- Posted by Cody Maltias
- On January 23, 2017
- 0 Comments
Weird fun fact: My family has a long history of working in the Horse Business. Ever since I started competing I’ve thought about about having a Stable Pony as a competitor, but I’ve never really heard it formally discussed anywhere. What does the term mean? This article does a pretty good job explaining it, or read below to get a good idea of it.
Every competitor should have someone along with them to handle small jobs, keep them generally calm, and provide a certain level of comfort. Whether competing in a tournament, or in a fight there are a million small moments that can either lead to a slight increase in stress levels and use of energy, and simply go smoothly and unnoticed. A good stable pony keeps more interactions balanced in the positive category and lets the actual competitor focus on the task at hand.
So what is a Stable Pony? The term comes from horse racing and is a catch all term for any animal which gives a race horse companionship and comfort. By being around a familiar animal the horse can be more calm in unfamiliar surroundings and therefore more likely to perform well. The good news is that humans are no different. It is always a benefit to have someone with your best interests beside you in intense moments.
Typically speaking your coach and other competitors will not be great stable ponies. They have their own tasks to focus on, or multiple competitors to split their focus. A competitor needs someone 100% dedicated to focusing on them. For many of my own fights and competitions my coaches were busy preparing others or showed up right before the actual fight. Instead of going it alone in the meantime I always had someone to hang out by my side and generally handle any tasks that arose. Anyone can serve in this role, even someone with no technical knowledge in the sport. A relative, spouse, friend, or teammate can all equally serve well. Just makes sure they provide the type of presence that puts you in the state you want to be for the competition.
So what is a Stable Pony actually doing? For one, they should always be close by. Physical presence will naturally increase the calmness of the competitor. Don’t feel the need to constantly talk, or simply give them space. Instead pay attention to what they seem to need. Are they asking for attention or isolation? Does their confidence or energy level need a boost, or do they need to come down a notch? Give them the ingredient their behavior is saying they need. Next: pay attention. In this role make it your responsibility to listen for the competitors name being called, checking in with athletic commissions or brackets, or hearing for any other changes which affect the person you are with. Finally, be ready to haul bags, grab food, open waters, and any other small menial task that seems insignificant. Those seemingly small moments add up and can mean the difference in a close contest.
In the preparation for any big moment having the right people and supplies is key. Take the extra time to ask someone specifically be there for you in this type of capacity and if they are new to the sport explain what they will see and what type of situations they may encounter. That way, on the day of the competition you can be one hundred percent locked in on giving a world class performance.
Need the other roles filled? Check out this article on roles on a high performance team.