Don't be afraid to grow. Even flowers need a little dirt to blossom.
Show Season is upon us. In fact, some riders have already begun their showing season within these few weeks of March. But why do riders show? Obviously, both equestrians and their equines earn prizes, points, or some other reward for their hard work. But what about those who don’t win? What about the equestrians who had a bad run, knocked down the a barrel, got bucked off of their horse, or were so nervous they got sick? The answer:
Live, Laugh, Learn, and Love Your Horse.
Because showing is so much more than the ribbons.
I hope our ambassadors can help encourage you all to enter the show season with determination, optimism, and confidence with your equine partner.
Anna (sponsored rider):
"I have never been a top placer & my most common ribbon is participation. This does not destroy my will to compete. I am grateful after every show that I am blessed to have a trusty steed & great supporters. We too often take for granted what we have & the horses we ride. If my horse & I only receive a participation ribbon or fifth place, that's okay. It means I flawed in her training & that we have more work to do. It does not mean I'm a horrible rider or that she's a bad horse. Competing is a growing opportunity. Take every show as a place to prove your horse & yourself to you. Don't worry about everyone else in the ring, they're part of their own team as horse & rider, handler & goat, etc. Don't be afraid to grow. Even flowers need a little dirt to blossom."
"My first show was a disaster, I ended up making myself sick because I was so nervous and stressed out. It completely ruined the whole experience. My second show went much better. I stayed calm and was able to enjoy it. I learned to have confidence in myself. I also learned that winning isn't everything. I didn't place in any of my classes but I had a lot of fun. Not placing doesn't mean you should give up and stop showing, it means you need to work harder. Put in more time and effort until you fix the problem or even just the little details. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're stuck. Whatever you do, never give up."
"Stay confident. Nothing will ever goes as you plan. Your horse may not have a perfect first barrel or a transition, but if you have your mind set on perfection and how you want everything to go, if something happens you may not know how to stay confident. I've learned how to keep my head up, keep pushing, and to not sweat the small stuff. In the end you won't remember the tiny mistakes so don't focus on them now!"
"It's more than just a love for animals, it's a love for people and everything that goes with the animals. Having the privilege to show animals has taught me that there will be times when you don't want to do something but you have to do it, because you have to put your animals first. By owning an animal and showing livestock, you have to be willing to give every person and every animal a chance. Showing is more than ribbons and winning, showing is the blood, sweat, and tears behind the trophy. Showing has taught me howto leave everything in the ring and walk away with your head up, no matter what happens. It has taught me to love with my whole heart."
"Always appreciate what you get. It isn't always about winning. Be kind to your competition and just have fun. And... don't fall off... just kidding!"
"I have learned to appreciate my horse no matter the outcome. I have learned that some days you don't do so well and that's okay. I have learned my horse’s individual needs when warming up for a show. I learned how to deal with my horse’s unique behaviors in different environments,and how to control him when he spooks. I also learned how to tack my horse up in record time due to a time crunch... and I learned how to lose... lots of times."
"I've learned a lot over the years and the most important thing I've learned is to always enjoy your ride. No matter how bad it was, give your horse a big pat and enjoy yourself. You never know who's watching and there just might be a little girl out there choosing you as her inspiration. There will always be someone looking up to you, so give them something to look up to. Horsemanship is key and always appreciate your horse's effort; never take them for granted. You may wake up one day and lose them, so be grateful for what you have. In my last year as a youth, I put my horse down less than two weeks before the biggest show of the year. That experience taught me a lot and luckily I was able to find a teammate to finish my youth year with. When the show-day arrived, the horse I had borrowed was a handful! He would become frustrated when I didn't let him run as he pleased. But as much of a challenge as he was, I was smiling the entire time. Not once did I get angry, and I had many trainers and riders congratulating me; sadly, there were other riders hitting and yelling at their horses. Some were snapping their reins and ripping on their mouth because they didn't win. Just because the horse did not do what the rider asked never makes aggression right or fair to the horse, ever. The trainers would continue to tell me I was the only person who actually had a reason to be a little more aggressive with my horse because he seemed to completely disregard me. However, no matter what our time was or how ridiculous we looked, I just laughed and smiled. I enjoyed myself and that's what really matters."
"My horse has taught me a lot about patience and understanding. It's so easy to forget that they have flight instincts, so when he gets nervous, I get upset with him. Afterwards I feel ashamed and end up remembering that they're not like humans at all; their first thoughts are to run away from the danger. Take time to understand your horse on the ground first, then under saddle!"
Competing with your animals is never about winning. Whether you are a seasoned competitor or a newbie, remember:
"Showing is more than ribbons and winning, showing is the blood, sweat, and tears behind the trophy... It has taught me to love with my whole heart."
The K and T Team