Left photo courtesy of @__k__d__r__ on Instagram. Right photo courtesy of @ekent1134 on Instagram. …

What do horse shows and rodeos have in common? You can’t win them all. It’s the thrill of the sport- the craving that keeps you coming back for more! 

But, sometimes too much “thrill” of the sport can get a little unmotivating. 

So, how do you deal with disappointment to go win the next one?

Emily Kent and Kim Rounds share their personal advice!

Emily Kent, a champion in the reined cow horse world and who has recently won the 2022 World’s Greatest Youth Horseman, has a list of accomplishments in the pen that can go on and on for days. As just a senior in high school, she was the 2022 Tres Osos Cowhorse Derby Non-Pro Champion. Her secret for success? Her famous saying, “The show will come around again next year.”

“I figured out a long time ago that to be successful I was going to have to lose a lot more than I was going to get to win. Knowing this truth and accepting defeat is what kept me working and ultimately winning the World’s Greatest Youth Horseman,” Ms. Kent explains further.

(You can read more about her successes here!)

Kim Rounds, COWGIRL’s own 30 Under 30 recipient, has numerous irons in the fire. As the owner of KR Photo & Design, Specialty Beef Program Manager and Social Media Manager for Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC., in charge of marketing and sales for Shining KL Partners, and an avid competitor in NRCHA, she is a winner in and out of the arena. Her horse victories include winning 3rd at the 2020 NRCHA Celebration of Champions.

She shares her steps for dealing with disappointment in the arena: 

  1. “I let myself be mad. I give myself a little period after my run to be mad, be disappointed, be frustrated, be whatever emotion is ruling my train of thought. Typically, this is a cool out lap for my horse and I and it helps physically and mentally.
  2. Next, I *try* to take all those emotions away and look at my run logically. I want to see what improvements can be made or just recognize bad luck as bad luck. I show in reined cow horse, so sometimes things happen that are completely out of my control, and you can do nothing but laugh it off.
  3. Then I call my ‘person’. Sometimes they get to be a sounding board for frustration and sometimes they get to tell me to snap out of it. Normally it’s the second one.
  4. I focus on what’s next and make a game plan. I try to walk a fine line between identifying whatever disappointed me about my last run and not fixating on it. I’m a big believer in visualizing the run you want to have, so I spend quite a bit of time visualizing a good run and how I will execute.”

The key is to remember to have fun. “I’m getting better about remembering this is supposed to be fun and NO ONE wins all the time… We are asking two athletes to excel, improve, and peak at the same moment, that isn’t always going to happen,” describes Rounds.

It’s also important to try and look at every run as a learning experience. “I’m definitely not a poster child for dealing with disappointment. This year has been one filled with disappointment for me and but it’s giving me a good opportunity to learn some grace and prepare myself for riding and showing a young horse in the future,” notes Ms. Rounds.

In the end, we can also lean on those around us for support. “Fortunately, I’m surrounded by some great people who help make the bad days better, the good days sweeter, and all the times in between some of my favorite memories.” We are grateful for those good people!

Dealing with disappointment while competing in the arena is inevitable. The lows don’t last forever though! A few of these tips will quickly have you back to winning!