Thursday, July 7, 2016

Showing Shmowing.

I've been mulling over this idea for a blog post for awhile, but Brit's post finally got me to sit down and write my feelings about showing.

Bobby got hurt not too long after we moved up to New York last year, so our show season was crammed into one month before being sidelined by lay up and recovery, and then one last show tacked on in October. We'd finished with a successful faux Training move-up, and I was ready to get down to the grind over the winter of working on everything I needed to come out swinging at that level in June.

Then I hurt my brain in January, and my confidence in myself and my horse's confidence in any and all things to do with me went right down the drain.

So I regrouped. I dropped the eventing plans for the year because stadium jumps were are (but getting better every day!) too scary. Instead I decided to go the dressage route for showing. While I'm under no delusions my horse is jaw droppingly fancy, Bobby's not a terrible mover, and he's well schooled on the flat. I'm a goal driven rider, and shows are important to me to judge our progress and get feedback on how we're doing, so it seemed like a good compromise.

Winter gives you a lot of time to sit around and dream up magical show schedules. What else is there to do? Freeze your fucking lady balls off and peruse omnibuses. That is a horse girl's winter. I had a loooong list of shows planned out for the first half of my year, and a year-long goal to actually accomplish fancy shit and make another year of not hitting the Training goal worth it.

Once show season actually got here though, all the changes hit me at once. Being in a new state meant I knew none of the venues. I didn't really know how far they were, how easy or hard they were to drive to, what the venue was like, what the people were like, who I was going to be competing against, etc etc.

I definitely had my comfort zone and all the places that fit in it in PA. I never had to drive more than three hours to get to anywhere for a show, and I had my pick of where I wanted to go in that window almost every weekend. Most shows were one day and held on a Sunday so that I had Hubby to come down with me to take pictures and hang out. If I did hit a Saturday show, chances are that someone else from my barn was going too. That has apparently become what I expect out of showing, and anything else...just fucking sucks.

A lot of these dressage shows are on Saturdays, or if they're multi-day shows they start as early as Thursday or Friday. That rules Hubby out as he works six days a week from sun up to sun down during March-June (and sometimes into July). It's not that I can't show by myself because I've done it before and I know I'll do it again, but I like Hubby. I like hanging out with the guy, especially since I rarely get to see him in the spring. Horse shows are a thing we do together, and it's not the same doing one without him.

I also don't want to bother with a drive over three hours still. I can't afford overnight stabling for my horse or myself, so I have to haul in day-of. That means if I hit ride times of seven in the morning and one in the afternoon, that's at least a two a.m. wake up call for anything three hours away, and a long fucking day to make that drive home again.

Not worth it to me.

Really, that's what it all comes down to. The big goals and big accomplishments that come from attending big shows that are over multiple days and farther away than I want to travel just aren't worth it to me. I don't care enough to make that push out of my comfort level.

I want showing to be fun and relaxing, and I don't like to show by myself. A few less ribbons and a few more dollars saved never killed anyone.


  1. Showing is definitely more fun with a friend, especially if they're competing as well. If I lived in the area, I would definitely be your buddy for sure. And if you ever find yourself in my area, you've got a stall at my place! Not that there's anything around my area either. We should meet halfway sometime! Blogger/Horse Show meet up! ^.^

    P.S. Bobby looks friggin' awesome.

  2. I am right there with you girl! I enjoy staying at home and showing with friends. If it had to be another way, I don't think I'd do it.

  3. I got to this point a couple years ago and for me it only progressed. I am very much type 'A'. I like structure and I constantly evaluate... everything. Lol.
    I hit a point this year where I could care less about showing but don't want to pay someone to tell me what they see and give zero insight on how to improve.

    So lessons have now taken the cake... and I kind of like dressage better.... *cringes*

  4. I feel ya on the shows. Kind of makes me glad Idaho isn't a big hub for showing

  5. I think it's most important to know what makes showing worthwhile for you. Unless you can afford to hit every show (I can't), I try to pick and choose the ones I'll enjoy and not worry about the rest. It's way too expensive (and stressful sometimes) to not feel reasonably confident you'll have a good time.

  6. i definitely have a 'comfort zone' too, and prefer choosing shows by convenience. esp since we don't really do anything recognized, there's no sense in going through ridiculous contortions etc. for what is supposed to ultimately be a fun way to enjoy riding my horse and gauging our progress. still tho. i <3 horse shows

  7. I definitely prefer showing with my husband to showing by myself. Maybe if I rode at a fancy show barn where other people and a trainer were also going.

  8. It's been so long since I showed out that way, I'm not even sure I could offer you any venue suggestions. Chestnut Ridge in Gasport is probably just over an hour from you and they sometimes have registered shows. So does one in Orchard Park but that's probably over 2 hours from you. I can't remember the farm name there anyways. And I know there are some fancy venues in East Aurora which shouldn't be over 2 hours from you either. I took a few lessons from a Dragon Lady in a barn in E.A. Lots of farms that way that offer shows.


    2. My GMO does a few shows out there but they're on Saturdays. Maybe next year.

  9. I have yet to make it to a show (despite my best laid plans) since I was 17 years old. So I am willing sacrifice time/miles for satin at this point hahaha. But honestly, it's not the most important thing. You guys have had a pretty exciting season so far :)

  10. I wholeheartedly agree! Having to drive more than 2 hours for a one-day schooling show takes all the fun out of it for me, plus I can't afford and am not good enough to do rated anything. I'll stick to the low-key local shows that are FUN! I'm not going to win, so may as well guarantee the fun factor.


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