How Do We Define/Measure Success?

At every show, I am asked “How did it go?” I usually give a general answer.  Why? Because that is a loaded question that covers so much ground. I started to title this blog: what’s in a score?  In many instances, when you are asked, “How was your ride?” The real question being asked is, “What was your score?” 

This is valid.  Showing is a way to publicly test your and your horse’s abilities. You get your 5 minutes or so in front of a judge who will let you know via a written test how you are performing on a scale from 1-10 on the same movements/tests as everyone else showing at that level.  So much goes into deciding what show to attend, what class to enter.  This was relatively easy to do at the National levels Training-4th.     It has gotten more difficult at the FEI Levels.

I have never been a good showman.  I have nerves, I have self-doubt.  I think this is perfectly normal.  I don’t go out to show and plan to fail.  What is failure anyway?  The idea that someone is putting themselves out there to be judged is already doing more than many.  I feel so fortunate to be able to ride at this level.  I’m striving to always be better, more consistent, to do those around me proud.  This too brings its own demons.

I attended the Houston Dressage Society’s Winter Show this past weekend.  At home the changes are good.  The trot work has cadence etc…  So, what happened in the ring?  Well, this time around it was way better at least on Saturday.  What has happened in the past is that I win the warmup, and we are has-beens in the show arena.  Winterfair was up in the bridle, not bracing and stayed with me on all the diagonals.  What was missing among other things was her ability to sit and take weight behind.

Sunday was a different story but there is so much more to this than the scores I received.  So many people were there who said kind words to me both about the tests (which were imperfect), about my horse, and about my abilities.  There are many people in Region 9 who have watched us over the past 13 years and—unknown to me—were silent supporters. 

The tests were far from perfect.  That being said, both judges used the full range of scores and for that I am grateful.  Some were good scores some not so good.  I am very proud of the good and will learn from the others.  I summited the mountain—at least for now.  There is always another to climb. 

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