When we talk about connection we're usually referring to the bond between horse and rider, and the relationship that's created by working together and learning from each other as a team of two equal partners. While this kind of connection is invaluable to achieving success in any riding discipline, there's another form of connection that's just as important.
The second form of connection proven to contribute to sport success is something called social connection - the feeling that you fit-in and are emotionally connected to those around you (your trainers and ride mates for example). Enjoying every moment at the barn (including the relationships you develop there) actually improves your chance of riding well and helps you develop a sense of belonging and the feeling of mattering that combine to create something called sport longevity - the desire to always stay involved in riding - regardless of any challenges that might pop up along the way.
Sadly, without social connection, the tears, fears and rears that are common to riding might cause you to question your desire to stay involved in riding forever (your brain is actually wired to avoid these situation). Since riding means so much to you, you need to do all you can to avoid letting this happen.
The good news is that social connection is easy to create. Organizing special barn-events like a year-end award banquet, trainer's birthday party, or group fitness class will do the trick. Pre-show dinners, horse-show car-pools, evening seminar series, and weekend movie nights at the barn are some ideas other groups have used to create group bonding. Any social event that brings your barn together will get the job done. In between events you can keep the social connection going by doing quick random acts of kindness (called five-minute favors) to those around you. Cleaning your trainers bridle while she works a horse or tidying up the wash-rack for a friend while she turns-out her horse are a few easy ways to keep the social connection alive.
Why not think a special barn event and begin planning it? Remember... it takes teamwork to make a dream work!
To learn more about Coach Dan Stewart, please visit his website.