...why I do this--Horse showing, that is.
Let's start with the obvious reason why I'm questioning what I want to do. Money. Horse showing is getting more and more expensive. Dressage was once a poor man's sport in this area that you could do on any old backyard horse. Now it's getting to be more and more of an elitist sport. With the cost of gas, entry fees, stabling fees, show fees, etc., the average amateur is being priced right out of the sport.
Then there's the huge amount of work it takes to get ready for 6 minutes in the show ring. I spent the majority of yesterday getting ready for a horse show next weekend. I pulled my trailer out of its parking spot wedged in between several fir trees. It's covered in green slime and moss. So far I've cleaned one side, which involves standing on a ladder and scrubbing it with a scrub brush and warm water, and I've loaded all my show stuff. Then I had to clean the camper and load it. Now all this work doesn't even involve the work needed to get the horse ready.
Today, I clip my mare and hop on to see if she's sound. That brings up the other reason why I wonder how much longer I want to do this.
Lately, I've been spending a lot of time and money on my beloved mare. I swear, every show season she decides to go lame. So I've been trying to find out what the problem is and if it can be rectified. The way that she's built behind gives you an incredibly smooth ride but isn't conducive to long-term soundness.
Her questionable soundess has been forced me do a lot of soul searching. How much longer do I really want to do this?
I'm not sure I can answer that right now, but this year will be my deciding year. I'm trying to get my writing career off the ground. Juggling that with working full-time and riding and showing a dressage horse is taxing to say the least.
Sometimes, I think that people get into showing to a point where they forget why they were attracted to horses in the first place. No is nothing more enjoyable to me than a relaxing ride through the woods on a sunny day, the sound of horses munching hay in their stalls in the evening, or watching a horse grazing in the pasture. It's the little things that make me love horses, not the ribbons or the scores.
And I do love this mare. I've had her since she was 3, and she's now 13. Dressage is hard on a horse's hind end. Gailey is an incredible mover, but she's developing the early stages of arthritis. I have no intention of showing her until she breaks down. All of her full siblings have broken down and are unrideable. She's the oldest and the smallest (at 17-1), and the only one still under saddle to my knowledge. I feel pretty good about that. Big horses have a tendency to break down sooner than smaller horses.
If she isn't sound enough to show, it doesn't matter. She will always have a home with me. I admit that I'm fortunate that I have a barn and three acres where she'll retire someday.
If and when that happens, I'll have to answer the question: Do I want to get another show horse or do I just want to enjoy horses for being horses?
So I've given you a lot of negatives as to why I'm questioning my decision to show, next time I post I'll cover the other side of the story and give all the reason why I do show.
Take care and have a lovely Father's Day