Sunday, June 14, 2009

Conrad Follow-up

I apologize for my post being so late tonight. I just got home from a weekend away.

I hope everyone enjoyed my posts on Conrad Schumacher. Now, a few months later, I find that this clinic has had a profound effect on my riding life. My trainer pointed out during my last lesson that I’d actually taken when I’d learned and utilized it in a productive way. My mare is no longer blowing through my half-halts. She’s actually listening more and sitting on her haunches rather than falling on her forehand and going faster.

Since I now have half-halts, suddenly everything is coming together. My mare is more forward, more obedient, and more willing. Thanks to good shoeing and better riding, she’s been sound for over a year. I’m pretty excited about that.

Regardless, I decided not to show her, at least not this year. Like many Americans, my limited expendable income is not well spent on $500-a-show entry fees, not to mention the other incidental expenses.

I’m wondering how many of you are feeling the pinch of the economy? How have you cut back? Have those expensive little ribbons become less important? Has your relationship with your horse become more important?

I’m enjoying my horse more than I ever have in the eleven years I’ve owned her. I miss the barn camaraderie at the shows, but I don’t miss the showing itself. I’m sure if I’d done better at it, I’d probably have a different opinion of its importance in my life.

Oddly enough, the shows in my area are still filling up. In some ways, I’m shocked, considering the economy. I suspect entrants are going without to pay those fees. As long as that happens, show fees will increase and no alternatives will be explored. Not to say that I’m indifferent to the problems that plague show organizers. Nor do I think they’re getting rich holding horse shows. Organizing horse shows has become a business. When I first started in dressage, everyone was a volunteer, no one was paid. Administrative costs were minimal. No more. Demands made by organizations for recordkeeping have made the costs go up and have required the hiring of show managers and secretaries.

Does all this mean I’ll never show again? Probably not. I find I’m more inclined to ride on a regular basis when I have something to work toward. Besides, I know my mare and I are vastly improved from a year ago when we last stepped foot in the show ring. So never say never, I may well be joining the ranks again next year.

Last Thursday several people at my barn were loading up trailers to head to a three-day show. To be honest, I didn’t wish I was going. In fact, I recently sold my camper, which means if I do show again, I’m back to staying in a hotel. It was my way of saying that I’m done doing this on a regular basis.

So stay tuned because heaven knows I could change my mind again. I’ll let you know.


mugwump said...

This is in tune with the song we're singing just one post ago.
I haven't shown this year and only showed three times last year.
I can't until I get some balance. And a raise.
But I love to show. I want to go back.

Jami Davenport said...

I think that's what led me to thinking of this for a post. Plus, all of my friends just got back from the first big show of the season around here.

FD said...

The main accommodations people around me are making are going to local unaffiliated shows in order to put miles on in a cheaper fashion and lorry / tack sharing more.

I've three acquaintances who are the same size more or less, and they just went shares in a top hat & tails for advanced tests. Couple of years ago that would have been 'ew'. Now it's just practical.

I know one lady who's let her 2 advanced event horses down for the summer now because she was made redundant and just can't afford to compete. Sent them out to grass livery.

Laura Crum said...

I don't miss showing. Which is lucky for me, because between the time and money demands of my family, I not only could not afford to show financially, I could never give the time to it that is needed. Its not just the actual showing, its the consistent practice...etc. No can do right now. So, yeah, I'm glad I'm not tempted.

Shanster said...

I wanted to hit 2 or 3 shows this year but won't. We had a dog with a medical issue that went to CSU and ouch was that a chunk o' money... figure my dog is more important than some ribbons so I guess I'll wait til next year!