Photo by Deanna Buschert
Dear “Those People” at Horse Shows,
You know who you are. It isn’t hard to pick you out from the crowds. I see you in the warm up pen. I see you in the bleachers. I see you at the trailers. I even run into you in the hotel lobbies from time to time. In the last few years that I’ve been around horse shows, I’ve become pretty good at picking you people out.
I see you, people who work full time and still make it to shows on weekends. You are worn out from a week of balancing responsibilities, yet you’ve still made time to ride and take care of your horses every day in preparation for this show. I see you sacrificing your hard-earned weekend to spend it on the road doing what you love while you secretly are jealous of the people who just get to do this for a living. I see you sacrificing your much-anticipated paychecks to feed bills, entry fees, and vet visits. I see you telling yourself that it will all be worth it, and I want you to know that it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you do is only a hobby just because it is what you do on the weekends. You’ve got more dedication and perseverance than you realize. Don’t forget it.
I see you, parents of show kids who dedicate your time, money, and weekends to making a dream come true for your children. I see you keeping track of class orders, wardrobes, and pieces of tack. I see you working as chauffeur, lunch maker, scorekeeper, and videographer. I see you exhausted from the ups and downs of the weekend and still making sure the horses are taken care of and the kids are all accounted for. I see how you want nothing more than for your kids to do well, but don’t forget about the memories you get to make with your children during this. It may seem tiresome and expensive now, but you will look back on these times someday and be so grateful for it. Your kids will thank you, too.
I see you, novice and amateur riders who are new to this whole thing and you feel like everyone knows it. I see you trying to navigate your way through the barns looking for wash racks and warm up arenas. I see you trying to figure it all out on your own, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will thank yourself for meeting people at shows, and you will be amazed at how it will pay off in the end through connections and friendships. Don’t let the intimidation of being a beginner keep you from having fun. Your journey is just beginning and you need to be soaking up and enjoying every second of it.
And I see you, show veterans. You’ve made a name for yourself in the industry and you are pretty much celebrities at shows. I see you sporting your show shirts covered in sponsorship patches. I see you tearing up the Open division on your expensive horses you bred and trained yourself. I also see everyone looking up to you. You are a role model for all of the young and amateur riders. How you handle yourself when you win – and when you lose – will make an impression on everyone who looks up to you. You set the standard for the industry, so the way you walk, talk, and how you treat your horses are important.
So to all of “Those People” at horse shows, keep doing what you’re doing.
The Ones Who Notice