So I started writing my post-show recap and realized I needed to write a post about one single moment, before I get to the good stuff. I’m going to be honest and preface this post by saying: you really don’t have to read it; it might be long and boring and short on pictures — but I need to write this for myself.
We schooled Friday afternoon, and as predicted, Vinnie was uncooperative. He was up, looking at everything and not paying one ounce of attention to any request I made. Right then and there, I almost called it quits. I’m so sick of this attitude. If it’s not fun, why do it?
I remember horse shows being loads of fun, and parts of it still are. I love hanging out with friends all day, eating good food and watching pretty horses go around; and all of those things still happen and I still love it. But what I loved most about horse shows was winning. I miss being good; I miss being competitive. I know, it was just 4-H, and honestly, I’m not trying to make it sound like I won the Maclay or the Congress, but I’m a competitive person. I’m so competitive I couldn’t stand to play softball in high school because the other players didn’t try as hard as I did. And now horse shows do not fill that void for me anymore.
So where does that leave me? The thought of not showing anymore makes me kind of nauseous — I don’t really think that’s what I want. Maybe I need a break?
Let’s take stock of what is holding me back from being more competitive:
- Strength: I need more strength in my thighs and core.
- Endurance: Only riding twice a week isn’t enough — but part of that is my fault. I need to ride for more than 20-30 minutes during my hacks.
- Hunching: I need to stretch up (and not hunch over), even when I’m half-halting with all my might.
- Flowing over Fences: I need to fold my hip angle more and not perch or pose over the fence.
- No lead changes: Vinnie does not, and will never, have a lead change.
All of these things are fixable (except for the last one). I can ride for longer intervals, focusing on exercises to help my strength and quit hunching. I can practice more jumps and work on flowing over each fence.
All in all, I think I need to remember that I’ve changed and that horse showing is different for me now than it was when I was 16. I no longer think I’m immortal, I’m the one that pays all the bills and I’m the one shouldering all of the responsibility. But does that mean I don’t enjoy it anymore?