Monday, October 31, 2016

SIX Important Things I Learned This Show Season

  1. Sometimes your happiest moments come from the most unexpected circumstances:   My favorite memory of this show season was when we took the half-arabian, half-hackney horse, Halle Berry, to the Lawrenceburg Horse Show.   We didn’t have time to warm up, and we were literally pulling out a half a bale of hay out of her mouth as we were rushing her to the ring.   I didn’t have the best equitation in that class, but I can honestly say I laughed all the way around the ring because I couldn’t believe that we actually took this horse to the show-it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.   Most of my happiest moments were not associated with ribbons. To be honest, I can't even remember what place we got at the show. I remember my happiest moment at nationals was not when I won 3rd place in the qualifying class (which was a tough split), but it was when I ran to meet my friend after she finally qualified for the next day.  I was happier in that moment than when they announced my own number.   
  2. The world is not fair.   I remember looking at the judges cards after the second round at nationals.  Two of the three judges had me within the top 10- what I needed to place in order to move on.  The third judge, however, didn’t place me at all.   If he had, I would have been competing on Sunday.   I pouted and complained for a long while, but at this point I think that I shouldn’t have made it that close.  Is it fair that someone cantered into me while another stopped in front of me, leaving me with nowhere to go?  Nope.   Can I do anything about it?  Nope.   It hurts worse because it happened at a national horse show, but it happens to everyone.  
  3. Your failures and successes this year do not determine what you do next year.   One of the riders who won the championship on Sunday didn’t even get a ribbon the year before.   If we constantly keep ourselves in the past, someone else is going to move forward.   And while I am so severely disappointed in myself, I am doing my best to move on and grow.   Here’s to no stirrup November!   
  4. Just because someone else doesn’t notice it, you do have successes to celebrate.   I celebrate the fact that I can’t even remember the last time I didn’t get the correct lead or didn’t pick up the canter on Lucy.   This is a pretty big deal, because she is one of the hardest horses in the barn to get to canter.    I celebrate the fact that I kept going, despite some terrible circumstances.   I celebrate the fact that I competed with a wonky allergy-affected eye.   I celebrate that I got to show some of the most challenging horses in the barn this year-Trix, Halle, Henry, Lucy.
  5. It’s ok to be sad, disappointed, or a little mad.   It is ok to blame someone else or something else.  It’s ok to get frustrated at the people who shrug their shoulders and roll their eyes when they get third-or second-place.   For a little while.   I am kind of over it at this point, but it took a lot of alone time and a lot of tears.   These emotions mean that you put your heart and soul into what you do-and that is a good thing.   But if you make excuses for yourself you will never grow.   
  6. Don’t let the cost magnify the disappointment.   I beat myself up HARD after this horse show.   Why?   Because this one cost exponentially more than the other shows.  I mean, I could’ve taken a pretty good vacation for that money.   I am not rolling in the dollars, either, so I felt like I had wasted a ton of money.   But a horse show is just a horse show, whether it be 30 minutes down the road or three hours or three states away.   Disappointment, victory, tears, happiness can happen anywhere.   I am trying to understand that it was a learning experience, even though it was a really expensive one.   

So what now?  I keep asking myself this.   I guess I’ll keep working, keep riding, and maybe try again next year.