An Open Letter to “Those People” At Horse Shows

LBE pic 2

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.

Sincerely,

The Ones Who Notice

 

© Sinclaire Dobelbower 2016
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26 thoughts on “An Open Letter to “Those People” At Horse Shows

  1. Love this! I rode my horse to shows when I was young and tied her to a tree between classes. Mom would bring my stuff and drop it off (water buckets and brushes) then pick them up later in the day when I rode home. Learned what I needed to in 4-H. When I didn’t own a horse I’d just go to watch. Later in life joined clubs and volunteered at shows. It takes all kinds to put on a show, lots of time and effort. Sure do love the friends I’ve made.
    KZD, Grand Rapids, MI

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was unable to ride when young due to being in a train crash at 16yrs and injured spine leaving me disabled. But I have live my life of loving horses and riding through my two lovely daughters. Doing
    Pony Club and all the Shows etc . Now at the age of 75 yrs with my daughter’s one 50+ the other 40+ I follow them as they do the Shows in Western Riding with their beautiful AQHorses. The love lasts a lifetime…..

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  3. I don’t show horses, but with our show dogs ‘worth more than my car’, on a single Mom budget, with a daughter that also loves to compete, those precious show weekends matter so much. The every days spent training, conditioning, and living with our wonderful animals and all the dedication. It’s not just a hobby. It’s a passion, and our lives. Big dreams in dogs, and the every single days of rewards are what matter. And I’m so thankful to everyone in the sport that keeps things going. So we can have some of the best times of our lives.

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  4. Wow thank you! As a mom with a young lady that wants to do it all on her horse it does get very strenuous. Didn’t much think anyone noticed. I would just sit there and hope for the best. And when things didn’t go well the cheerleader the mom and the explanier on why. With that being said I’m new to the horse world as I sit I listen to everyone around me talk about why another child will do better and those kids who won’t which has been mine from time to time. I don’t get upset I listen and go from there. Thank you for the support!! It means alot.

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  5. I have been at all ends of this spectrum. I am 44 yrs old and spent 35 yrs of it showing every single weekend at multiple shows. I made friends all over the United States. I have shown the worst and the best. Won World Championships and lost small town shows. However through it all the struggle to keep financially going was real but I made it because showing horses was the one real true love of my life! I have not shown in 4 yrs and I think about it everyday, if I close my eyes I can smell my horse’s breath and the leather of my saddle. It’s worth it for the memories and eternal friendships. Showing definitely taught me perseverance and resilience that has followed me Into my daily life and job. Above all showing horses is something that I will keep posted in the back of my mind with a smile and even on the day I die I will never regret.

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    • Jennifer I too have shown horses all my life. I’m now 55 and over the last 10 years I have become disabled due to a freak accident in combination with having osteoporosis. This has been the biggest hole in my heart that is not being able to ride anymore. The one thing you and I have in common is that aroma of a horse . No one seems. To understand when I say I want to just go visit one of my old friends with horses so I can smell the smell of a good Ole dirty horse, shavings, dirty stalls all of it.. my now friends think I’m just crazy and don’t understand how I could possible think that the smell of horse poop is ok. I’m hoping to be invited to visit some old friends with horses so I can fill my heart up again! Thanks for your story, kim

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      • Awwww Kim I`m not sure where you live but I totally understand how you feel. Horses have been my life for years and that’s why I am starting a club for people like yourself, its called “The Barn Club” It will be a place for people to touch, smell and just watch the beauty of horses all in a beautiful controlled environment. I`m in southern New Jersey if your near your welcome to stop out. Best of luck and never let go ❤ Karen

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  6. Very well said. There are so many kinds of kinds at horse shows/rodeos/etc. We really are a great group of people and such a community!

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  7. I love this! It’s all so true — no matter where you are on the scale (from beginner to pro) we all make sacrifices to own and show horses. It’s not always easy, but it IS always worth it… though sometimes not in the ways we first expect.

    I’ll definitely be reading your blog from now on, and as a fellow ag comm major (The Ohio State University ’10), I’m really excited to follow your journey!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great letter! I don’t feel like I am as far as the look up to mark yet but I have been showing for over 20 years, and have trained my boy from birth, and he is 17..

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  9. To anyone who looked for a friend, I was there! Breed shows, pushing being a select rider, single and doing it on my own. ON A DIME budget, LOL! Paying my mortgage and trying to keep a 20 year old truck on the road to pull my trailer. One by one my horses got older, chronic illness or unsound. Now I long to go show, really don’t care if my old joints ache, long to ride, long to be out there on the same small budget doing my personal best, My Personal Best! To anyone who can it is all for what you love! All for your Personal Best! Forget all those people who have the expensive horses, saddles, trucks and trailers, go to work everyday, take your horse you love and make a memory!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. not been so true for me , Been showing horse since the 80s , until I got married I all ways had to eat lunch in my stall with my only friend my horse. even was in a 4H at camp had to eat with my horse . Was always nice to people around me , Wanted so bad to have friends

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  11. So true, I was a Mom. Breeding was my thing but my Daughter was into showing, riding and barrel racing. She gave it up in HS and regrets that today, now that she is 34 and no longer able to have horses. I got RA so bad I had to sell the farm, but the memories are still there! Enjoy it all, even going to work at the office with hay in your hair!

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  12. Would love to publish this is a monthly equine newsletter I send out! Holds such heavy truth on many different levels. Who is the author?

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  13. I just seen myself yrs agony with my horse Heavenly Pose and Vinnys Uno. I always looked up to you and others, most of all thank you for posting this letter.
    Beverly Graves
    Winning Colours Stall Curtains

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