the exceptional talent to join the drive, habits, and hard work so you can compete with the best of the best?

                                      My thought here is that it doesn't make sense for me to be discouraged by the cost of competing at WEF/Devon/Indoors/Pony Finals because it would only be "to have the experience". There definitely is value in having the experience, and I totally am on board with the people who would love to do it once just to do it.

                                      For myself, I greatly enjoy the experience of these top shows as a spectator, and then I go home and ride my horses at my own talent level within my current means and don't despair the competitions out of my price range.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                                        Talent's nice but without nerve, drive, and financial backing, it won't get you very far.
                                        Without the financial backing, nerve and drive are kind of untapped, so to answer the OP question honestly, I don't know. I sure had the nerve and drive when I was younger, but never had the financial backing. I have now after almost 40 years of riding decided to stay in my little niche of being a no-name.
                                        Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
                                        Takaupas Top Gold
                                        Gifts Black Gold Knight

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