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Just Say “Thank You”

By McKenzie Morgan, age 17, originally published in the October 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.

Always be grateful, don’t forget to say “thank you,” and try not to have a bad attitude about the little things in this sport.

How often do you tell your circle ‘thank you’? I think this is something we all struggle with. We sometimes get so caught up in fame or life and forget about the ones who were there first. We think we’re entitled to our parents or whoever is the glue that holds everything together to do whatever we want and often forget the thank you part. We get so wrapped up in the moment we just don’t realize it. None of them have to be there, but they are because they support our dreams and because it’s what we love to do.

You have to remember where you came from, because if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be where you are today. I encourage you to think about all the things your circle does for you and start saying “thank you.”
Now, lets talk about our attitudes and how we handle bad runs. A bad attitude is like a flat tire—you can’t get anywhere until you change it. That plays a huge part in your mental game and your riding, and this is something I have to remind myself during the rough patches. One bad run can ruin your whole weekend or even the next horse you climb on. Bad runs can make you want to throw your sucker in the dirt and call it quits—especially when they’re one after another. Great runs can be few and far between on some horses, but you have to be proud of the progress they make. If you consider every run a bad run because they didn’t do everything perfectly, you’re going to constantly have a bad attitude about the horse and you aren’t going to get very far.

We tend to expect our horses—even the ones with problems—to be perfect every time and forget to take the bad days in stride. This is something I struggle with sometimes. It’s hard to not let a bad run ruin the rest of your day, especially if you’ve worked all week to make it perfect. But when you do that, you transfer your bad attitude to the next horse and don’t ride your best. Then you’re upset with that horse, and it’s a vicious cycle.

I always use the 10-and-10 rule—if it isn’t going to matter in 10 years, don’t spend more than 10 minutes being mad about it. Always think about where you are and what you say and do after a bad run, because there is always a little kid watching wishing they were in your shoes. What you consider your bad could be an amazing run to someone else. Always be thankful, don’t forget to say “thank you,” and don’t have a bad attitude about the little things in this sport.