What I wish I Knew Before my First Team Experience
Brianna Maroney, a current intern at Athletux, shares a couple of the things that she wished she knew before heading into her first team experience. A young rider in California, Brianna was lucky enough to be named to the USEF emerging athlete list, and represent Area VI at the 2018 North American Youth Championships.
Heading to the Rebecca Farms in 2019 was hands down the most exciting, and nerve-racking experience of my life. I think a lot of young eventers dream of their first team experience, and although I had been fortunate enough to groom for Area VI’s 2017 team in Colorado, I still had no idea what I was in for. Here are a few things I wish I would have known before heading to the North American Youth Championship in 2018.
Team is everything.
Heading to a championship that you have dreamt so long about brings a lot of internal and external pressures. The good news is that you are surrounded by a group of riders that are going through the exact same emotional rollercoaster that you are. As it seems with all young rider championships, our weekend was filled with tremendous highs and devastating lows. I know without a doubt, I would not have been able to get through that weekend without the support of my teammates. If you are fortunate enough to be named to your Area’s squad, you need to head into that weekend ready to prioritize the team and support your fellow riders any way you can.
Be prepared to speak in front of the camera.
Chances are that you will be asked to speak to the media at some point during the championship. This may be in a one-on-one interview with a journalist, or at a press conference. Regardless, if the thought of speaking extemporaneously scares you, make sure you put in some work beforehand. My team was lucky enough to have the wonderful Athletux President, Frankie, come and speak with us before the competition started. If you are not lucky enough to speak with a PR specialist firsthand, check out our latest blog on tips for nailing your first press conference.
Treat your grooms like the superstars they are.
As someone who has traveled to the NAYC as both a groom, and a rider, I can say that grooming is at a championship is seriously one of the most taxing, stressful, and rewarding jobs. These grooms are a part of your team, make sure that they know that. They are going to work their butts off to ensure that you and your horse can perform at the very top of your game. Make sure they know how thankful you are!
One championship will not make or break your life.
I wish someone had sat down and told me this before I got in the car to drive to Montana. In full transparency, my Young Rider weekend was not what I had dreamed of. After two personal best performances, my horse turned up lame the morning of show jumping and I was not able to finish. As you can imagine, I was heartbroken. I was devasted for weeks, but I went on to have great shows and be named to the USEF Emerging Athlete list that year. Team championships are so amazing, and the bond you form with your teammates will last forever, but at the end of the day, your life continues regardless of what happens at one competition.