rhdRHD Blog

By Sally Conway

Just as important as preparing your animal to win, is the importance of preparing yourself to be a winner. I don’t consider myself an expert in winning, rather more of a “work in progress”. I have achieved some success (certainly coupled with many failures), but not yet reached many of my goals.  So when I read the above quote I started to reflect: how were my conversations with those that had won more than me, different? What set them apart not only in performance but also in conversation? Here are 5 commonalities I have observed in my conversations with highly successful individuals in the show ring:


So things did not go your way and you had a bad show. It is easy to blame the judge, the setup, the situation or anything else that could possibly help explain the disappointment.  However, as a competitor, all of those things are out of your control. Winners let go of the things they cannot control and focus on the things they can. This is an important life lesson. Hold yourself accountable for the things within your control, and let go of the rest.  Instead of looking for excuses to explain disappointment, look for a learning opportunity. Find one thing you can focus on improving next time. Do not let results be the only measurement for success. If you feel like you truly did everything you could to show to the very best of your ability, then regardless of the outcome, you leave a winner.

winners mentality


I have learned that true winners do not spend time criticizing or gossiping about others. They don’t sit around and discuss the failures or shortcomings of fellow competitors. If you have ever been great at anything, you have probably failed as much as you have succeeded. Winners recognize that failure is part of the learning curve to success. So when someone is struggling, they can relate to their frustration. Winners are more eager to help others, rather than hinder them by spreading gossip about fellow competitors. Also, it is wasted energy to talk negatively about others. Winners are too busy tending to their own business. They keep their head down and are focused more on achieving success, rather than tearing down others.


As much as winners don’t talk negatively about others, they also don’t talk negatively about themselves. I am not saying winners are arrogant, but they allude a quiet confidence gained from preparation and hours of hard work. When things don’t go their way, they don’t say “I am a bad showman,” instead they say, “I had a bad show.”  How we talk about ourselves is just as important as how we talk about others. Take pride in your efforts, maybe even when the end result was not what you wanted. Winners stay away from dwelling upon failures. Sulking on disappointment will only spoil future opportunities. Stay positive by seeking out the good in a situation and maintain a positive perspective. You won’t hear many winners do a lot of complaining. True winners stay confident and positive; they know how crucial a good attitude is to a good performance.

winners mentality


A winner knows that they can constantly be improving, and so they continue to study to be the very best they can be. They ask a lot of questions. They are not afraid to seek constructive feedback. They keep their mind open and remain humble enough to learn new things. Winners will notice small details because they are focused and paying attention. They spend less time on their phone and more time engaged in what they are doing.


Winners always let their actions speak louder than their words. If you want to win, put in the work, be the very best you can and spend less time talking and more time doing. It’s actually rather rare to get into a lengthy conversation with a winner at a show, because most of the time they are busy preparing.

As you head to your next show, contemplate these things. Work hard to give your animal the best opportunity to win, and also reflect on your mindset and attitude going into competition.