Our first horse show of the season is this week – horses will haul up Wednesday afternoon in fact, so I’ve been in full-fledged panic horse show prep mode for the last 10 days at least. With the schedule change, it seems like the horse show is coming up much more quickly, but luckily I’ve got planning and prep pretty much down to a science.
Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of discussion about the problems with American show hunters: they’re too slow, they’re all drugged up, they are prepped and lunged to death, there are too many divisions and too many horse shows. And critics say that all of this combines to create awful animal welfare situations and terrible riders! I’m not here to refute every point, in fact some of it I wholeheartedly agree with. But some of these points fall far from the mark, and I’m here to defend “dumbing down” show hunters.
I have the most first world of first world problems right now… and I simply can’t get it off my mind. I try really hard not to rant or be pessimistic on this blog (or in my life in general) but I’m hoping that maybe saying this out loud will take the weight off my mind. We recently got news that the awesome local show series at the amazing, brand new facility has been sold for the 2017 season. It has a new name, new prices and a new schedule. And I’m not happy about it.
You’ve probably never heard of Wilmington, Ohio before. It’s not a major city (population 12,520) and doesn’t offer much in the way of attractions or amenities… unless you’re an avid equestrian. The World Equestrian Center, formerly Roberts Arena, has been hosting horse shows in central Ohio for decades. But improvements over the last five years and a recent re-branding have turned this venue into a premier destination for winter circuit horse showing for those in the Midwest.
I have so many mixed feelings and emotions when I think back on the 2016 show season. It started off so horribly, with lots of tears and tough rides… but I found a strength within myself that I didn’t know I had. Together, with support from all sides, Miles and I succeeded.