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Advice on enjoying showing my horse again

258 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Knave
I've been very blessed with owning great horses and have almost all the time won. Been 40 years. I've won so much that I'm not enjoying showing anymore unless I win the blue. I hate I've got this way and it's taken the fun out of showing . I understand that it's not about the winning but the privilege to show and the getting dressed and participating. As Show Season apparel logo says, it's not about the conclusion it's about the getting there. Please if others have ever felt like this Please, please give me some words of wisdom.. I have a WGC multiple time horse. I need to hear that it is no shame in getting 2nd. I want to keep showing but I need to get my prospective straight! There are far more people showing horses that sometimes don't win a blue ribbon but couple times a year and they keep going back weekend after weekend. Please please help, please. Thanks
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I find showing for me was a mindset...
I did not enjoy it no matter what place ribbon we earned.:cautious:

What I did enjoy was besting me.....my abilities.
I rode to improve me.... I was my only competition.
I asked to see a judges card, politely and with courtesy.
I enjoyed riding under the same judge show to show because the judge then also critiqued us the same way to what they saw, liked or not... Riding under one person gave me a sameness and they actually after a few outings remembered us as a partnership and asking to see the card and why.
That judge also took the time to speak with me sometimes, explain what she saw and why to do this would help me or stop doing that for this reasoning.
Like I said, I did not ride for the blue, but for me to be a better equestrian and partner to my mount.

For me, " I " wanted to be better but did not care about ribbons.
If I wanted ribbons I could order them from a distributor and cover my walls in them...
I wanted knowledge and ability to be better for me but more for my horses sake.
Different mindset for different people.

I hope you can find the "fun" in showing again....
This activity is far to expensive to not be happy when participating in it.;)
I wish you well in searching for and regaining the happy..
馃惔...
 

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I've won so much that I'm not enjoying showing anymore unless I win the blue. I hate I've got this way and it's taken the fun out of showing
I was driving my horse home from a show and feeling a little down because we had "only" won reserve champion, not champion. I decided on that drive to stop showing. I started doing competitive trail riding instead. That was fun, but long drives and expensive.

Then I met someone who wanted to do theatrical jousting, and needed help with the horse part. That was super exciting and different, and best of all, my horse was earning me money rather than costing me money.

There are other fun things you can do with horses besides showing once you have hit the top of your game. If you really want to continue showing, there are always bigger shows with more skilled competitors.

Now days I enjoy my rides camping and riding out on the trail. At my age, that is my speed and very fun.
 

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I would say either 1. A change of mindset or 2. A change of discipline is needed.

I was in very much the same boat as you a few years ago - if I wasn't winning, I wasn't happy (no matter how my horse and I as individuals performed). So, I took a break from competing and ultimately had a discipline change (breed showing to dressage). For me, dressage is 100% about the process, because no matter how much time you invest into it there is still more to learn and strive for. When you compete, you are competing against yourself, striving for the impossible perfect 10 on a movement and improving test scores. You are still placed against others in your division and level, but it just isn't the same as competing in a single class against a handful of other people at the same time. With changing discipline, the change of mindset came with it to. Dressage isn't just about teaching the horses the movements quick as can be to go and compete them, but ultimately dressage is all about teaching our horses how to carry themselves with strength and grace, correctly. I truly love it.

There are so many disciplines out there to try, and it doesn't necessarily mean a change of horse or breed. Dressage is for every single breed (at the shows I attend, there is regular Quarter horses, Morgans, Gaited breeds, Thoroughbreds, ponies, etc.) and I think the people I've met so far is one of the kindest, most encouraging crowds. In dressage, everyone is on their own individual journeys, and it's really hard to get caught up with what others are doing. All of us are climbing a ladder, being knocked down, and trying again. And again. And again. Until we reach the top of the ladder, and then begin climbing the next. Plus, now there is Western Dressage which really has been hugely popular in my area for those who would prefer the western tack and feel more comfortable in that discipline.

I'd encourage to look around, maybe try some lessons in different disciplines and see what's out there. Maybe starting fresh in a whole new discipline that you or your horse don't do will give you a different mindset, where you can get back into showing in the new discipline or return to the prior.

Good luck!
 

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Another vote for change of mindset. I show reined cowhorse. It is a COMPETITIVE discipline. I show lower level and are up against high dollar horses with my bargain basement clearance horses (LOL) and much better riders than I am. I started out with a GASP 1/2 Arab! That was NOT professionally trained! 馃う鈥嶁檧锔 For years I was depressed about not being up in the placings. I decided to change my mindset.

As @horselovinguy says, I concentrated on bettering myself and my horse. I rode to better my score from the prior show. I cheered on my competition. I sat with my competitors in the stand and had fun talking and hanging out with them and all of us encouraging each other. Rather than concentrate on my placings, by changing my mindset I ended up having lots of fun AND improving. The first time I won $$ I argued with the show secretary that they must have miscalculated the points. 馃槣

In your situation, I also agree with @ClearDonkey - try something new. Challenge yourself & your horse. Don't look at where you end up ... concentrate on the journey and enjoying yourself and your horse. Get out and do more things; there are tons of different things to try!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh
I find showing for me was a mindset...
I did not enjoy it no matter what place ribbon we earned.:cautious:

What I did enjoy was besting me.....my abilities.
I rode to improve me.... I was my only competition.
I asked to see a judges card, politely and with courtesy.
I enjoyed riding under the same judge show to show because the judge then also critiqued us the same way to what they saw, liked or not... Riding under one person gave me a sameness and they actually after a few outings remembered us as a partnership and asking to see the card and why.
That judge also took the time to speak with me sometimes, explain what she saw and why to do this would help me or stop doing that for this reasoning.
Like I said, I did not ride for the blue, but for me to be a better equestrian and partner to my mount.

For me, " I " wanted to be better but did not care about ribbons.
If I wanted ribbons I could order them from a distributor and cover my walls in them...
I wanted knowledge and ability to be better for me but more for my horses sake.
Different mindset for different people.

I hope you can find the "fun" in showing again....
This activity is far to expensive to not be happy when participating in it.;)
I wish you well in searching for and regaining the happy..
馃惔...
Thanks so much. I appreciate your advice. Let's keep in touch.
Another vote for change of mindset. I show reined cowhorse. It is a COMPETITIVE discipline. I show lower level and are up against high dollar horses with my bargain basement clearance horses (LOL) and much better riders than I am. I started out with a GASP 1/2 Arab! That was NOT professionally trained! 馃う鈥嶁檧锔 For years I was depressed about not being up in the placings. I decided to change my mindset.

As @horselovinguy says, I concentrated on bettering myself and my horse. I rode to better my score from the prior show. I cheered on my competition. I sat with my competitors in the stand and had fun talking and hanging out with them and all of us encouraging each other. Rather than concentrate on my placings, by changing my mindset I ended up having lots of fun AND improving. The first time I won $$ I argued with the show secretary that they must have miscalculated the points. 馃槣

In your situation, I also agree with @ClearDonkey - try something new. Challenge yourself & your horse. Don't look at where you end up ... concentrate on the journey and enjoying yourself and your horse. Get out and do more things; there are tons of different things to try!
Thanks so much. Yes I can relate. When my parents were alive I had the best too. But I was fortunate to buy a horse that a friend of mine had and he got tired of showing so I was able to work my behind off and he gave me a year to pay for him. He's one of the best in the industry, but my trainer I've known for years and he has a customer that has more Money than God, as they say. Luckily my trainer is good enough to not put me in the same classes as them, although my horse has beaten them several times. But it's not about winning or losing, it's about the privilege of having the opportunity to do this
Thanks so much. I'm 65 and life is too short to not enjoy what we do. I keep my horse 3 to 4 hours away in training so I'm going to get busy getting in shape and going to practice. Thanks so much. U don't know how much it means to me to chat with others horse nuts.
 

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I'm 65 and life is too short to not enjoy what we do.
Exactly! It is definitely a privilege to be able to enjoy our horses - how ever we choose to do it. I am 63; I've had the last two years off due to family obligations & horse health issues, but am ready to get back working to hit the show pen this year, although I know it'll be a rocky year, LOL. Now, if only the weather will cooperate. :LOL:
 

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I've been very blessed with owning great horses and have almost all the time won. Been 40 years. I've won so much that I'm not enjoying showing anymore unless I win the blue. I hate I've got this way and it's taken the fun out of showing . I understand that it's not about the winning but the privilege to show and the getting dressed and participating. As Show Season apparel logo says, it's not about the conclusion it's about the getting there. Please if others have ever felt like this Please, please give me some words of wisdom.. I have a WGC multiple time horse. I need to hear that it is no shame in getting 2nd. I want to keep showing but I need to get my prospective straight! There are far more people showing horses that sometimes don't win a blue ribbon but couple times a year and they keep going back weekend after weekend. Please please help, please. Thanks
Even the highest ranked horse or the most winning-est rider will FAIL. That is absolute.
If you can't handle it when you FAIL, then you do need to re-evaluate your involvement with horses.
This could also be applied to any sport, not just horses. If an professional NFL football player can't handle it when their team loses, well, they are going to have looooooong unenjoyable career.

So, you've got to figure out what you need to do to change your mindset. Because you are right, it's not fun at all when you let your mind drag you down that hole.

Find some good mentors to listen to. Even starting with podcasts for example. I like listening to Phil Haugen. Topics vary from week to week but lots on MINDSET.
Being a barrel racer, I also listen a lot to Between The Reins. There's up and downs to training and competing. And if you can't handle the downs, you better figure it out!

Do I like winning first place as much as the next person? You bet.
However, I also do it because it's enjoyable. I'm having fun, with my horses. And anytime I find myself getting into that "down" frame of mind when things do not go well, I remind myself that I do indeed ENJOY my horses and I am so lucky to be able to have them. It's an effort to keep the positive mentality to have a positive mentality.
 

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Maybe an off-the-wall idea, but given all your success and accomplishments, are you at a point where you're interested in "giving back," by joining a show organizing committee, the board of directors for a local horsepark, or breed organization? Or sponsoring/mentoring some juniors who have the drive that reminds you of yourself, but not the means to compete at the higher levels. Every show venue and breed organization I know needs good, experienced volunteers of all types. Maybe you'd get some fulfillment in setting up others to succeed?
 

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I have taken a long break from showing, mostly because I didn鈥檛 have the talent under me, and also because I was raising children. Now, I could have still shown if I wanted to, but I tend towards the mentality of showing to win. It鈥檚 how I was raised. 鈥淚 will only take you to every one of them if you win every one of them.鈥 So I did, but the caliber of horse I had was different.

I鈥檝e been happy not showing, and taking these particular horses to their best. Yet, I decided to show this year, at smaller venues, with a filly I don鈥檛 know if will win or not, she doesn鈥檛 have the time on her for jr horse really.

This is what I learned being away from it all. There is such a privilege itself to be in that environment. The people are a privilege and the horses are a privilege. You aren鈥檛 always going to have that level of talent in every horse, but you probably can show a horse to the best of its ability, and there is something to be said for that. Enjoy the experience! Enjoy working towards a goal! Enjoy the people and the food and the relationship with your horse!

If the scene isn鈥檛 something you can find joy in for its own sake, then do something else. Take a break. I have ridden mostly for work for the last twelve years that I haven鈥檛 really shown, and there is a lot of joy in that too for me. I will look at coming back into that scene as a hobby, a place to socialize with people who are like me, and a fun goal to reach.
 
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