Horsemanship is more than just a sport. Any athlete within so many disciplines has to worry about one thing mostly: His own, personal performance.
Whether it is about a team sport, such as soccer, basketball or baseball, or it is about an individual effort (running, athletics…) the first task of any sportsman is to keep an eye out for his own physical output. With riding, the game gets a little more complex. Every Jockey needs to work as hard as any athlete to reach a great physical shape and sharpen reflexes, but there is also a big need of taking the horse’s stamina and physical shape into account. One won’t work without the other. The best jockey could not take full advantage of his skills without a horse in outstanding shape, and the best racing horse could not give a hundred percent without the guidance of a truly skilled and experienced rider on his back. This is a sport that requires specific nurture and dedication, and this is why Maria got interested into it in the first place. She has never really been into sports as a little girl, but she always had a fascination for animals of all kinds, developing a particular fondness for horses. These noble animals have been companions to mankind for generations over the centuries, and even though they are a commonly domesticated species, we still feel the fierce spirit of their wild nature.
This was something that intrigued Maria a lot, who got the chance to be around horses from a very young age, living in the countryside. She started hanging around her family stable as a toddler, looking at the way adults used to take care for horses with awe and admiration. It did not take very long before she started to learn how to care for these beautiful animals, and caring soon turned into learning how to ride. At first, Maria was simply happy to take the horse out for a small ride, but she soon started to appreciate the speed, the adrenaline and the indescribable feel of pushing the senses to the limit in a race, truly becoming one with the animal. She and her favorite horse, Ben, started to train really hard, eventually perfecting their connection as a team. Their first races were a true success, and their name started to get around in the circuit, until bigger opportunities came forward, such as the well known Regional Competition.
That race was the most intense Maria and Ben had ever experienced. The competitors were fierce and also really experienced. Ben struggled to keep his act together, because he could feel Maria’s fear and stress. There was almost some telepathic sort of connection between the two, and as Maria started to understand her horse’s restlessness, she realized Ben was having trouble because of her own fear. This is why she took some deep breaths and started to focus on the goal. Nothing else was there, no other racers, no crowd, no bets, only her horse and the track. It was almost feeling like the world was in total slow motion, as they both passed the goal, first!
It does not matter how well trained you are. This is a connection you truly need to feel!