BY PIPER KLEMM
I arrived at The Capital Challenge Horse Show this year fully ready for the best day ever. I mean, I had been working out like crazy and the goal of the North American League Adult Finals had kept me going all pandemic long. It kept me at my division when I wanted to drop back after no-riding spells. It kept Reuben pressing the sides of his belly into the Equibands waiting for my return. It kept our hustle and our minds on the future instead of the present.
But, then, the future became the present. I rose to the challenge the day before in the ticket ring. I rose to the challenge in the morning flat in the show ring. As I waited around all day to show, crippling nerves and anxiety set in. I borrowed a shadbelly from someone on my barn aisle—my first time ever wearing one.
After falling hard in the schooling ring (I saw one less than was actually there), I got rattled and lost the faith I needed to actually go in the ring. I wallowed most of the rest of the week out of pain, disappointment, and worry that I embarrassed my horse. My husband asked me if I needed a “Your Warm-Up is My Horse Show” t-shirt.
However the year has set you up, it has been so difficult to plan goals. And then to keep ourselves moving and motivated sans goals. And then to be able to do right on these goals with limited practice and preparation. It is now more than ever that we need to remember how our words matter. How we present situations, and treat people, and take care of them all matters. Luckily, I was able to work through some of my issues out of the saddle and how I set goals. Reuben is waiting for me to be out of quarantine to try to ride again.
On my way home, still wading in a bit of self-pity, I read Allie Rowland’s Zoetropes and the Politics of Humanhood. While this text is not for the layperson to read sans scratch pad with a place to make notes, I relished in the thoughtfulness and case studies and how lucky I am to be surrounded by those who care so much about my animals and me. How important it is to be surrounded by readers and people who recognize how much words matter. People who understand that their voice reverberates in my heart and my brain, and that I am fragile and unbreakable all at the same time. We have much to accomplish broadly in the world, and we can all start by being just a little bit better.
This issue has been a labor of love and a labor of so many people who have made The Plaid Horse a success for the last 17 years. Enjoy our wrap of the horse show year and see everyone in 2021!
Originally from the December 2020 issue.