It’s Finals Time! Let’s Avoid the Lure of ‘Perfection’

It’s Finals Time! Let’s Avoid the Lure of ‘Perfection’

It’s been a great year for me.  Wing and I qualified for all the medal finals we set out to qualify for.  Now, finals are upon us.

That’s great, but suddenly I can’t seem to nail a trot jump. What’s with that?!? A trot jump is part of almost every test, not to mention a key element in handy hunter rounds.  And, at the moment, I can’t seem to do it, or at least I can’t seem to do it well. Wing looks back at me as if to say, “What the heck is your problem? You’re making me nervous, Sister.”

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No Apologies Allowed!

No Apologies Allowed!

I’m sorry.

Wait no, I’m not sorry!

Women, girls: stop apologizing!

We do it all the time.

We make a ‘mistake’ (not one that hurts anyone, just a mistake), and we say ‘sorry.’ I hear it regularly in the warm up ring—a rider apologizing to her trainer. Why? Do we expect ourselves to be perfect? When does an error become a crime? And, by apologizing, do we allow ourselves to learn anything from what just happened?

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Street to Stable Column Two Point with Darby Bonomi, PhD - Had a Bad Fall? Bounce Back with Gusto!

Street to Stable Column Two Point with Darby Bonomi, PhD - Had a Bad Fall? Bounce Back with Gusto!

Have you fallen off your horse and hurt yourself? Did you sustain injuries not only to your body but also to your psyche?  In our career as equestrians, most of us will experience a nasty fall or two.  When a young rider tumbled off at the IEA Nationals last year, the announcer said matter-of-factly, ‘well, the only riders who don’t fall are those who don’t ride.’  True words.  

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Raising Confident Girls

Raising Confident Girls

What is it about girls and horses?  Why are girls—and women—so passionate about riding?

Because on the back of a horse we are powerful, effective, and full of ourselves. We are leaders.

There are lots of other reasons too, of course.  But considering the gender gap in confidence, horses can play a vital role in developing women’s self esteem and leadership skills. 

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Street to Stable Column Two Point with Darby Bonomi, PhD - Too Old to Ride?

Street to Stable Column Two Point with Darby Bonomi, PhD - Too Old to Ride?

Recently one of my clients exclaimed, “maybe I’m just too old to be doing this.” This person is not old by any means; her comment emerged from her sense of guilt for enjoying the horses so much and wanting to continue to show ‘at her age.’ I wanted to exclaim—what, too old? Are you kidding me? (She’s at least a decade younger than I am!)

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Street to Stable Column Two Point with Darby Bonomi, PhD - Dignity and Kindness

Street to Stable Column Two Point with Darby Bonomi, PhD - Dignity and Kindness

A few riders and I were recently having a conversation about how we conduct ourselves in and out of the show ring. Our discussion was spurred by Izzy Baker’s The Kindness Movement (see recent interview on Street Stable) which she launched last year to raise awareness about kindness, the prevalence of bullying in our sport and how our community sometimes places value only on results. Our conversation meandered over to the topic of dignity, and how it relates to kindness.

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Street to Stable Column Two Point by Darby Bonomi, PhD - Thinking about Change?

Street to Stable Column Two Point by Darby Bonomi, PhD - Thinking about Change?

As the year comes to a close and our schedules ease up, many of us start to think about where we have been and where we want to go—both in riding and in our lives generally. As we reflect on our accomplishments and challenges of the past 12 months, it’s a great time to give thanks for everything the year has offered and contemplate the growth we desire for the new year.

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Street-to-Stable Column Two Point by Darby Bonomi, PhD - Being a Supportive Parent

Street-to-Stable Column Two Point by Darby Bonomi, PhD - Being a Supportive Parent

Recently, I heard someone remark that a particular junior rider had ‘wonderfully supportive’ parents. The comment made me pause and think—what does it mean to be ‘a supportive parent’ in the horse world? Sometimes this phrase is used to mean that parents are financially generous. Those gifts are one kind of support, yet there are other essential aspects of parental support that often go unacknowledged.

Sometimes saying ‘no’ is the most supportive thing you can do.

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