Wayne Garrick – The Shadow
Bit of an odd blog this time round. A little… Contemporary maybe, even, possibly.
As riders and competitors we have to have an extremely tough mental state. We have to have empathy, sympathy and discipline. These don’t all go hand in hand by any means. We have to train our minds to cope with the highs and lows of the sport and just the simplicity of horse ownership. We have to be able to train not only ourselves but our horses and work as a team whilst sometimes feeling at our most alone. We have to allow vulnerability without feeling this makes us weak!
Each and every rider that I have ever met carries the weight of what I call “the shadow” This shadow follows you around everywhere and it can be made up of many things. For example self doubt or a feeling that you are not good enough, which I know everyone has felt at some point. It can be made up of pressure to perform and get results to keep a ride, a sponsor or an owner. A fight to keep your name in a positive light. And for the professional rider the added depth of the shadow is ‘anyone else’ the knowledge that one bad day in the office can lose you rides to someone willing to back stab and under cut prices.
We work under intense mental strains all the time, we have to somehow over come the want to retreat and hide and take the bad days and hope that our owners understand that infact, we as riders, are human. Taking on this pressure without a decent support network and team is vertually impossible, some manage it, at a cost.
As you all know this year started badly with the loss of Uno, then some decisions that were made ment I lost another ride. My shadow grew thick and heavy, I doubted myself and my ability. I was replaced as a rider which only added to the weight of the shadow. I had to take myself out of the competition circuit and refind my balance, my love for the sport and my mental health. I’m lucky to have long term friends that were able to remind me of achievements, of my strengths and with their guidance I started going back to my roots, backing and breaking and working with horses that people had given up on. And I found myself again, in the saddle, on a young horse.