Friday, June 5, 2015

Reasons I Love Horse Showing

Once, a long, long time ago ... (okay, so really about three weeks ago), I packed up my horse, husband, dogs and goods. We ventured into the land of the Recognized Dressage Show to do what I had always imagined was only a dream, show Third Level on my cantankerous old racehorse.

Guys. This was one of the best horse shows ever. I also never actually broke the 60% mark. Weird. I know. Bear with me...

We went to Harmony in the Park Spring, which is one of my favorite shows in Indiana. The crew who puts on the show puts in sweat, blood, tears, and time. It shows. I've volunteered for these guys a ton, and they always make the experience wonderful. This show is one of the biggest reasons I have felt so welcomed and loved in the Indiana dressage community. I'm going to miss everything about this show: the atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the lasting friendships I've made.

One of the other reasons I love Harmony is it's attraction of big name riders and their young horses. Angela Jackson, Reese Koffler-Stanfield, and Rebecca Knollman all brought young rides. My reason for loving this was illustrated brilliantly while I was ring stewarding the quiet Sunday morning ring. I sat listening to Angela describe in detail her preferred methods for educating a young horse to the double bridle, and I realized this sort of education and idea exchange is one of the best things about going to recognized shows (as a rider or a volunteer). There is so much to learn, and so much access to great riding and experiences.
Angela Jackson on Allure behind me at Harmony in the Park 2014
It was also fun when JT Burnley watched me walk Guinness to the warm up ring early on Sunday morning. Guinness was on a totally free rein, walking relaxed. Meanwhile, I pulled on my gloves and quietly recited my test to myself. I noticed JT smiling and watching me, so I waved.

"I'm enjoying a view of my future with this three year old," he said. "There's not a lot of hands-free moments going on right now."

"You'll get there!" I called back.

When I saw him ride his three year old later, I was just as impressed as ever with JT's quiet reassuring ride and the pure athleticism and beauty of his young horse. The need for patience and a sense of humor seemed to be the theme of the weekend, and really, aren't those lessons we all appreciate learning from time around horses?

21 comments:

  1. All shows need to be like that, it sounds wonderful :)

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  2. Thanks for this post! Makes me excited to go to my first recognized show...maybe next year?

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    1. Do it! Go to Harmony! There's still enough time to hit Harmony fall, that's a muuuuuch smaller show.

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  3. this is another major reason i want to volunteer more. i've done a little with the local combined training and dressage associations, and each time i meet more and more people who couldn't possibly be any nicer. sounds like a great community!

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    1. Glad to hear the community around MD is just a lovely!

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  4. I agree. I quite enjoy showing and it's because of the comraderie.

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  5. Very cool! You're making me slightly less intimidated by dressage showing.

    But only slightly.

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  6. This post gave me goose bumps! Love it.

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  7. Love it! This is what showing should be about, although getting some satin never hurt anyone.... :)

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    1. Totally not, but satin can be hard in the dressage world. You gotta find other things to keep you going.

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  8. Horseback riding has taught me the most patience out of anything

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    1. Me too. I can't imagine what kind of person I'd be without it!

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  9. I love this. Horses and riding have taught me so many amazing life lessons.

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  10. Sounds like a lovely show. I completely agree with how amazing it is to watch pros on young horses. Being at a show with a famous name reminds me to be calm.

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    1. Haha! It reminds me not to ride like a moron!

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