You want to go far in your chosen sport?

No weekend warrior stuff for you?

Top of the game is your goal?

You are going to need deep pockets (or generous sponsors), lots of time and talent (as well as talented partners in both horse and dog sport land). But without character, work ethic and soundness – ideally in both of you – you might as well stay home and play for fun. Not that I think there is anything wrong with that – it’s what I aspire to after all!

Actually understanding your team’s character, work ethic and soundness will make even occasional competing and training much more enjoyable for the human partner. (I can but hope, by default, for the animal partner as well.)

More thinking … I know… apologies


That magical combination of traits and personality that can create a winning team. Or perhaps that magical combo that doesn’t quite have what it takes. Tough to realize one of you, or both doesn’t have the resilience or ability to work through stress that is needed for the level you aspire to but perhaps better to give it due consideration now and adjust the plan? Find a new definition of success and accomplishment and you may feel better about yourself and have just as much fun.

Work Ethic 

Some of us < cough > Sally < cough > have work ethics that are nothing short of cuckoo admirable. Sore, distracted, unhappy, hungry, thirsty? No problem – the work itself is so intrinsically rewarding that the passion to do it runs rampant. Others of us, and yes I’m looking in a mirror here, are much less motivated. It’s too cold. There is other work to do.  The trial is in a month or perhaps not even booked yet. Whatever the excuse, things get in the way of the actual work that needs to be done to get where goals were set. Without two partners who want to play work getting ahead is going to be tough. Work Ethic is nearly impossible to learn.


Physical of course but also mental – how much stress can your partner take? how much stress can you revel in? If you aren’t as sound s absolutely possible reaching for the top is likely to be stressful and frustrating. 

A sound body is so important. If you can’t keep each other sound enough for local one day competitions it seems implausible that adding major travel and extra days of showing are going to be easy. What are you doing to maintain soundness now? If you are playing in class weekly. trialing every other weekend and need monthly chiro, medication and BoT to stay sound how many more options are there to add to the toolkit to continue maintenance as the demands get more intense? 

As we enter the season of goal setting have fun setting your goals, and looking back at your accomplishments but give due consideration to character, work ethic and soundness.