I love to show. I love to win. I love to lose. What I really love is going somewhere with my horse, setting certain goals and trying to accomplish them. I took Skip to his first show last Sept, it was a 2 day show and we did halter, western pleasure and we entered and scratched beginner trail. We had a blast. My husband showed him halter and we got 2nd out of 2 horses, not a surpise he's no halter star. We went in 2 Walk Trot Western Pleasure classes and in the Ammy class we placed 6th out of 11, so I was very proud. In the Open class we won, 1st out of 17. I was STUNNED! I knew we had done a good job and improved (I thought) on the first class but when they got to 5th and hadn't called my name, I thought, "Eh! There's a bunch of trainers in here, probably with better schooled horses.". I forgot to mention, Skippy had had exactly 58 days under saddle when we went to the show.
We schooled a lot in the warm up ring, we saw a BIG SCARY fire truck, we spooked when it hit the air horn, we recovered and all in all, it was a very successful outing. Skip got exposed to stuff he'd never seen, he was sensible and we were utterly thrilled with how he behaved.
This was just a small show for a very green horse's first outing but I feel the same way, all the way to World Championship shows. I'm there for the fun with my horse, win, place, draw or get the gate. Even at the US National or World Champs level, you aren't going to recoup all the time & money you put into a horse to get to that level, so if you're not having fun and wouldn't rather do that than anything else, showing probably isn't for you.
I have a friend who breeds and trains some LOVELY horses and they all do very well at shows and she gets stage fright so bad she has to pay someone to ride her horses and she stays in the barn puking into a bucket the whole class. Showing is NOT for her, but she can ride 100 miles in a day and won't even blink. All in what you find that works for you.