Showing and Education Go Together
by Kim Roe
Ready or not, here I come. These words keep running through my mind as I frantically try to get packed for my first competition in 3 years. I’m heading out tomorrow for Yelm, Washington, with two horses for a Working Equitation show.
Neither the horses nor I have competed in this sport, as there haven’t been any shows in Washington yet—this is the first one. The horses I’m competing are a dressage horse and an ex-barrel horse. Won’t they be surprised? Needless to say, I’m keeping my expectations low and focusing on learning and fun.
Over the last 3 years I’ve had no desire to show. I’ve spent a lifetime in the show arena in many disciplines, and I thought maybe I was losing the love of it. This felt like a loss of sorts, as competing has been such a passionate pursuit of mine for so long.
Perhaps it’s because my focus has been on education. I’ve been learning all I can about Working Equitation and continuing with dressage training on my unique and sometimes feisty Lusitano, Exodus. I’ve been working on getting my judge’s cards, and seeing competing from the eyes of the judge. Also, competing takes enormous energy and unfortunately a good deal of money—neither of which I’ve felt I had.
But sometimes when you enjoy a sport as much as I enjoy Working Equitation, it’s time to dust off the show boots and head down the road. I know that showing is its own kind of education. I always learn a lot about myself, my abilities, and my horse’s abilities. Competition is a clear window that lets you see through to the reality of who you are and how your training is going.
Showing helps us to discover what we need to focus on in our horses and ourselves; sometimes we discover how much more capable we are than we thought. It can tear us down and it can build us up—or both. But no matter what, you and your horse are better trained after you’ve gone through it. My desire to compete comes and goes, but my desire to learn is constant.
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