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?
It’s hard to explain why I love horse shows. But I really freaking love them. Even when I can’t compete myself for whatever reasons, I jump at the chance to tag along with friends or to go spectate at the big shows. Idk. It’s a whole unique atmosphere unto itself and I just love it. For my own purposes, I like the feeling of going out and “doing the thing” – esp wth the goal of demonstrating our training and hard work to the best of our abilities.
Right?! Like, it’s really hard to put into words why we as equestrians compete, we just do! 🤔
great blog response and yes i think it sums up how insane we really all are 🙂 LOLLOL But even reading your blog the hairs on my arms raised up cause I do love it too!! LOL hey at least you have a LOT OF COMPANY in your craziness! 🙂
I show because I need to have a goal and then something to measure my progress. If I’m just riding at home and not showing, what is the point? Yes, I can work hard and improve my riding without showing, but to me showing is the measurement of improvement. Plus you get the opportunity to see other (better) riders and horses. You get to watch other trainers and other divisions. There is SO much to learn from showing! Of course I also love the camaraderie and the whole show experience, too.