So I recently read an awesome post by Fat Buckskin in a Little Suit about showing and why we do it. I have often thought about why I compete over the years, and it seems hard to explain sometimes, most especially to myself.
When I am exhausted at the end of a show, and feel like I am dying of the elements, with an empty bank account, I sometimes look around and wonder WHY I do this. When I am about to enter the ring, and I feel like vomiting up my non-existent breakfast (because who has time for breakfast at shows?) I wonder why the HELL I am here. When I use my vacation hours to sweat my ass off in the sun, run around stressed all day, and wait for hours upon hours for 2 minutes in the show ring, I wonder when I became such a CRAZY person.
Am I a masochist? Do I enjoy spending all my money on 10 minutes of ring time every few months to be subjectively judged by someone? Do I love having all my mistakes be in the spotlight for everyone to see? Do I hate tropical vacations, or skiing trips in cozy scenic cabins? Nah. I’m just a horse lover at heart. For me, competing is part of the game. I have always shown, from tiny local playdays, to breed shows, to Pony Club, to eventing, to dressage, and now to hunter/jumper land. I honestly would not be happy not competing. I would still enjoy and love my horse, but a piece would be missing. I don’t have to compete often, and they don’t have to be big prestigious shows, but they have to happen. I have to have something on my calendar to look forward to and plan for.
Horse showing is it’s own special world, and I need it. I can’t exactly explain why, I just do. It’s not about the ribbons. I don’t care if I win or lose (although I really cared as a junior). I care about the feeling of accomplishment you get when you do something that scares you. I care about feeling absolutely terrified, but knowing you are in it with you horse, your partner, and then doing it anyway. I care about being able rise above my nerves and trying to perform at our best no matter what. When I inevitably make mistakes, I care about going home and practicing, and doing better next time. I care about the sense of pride in a job well done. I care about the journey, and how it strengthens my partnership with my beloved horses.
So what’s your story? Do you show or not? What drives you?