Let’s Talk Sportsmanship

What is sportsmanship?

sports·​man·​ship | \ ˈspȯrts-mən-ˌship  \ noun

Definition of sportsmanship

conduct (such as fairness, respect for one’s opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport (Webster’s dictionary)

Sportsmanship is lacking in equestrian sports these days. Everyone wants to win but no one want to put in the work, take the losses and be happy for others. We don’t cheer each other on, high-fives are lacking and smiles at each other are almost completely non-existent.

What are we taking our children about sportsmanship?

I am part of a fabulous gymkhana group, Tri-County Riders. The best part of this group is the level of sportsmanship displayed by all involved. We are a gymkhana family. As a group, we cheer each other through all our ups and downs, we support each other through wins and losses, as well as congratulating each other on every accomplishment, be it big or small.

As a gymkhana and barrel racing coach, I want my students to be good sportsmen and women. I want them to be smiling and happy for their fellow competitors through each other’s journey in this sport we love so much.

Being a good sportsman starts at home!

I am finding that parents these days are not teaching children about good sportsmanship. Parents only want the win and not the learning experience that comes with a loss. There is anger and disappointment that is displayed. This is not healthy in our sport that relies on our abilities to ride and handle 1000+ lb animals with minds of their own.

Participation trophies to all are not good!

As a club, Tri-County Riders gives awards to the top 5 riders in each division, but we, as riders, also get ribbons and buttons for placing 1st through 5th in each event in our divisions or we get the option to fill a card that gives us a free show when complete.

I love this because you have something to work towards, earning enough points in your division the day to qualify for awards, plus our ribbons (that everyone gets) is pretty neat too.

If all we got were participation trophies, we wouldn’t have anything to strive towards. It doesn’t teach sportsmanship; it doesn’t teach us how to win or lose properly nor does it teach us how to be a good competitor.

Sportsmanship is all about being good competitors and being kind to others no matter what!

Looking to get your child in to a sport that will teach them the value of hard work and sportsmanship? Give me a call or text me at: 408*607*9491



Chestnut horse reacting during equine massage session (5 of 6)


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