How hard should we compete? And how seriously?
It's been years since I've shown, and longer than I'd like to admit since I've done any showing beyond IHSA (that's intercollegiate hunt seat ... for the uninformed). I don't have all the time or money in the world to go jetting around to shows, but luckily dressage does have a large enough following out here for there to be plenty of opportunities to choose from within 1-3 hours of travel. Plus, the barn I keep Guinness at is into dressage, and often takes students to schooling shows in the area. Hitching a ride is much cheaper than renting the whole rig on my own.
|Guinness and I working hard at a Todd Bryan clinic in 2010.|
The question is, do I want to focus on the smaller (and much cheaper!) local schooling shows, or do I want to be able to challenge myself with the larger competitions of USDF sponsored shows? And, if I decided to go to these sponsored shows, do I want to join to be able to qualify for awards? I can't even decide if that's something I care about.
Part of my wants to go to a few schooling shows early in the season, and see how capable we are, then decide. My thoughts on the issue are complicated:
- I feel confident, as my experiences with trailering and riding Guinness has been excellent. He's usually a little more "up" in a new location, but not crazy. He trusts me implicitly, so we typically have very good rides while away from "home".
- My main drive in thinking about doing recognized shows is wanting to do well. I respond well to criticism, especially in horse training. I love it when people pick apart my riding, or see a sticky moment and point it out for me. It's very helpful, and I find I learn more from doing things a little wrong than always right. I feel the competition at these bigger shows will be better, and the judges better. It might be a crazy thought, but it's still one I'm having.
- We are schooling a solid Training, and I know that my horse is fully capable of First Level. I don't know if that's something I could do without lots of critique, and that's not really available locally.
- I'd also like to show at the Horse Park, since it's right down the street from Cob Jockey. Maybe I could bribe her to take photos ;)
What do you think? Any experiences with recognized shows that you would like to share?
Stay tuned for video from GP and I's lesson a couple weeks ago with a visiting trainer. It was nice to get some feedback on my riding and my horse's ability. Highlights to come!