I was recently at a schooling show with one of my students. Its a small, easy going show, but its good for experience. There are always under 10 riders in a class, its inexpensive, and good for when they are getting started in the show ring.
Its my students first year showing, and she has been doing very well. She is pretty much always in the top pair in her class, it rotates judges, yet she and one other girl are always neck and neck. This past show was the last one in the season. I was watching one class and figured it would be similar to the others in placing, yet I was surprised when a little girl that is usually lucky if she places came out with the blue. In fact, the whole class was backwards, with the kids usually on top coming out lower in the placings. I was a little confused, but have never been the type to argue, so I brushed it off. When my student came up, she was happy, saying "that girl is so happy, she hasn't placed above 4th all year!".
This made me remember my showing days, when the mothers used to talk about the kid that practiced so hard and in many cases was simply "out-horsed" in the class. They always would talk about how they wished they would place these kids higher in the schooling shows every now and then so they didn't lose their ambition.
So, at the last show of the season, after the last class in the division, I looked at a little girl with her arms around her ponies neck with the first blue ribbon pinned to his bridle. I was that little kid with the mediocre pony a long time ago, which is perhaps why my students show on flashy horses that I put more ride time on than the students do. You can bet that I remember that occasional blue ribbon that kept me trying harder and harder. As my student added her white ribbon to the blues and reds, I smiled and thought that maybe horse shows weren't so bad after all. I think next week, I'm putting that same student on some tougher horses.