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Showing? I want your opinion!

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  • Showing? I want your opinion!

    Hey everyone. I have been riding for quite a while now (English and Western) and I have never bothered showing. Last year while I was riding English, my trainer offered to take me to my first show and I decided to go and give it a shot. Well.. I have to say, it was the worst experience I've ever had. My trainer LEFT ME in the ring by myself to try and figure things out on my own, with no prior show experience! I was so embarrassed! It makes me cringe just thinking about it. Needless to say, we left that barn very quickly. I haven't even considered trying a show again, until now. I have a wonderful trainer that I couldn't be happier with. She has a Dutch Warmblood for lease that I love, but the leasing usually includes some shows. I want to lease him, but not sure if I'm ready to try the whole show experience again. I'm not very competitive, I usually just ride because I enjoy it. I'm just afraid if I start showing, it won't be fun for me anymore. I've seen so many kids go from loving their horses, to just loving the blue ribbons. What do you think? Is it worth a shot?

  • #2
    I don't think you should show unless you want to. There's no reason to make yourself do something you don't particularly like.

    If you want to try it, give it another shot!
    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


    • #3
      Have you gone out to shows that the trainer is at just to hang out? I do that all the time because it is fun-that is how I view showing. I do it so infrequently that points chasing or going for ribbons is pointless. It's mostly just to hang out with my barn and watch some rounds. So I think if you just go in with that no pressure, fun attitude you might enjoy it!


      • #4
        Go to a show without the horse and watch how your trainer and the riders interact. I think your first experience was an exception and your new trainer will be a lot different and be truly supportive as most are.

        Go watch and then decide if it looks like fun to you. I be you will try it again.


        • #5
          You can also try going to the show and just hacking around without competing if these are schooling shows. No pressure and you can enjoy riding while you are checking things out.
          Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
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          • #6
            I would go to some shows with the trainer and your barn mates and just hang out. If you watch the classes and think, "hey that looks like a lot of fun!" then I would give it a shot. If you feel the same way after going to several, that you just like riding for fun, then maybe that's the best for you!
            My Blog - www.shemovedtotexas.com


            • #7
              I second the idea of going to a show without riding to see what you think. You could either go just to help out your barn mates (I do that a lot, I drive up with the trailer in the morning and help with holding horses, grooming, checking classes, etc.), and that can be quite a bit of fun, and educational in terms of seeing how your barn operates at shows. Or, like someone else said, take the horse and just hack around, maybe take him in a warm up if you are feeling good. Its a good, low pressure way to see if maybe you would want to show.
              As for being worried about growing to only care about winning, I wouldn't worry about that. From your post, it sounds like you would be showing to have fun and enjoy your horse, so I don't think it is likely that you would suddenly only care about blue ribbons. If you are interested in showing, I wouldn't let one bad experience ruin it for you, since you may end up really loving it!! Best of luck!


              • #8
                Originally posted by nova_66 View Post
                I'm not very competitive, I usually just ride because I enjoy it. I'm just afraid if I start showing, it won't be fun for me anymore. I've seen so many kids go from loving their horses, to just loving the blue ribbons. What do you think? Is it worth a shot?
                I have to say, I was EXACTLY this way. I never wanted to show as a kid, just ride my horse and enjoy him.

                When I went to college, I rode on an IHSA team and I actually asked my coach if I could be part of the team without having to show. She said no. So, grudgingly, I went to a show. And having my whole team there supporting me, knowing that I was trying my best, but sometimes things went wrong, and even then they would support me, started to change my mind.


                While I was at school, I started working with one of the training ponies, and eventually had the opportunity to show her. I realized that I was excited to show - it would be the first time showing with a horse that I had a connection to. I had a great time, mostly because I was so proud of my pony for trying so hard.


                Then I came back from school, and had a summer to work with my old gelding again. He is a wonderful hunter, I had just never bothered to show him before. I again realized that showing would be FUN because it would be me and him doing our best trying a new activity. I don't care about our placings, but enjoy learning. It was a new place to test our connection and our ride. How fun is that??


                With my new, green gelding, I find that riding him is so fun that I want to show, to improve, to be our best. I do not care about our placings, I really am just there to have a good time. And evidenced by our pictures, we usually do.


                For me, it was letting go of the idea of hating competition and realizing that you are really only riding against your own self. Did I ride my best? Did I try my hardest? Did my horse perform his best? Did I get the most out of him? If I didn't, then I work for the next time. I might do my absolute best, but still get last. I don't care.

                I think the choice is totally up to you, but that is my story.


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you so much everyone, those were some great answers! I think I am going to go to a few shows and just see how it is before I bring a horse. I don't want to let that one bad experience ruin everything.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nova_66 View Post
                    Thank you so much everyone, those were some great answers! I think I am going to go to a few shows and just see how it is before I bring a horse. I don't want to let that one bad experience ruin everything.
                    Sounds like a perfect plan. In additon, it may be helpful to really watch the particular division you would be showing in if you had your horse. See what they do and what is expected. Don't be afraid to ask questions! If it seems like it might be fun, give it a shot. Preparation is the key to being able to relax. You didn't get that last time, which is too bad. But if don't think you would enjoy competing, don't worry about it. You don't have to. Just enjoy your riding!
                    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                    ¯ Oscar Wilde


                    • #11
                      I 'd say you should give it a go. Especially if you like your new trainer. I love showing. Its exiting a fun. Maybe you could ask your new trainer about it. And if you get a chance, go to a show your trainer goes to and just watch without the added pressure of riding.


                      • #12
                        I agree not to let one bad experience ruin it for you. Most trainers are more helpful than the one you describe! But, also have realistic expectations for yourself. Show at a level slightly below what you are doing at home in your lessons, and shoot for a steady performance. And don't feel embarrassed if you have a bad class (or two, or even all of them). Everyone has bad shows sometimes and sometimes those shows are the best ones because they really help you focus on what you need to work on.


                        • #13
                          It's a lot cheaper, too, to just go to the show and watch the folks from your barn that _are_ showing. And if you're inclined, offer to take photos or video rounds for your barn-mates and/or trainer - that's a good way to make friends fast!