Several people commented on my Friday & Saturday show report commending me for my good attitude. Believe me, that attitude is not my natural inclination.
I’m a fiercely competitive person. I want to win. I don’t like to step foot in the ring unless I think there is a chance that I will get something in the class. While I don’t feel like I put my competitive desires ahead of my horse’s welfare, the truth of the matter is that I really want to be one of those riders that “cleans up” consistently.
Going to a show and not doing well with ribbons & points is a bit of a bummer for me. Last year, I went to a weekend show at the Expo center and wasn’t competitive. What that blog post hints at but doesn’t state directly is that my attitude at that 2014 show was pretty statistic. I wasn’t proud of me or my horse. I pouted. I would tell anyone who would listen how crappy of a rider I was and how much I sucked.
I was not much fun to be around. As I sat by the ring and ate my horse show treat, grilled cheese with bacon, my head was full of spiraling negativity.
This past weekend, I still ate a grilled cheese with bacon… but I did it while chatting with barn friends about anything but my crappy riding.
Look, I’m not thrilled with some of the riding choices I made this weekend, but the fact of the matter is – it’s just not that damn important. Finding your husband dead is something to be upset about. Part of my ability to smile this weekend stems from the trauma I’ve had in the past two months. After surviving all that, I promise you I can handle going off course in my jump off.
Another part is the generosity of people that allowed/will allow me to show. I literally am paying for 90% of my shows this month with donations from the horse community. It would be a total slap in the face to them if I were to take that act of kindness and meet it with a sour attitude because I didn’t take home a ribbon.
My friend’s husband has a line that he will tell her if things don’t exactly go to plan. When a show is a total bust, he’ll counter with “Isn’t it a luxury to have a bad horse show?” That might not be what us equestrians want to hear after spending a lot of money showing and not having a great go… but it’s true. Just being able to ride our horses and take them places is a luxury in itself. As I was warming up for my medal on Sunday morning, we found out that a barn friend’s horse had to be put down due to colic. That’s sad. Going too fast down the outside line in the equitation… not sad.
Tim used to always get upset at me when I didn’t seem to enjoy my riding. This hobby involves a lot of sacrifice, and that’s going to be even more true for me as I march forward on a single income. Celebration and despair are emotions all of us riders are going to feel. Being disappointed is unavoidable in the horse world. It’ll happen with shows, with breeding, with vet care… everything.
How we conduct ourselves is a choice. I can choose to focus on the good with my horse life, and I will.