I’ve always loved to show. I rode for maybe six months before my first horse show, and after I won everything, I was hooked. Granted, it was just a farm show and there were probably three kids in each of my classes, so it’s not like I won Devon, but man was it exhilarating! As I’ve grown older, my passion for showing hasn’t faded; my goals have changed slightly (aka reality set in) but I love it now just as much as I did then:
Showing feeds my competitive nature
I am a competitive person; I am so competitive I can’t play team sports because I get mad when my teammates don’t try as hard as I do. I attempted to play softball in high school, but I lost all my friends because I yelled at them during practice and sulked during games. Horse shows allow me to be very competitive, but with myself. If I don’t win, 99% of the time, it’s my own damn fault. So I get pretty ribbons (sometimes) and I get to keep my friends. That’s a win, win in my book!
Showing makes lifelong friends
Almost all of my best friends show. I’ve made so many great friends at the barn, and when we spend an entire weekend at a show together, it just brings us closer. I mean, how can you not bond with the people that you share blood, sweat and tears with on a frequent basis? My horse family has been there through some of the toughest times in my life, as well as celebrated some of my greatest successes. And now, I look forward to spending a while weekend with my friends almost as much as I look forward to actually showing my horse.
Showing helps me quantify my goals
Riding is so subjective: it can be very difficult to measure goals… which sucks if you’re goal-oriented like I am. Showing helps me quantify how far I’ve come in my riding, and helps me break down the massive “I want to ride better” goal. Showing, especially with all the different divisions, help me create smaller goals that I can achieve: like getting the correct number of strides in each line, or moving up to a higher jump height, as I make my way up to showing in the 3′ or 3’6″ divisions… which may or may not take the next 30 years.