At the British Dressage (BD) members’ meeting held at the Hartpury, one competitor felt it was demoralising to have to compete against Charlotte Dujardin in the novice gold section. To anyone who holds the same opinion, I would say the following.
Do you compete purely to win? Is it to gauge how you are progressing and improving? How did you manage to get here, to the national winter championships? Have you thought that by achieving this, you have already put yourself in the top 2% of BD members?
Is Charlotte the only rider who is “definitely” going to beat you at the championships? If she is, then you are in the top 1% of BD members.
Have you set yourself achievable goals, or have you just thought about the experience as a win or lose?
Competition is designed to encourage improvement by learning from those who beat you. I have been competing at a relatively high level for over 40 years and I am still learning from riders young enough to be my children.
There are times when I win. However there are times when I am more than satisfied to be in the top half of a strong class. I watch those who ride better than me and whose horses go better and I learn from them. This is how standards in Britain will rise.
There will be at least one young rider who has watched Charlotte and has said to him or herself, “One day, I am going to beat her.” With years of hard work, dedication and determination, they may achieve their goal. That is how Charlotte did it, after all.
So come on everyone! Charlotte is not at every show. Win and enjoy it when she isn’t there! When Charlotte is in your class look, watch and learn, then set a target for improving your own performance so that you can sneak up on her.
Ref Horse & Hound; 20 April 2017