Even though we are miles away from being ready to compete at an event again, thoughts of planning our season pretty much dominate my brain.
I miss competing, and this dry spell combined with thoughts of moving up this year have caused a bit of self exploration- why do I show?
Personally, I treat competing as an opportunity to test our training. What I really look forward to at each event is the score- that quantitative (or in dressage, qualitative) feedback that shows how successfully we navigated a given challenge. I like to go to each competition with a number in my head, and at the end of it all comparing the actual score received helps me re-align my expectations or understand any gaps in our training. At the end of the day, I define success by how well we did compared to my original expectations for smaller goals- were our canter transitions as planned? Get an 8 on our free walk? Did we make time? Have runouts?
For me, ribbons are a secondary treat. If we get them it’s great, and I won’t lie by saying I don’t enjoy being at the top. But in this area at many of the schooling shows we compete against professionals, so it’s hard to judge how well we do by placings alone.
We all have our reasons for competing in equestrian disciplines. Maybe your competitive nature needs a place to shine. Maybe you have something to prove, or you just want to test your abilities. Maybe competing is just a part of a greater plan, or you have a die-hard passion for satin ribbons.
Why do you show? Or if you don’t compete, why don’t you show?