I rode in my first horse show back in 2007. I suddenly feel bad for everyone there, having to deal with my preadolescence. Anyway, it was there that I discovered that despite my love of riding horses, I'm not a big fan of showing them. I'd much rather go for a nice, relaxing trail ride than get dressed up and do a little routine, however easy that routine might be. I mean I didn't even have to memorize anything, the judges just called out "Walk. Trot. Walk. Reverse. Trot. Walk. Halt. Walk."
Despite the fact that I knew this would be easy, I was Freaking. Out. And then afterward, it felt like I'd been shoved through one of those old-fashioned laundry wringers. You know, the kind that you turn the handle and the wet clothes go through and come out all smashed, wrinkled, and damp. That;s how I felt. Smashed, wrinkled, and damp. And relieved. I mean, even my yellow 3rd place ribbon didn't take away the shaky "I-can't-believe-that's-finally-over-I'm-pretty-sure-one-of-the-horses-was-actually-a-Mack-truck-and-it-just-ran-over-me" feeling.
Also I was a little embarrassed because the only collared shirt I had was a rather tight lime green polo, and that was definitely not traditional horse show attire, no matter what level. At least the horse, Cody, looks good!
So anyway, despite my new-found dislike of showing, I still enjoyed the show. I loved seeing the horses all over the place, and watching people grooming or saddling up their mighty steeds. I loved sitting on the hay bale next to Cody's rented stall and looking up at the shiny ribbons hanging on the door. I loved watching my toddler-aged little brother in his boots and cowboy hat making friends with ponies and judges. Basically I loved everything except my own event and the twangy country music flooding the airwaves.
I especially loved the traditional Arab costume event that my instructor, Kari, rode in. I loved watching the horses canter around the ring with their tassels flying and colors flashing. I tried to find a picture to share, but I guess I was so busy watching that I didn't think to take pictures =/ Or else my camera freaked out and turned itself off because it couldn't handle the pressure, it did that a lot. However, right after the event I took this shot of Cody's costume bridle and winnings:
After that show I competed in two more, but neither one was very good. And each time I placed worse than I had before, so I figured I'd better stop showing or I'd eventually be doing pretty badly. And the clothing issue was becoming more and more of an issue: I found myself in a dressage show wearing a light blue button-up shirt that was in fact made for horseback riding, but definitely did not fit the traditional white shirt and black jacket. And if you have no clue what I'm talking about, just trust me when I say that the clothing required for horse shows is not cheap, and I was pretty under-dressed.
(See me in my blue shirt? See those other two riders in their classy black jackets? Yeah.)
But isn't Cody beautiful?!? He's my buddy.
So I finally I learned my lesson: showing is great fun for lots of people, but not for me. I'm more of a chill "let's go hit the trails" kind of rider. And that's okay, because trail riding is a lot cheaper than showing!