Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

This whole "show" thing has really derailed my blogging.  Which is unfortunate, because I've had some really good "Aha!" moments in the last few weeks.  Luckily, I'm pretty sure I'm done with showing for this year, so we'll get back to training and I'll have more time to ramble incoherently discuss that.

I know there are those out there who are pretty "anti-competitive dressage".  Hell, I'm one of them!  I hate showing.  Absolutely loathe it.... I never think a show is an accurate representation of my horse or my horsemanship at all.  In a show, I have just a few minutes to display everything me and my horse have worked on together.  I have a few minutes, and a few movements, to display our story together.  I can't do it.  I just can't condense all my work into those moments and movements.

And that's why I'm happy every single time I go down the centerline.  The judge doesn't know my backstory.  The judge doesn't know I'm riding a 16 year old Thoroughbred ex-Jumper that I re-trained myself.  The judge doesn't know that I'm trying to come back to competition after breaking my back.  All the judge knows is what I present in those few moments in the ring.  I will be scored on those moments and movements that I present, right then.  And I am so damn happy to be there.  Every time I ride down centerline, I am proud of what I have accomplished.  The judge might give me a bad score, but I earned that score, and I am so proud of it.

A show is exactly what it proclaims to be:  You're showing off.  You're showing off your horse and your skill at that moment.  And I think that's how people should go into it.  It's not about "winning" or even getting "good" scores.  There will always be someone there who is better than you.  Someone will have a nicer horse, a more expensive trainer, fancier gear, maybe they take training shortcuts to get better scores.  It doesn't matter.  You're there to show off your horse, your partner.  It just isn't about what other people are doing.

Even though I hate showing, and I'm pretty terrible at it, I still recognize that it's an important part of horse training.  I don't want to ride around in my own arena tooting my own horn forever.  I want to be able to take my horse to other farms and show him off.  And, I know he isn't everyone's "ideal" of the perfect dressage horse.  I'm not everyone's "ideal" of the perfect dressage rider.  So what?  Why should I let ideals define me? 

I'm doing the best I can with what I've got.  And I'm really proud of that.

So, get yourselves out there, show off what you've got, and be proud of every single score you get.  Because you earned it.  You earned it through blood, sweat and tears.  You earned it through training your horse to the best of your abilities and, no matter what that score is, you should be proud of it.  Because only you know what you did to get there.


  1. Beautifully written post. I love it! Well done.

  2. Absolutely on target. I just wish it weren't so darn expensive--especially for the recognized shows.

    Glad you have a good perspective on the whole thing. That is the way to be.

  3. Will your blog let me post today? That is the question.
    I agree 100% about your idea of showing. IMO, even at international level, it is about showing off the HORSE, how athletic, flexible, obedient he is at that moment. It is all about the horse, and his rider who is able to show off the best side of his partner, and hiding the less pleasant side ^-^

    I hope in teh future to be able to follow on your footsteps.

    On another subject (I am still hoping blogger let me post) I have found this book, and i have heard the interview of thsi Doctor on Jane Savoie's website :

    He is a retired neuro-surgeon specialised in riders. In his interview he said taht he was happy to receive emails. Perhaps you could contact him, and he can give you name reference to who to go for your back.

    I am not daring to correct this post. I am publisihng with spelling mistakes and all ^-^

  4. oh wow, really needed to read your post today! thanks for sharing it.

  5. like it a lot....not that I show, but if I ever did, it would be to give me a focus, to be my best with a horse, to know I had worked it. It is like running a 10K race, I am never going to break any records, win a prize, but having it to work towards is good...
    Right up the centre is worth a cheer every time :)

  6. Great post. I love your outlook. I have a love / hate feeling about showing. If I could get over my nerves it would be more love / love :) They're great for learning.
    I'm so impressed with you and Spider. You know your stuff.


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