I agree with horselistening.com's ten habits of competent riders. I think I would add a few, based on observations of riders I admire.
- They are fit -- athletes. They have good body control, and good balance, and they take care of themselves.
- They sacrifice. They give things up so that they can ride--vacations, other hobbies, time-consuming people and relationships (for better or worse).
- They're organized/prepared. The successful riders don't give away points for silly mistakes in the ring. They know their tests, they know how to recover from an error to minimize point loss (e.g., don't circle) in the ring, etc. They strategize.