Horse Shows are a Big Bowl of Life Lessons

Photo © Evelyn Szczepanek / ES Equine Photography

BY DAPHNE THORNTON OF TWO BIT TRAINING

As horse trainers, we all see a lot of angst, drama, fear, and anxiety at horse shows. Sometimes, it’s not even ours. Kids and drama seem to be able to find each other in a crowd. When you add in horses, judging, and parents spending a ton of money… things can escalate quickly. Sometimes perspective is hard to achieve. 

I like to look at it this way—horse shows are nothing more than a great big bowl of life lessons. You can take a bite. You can eat the whole thing. Or, you can go hungry. 

What lessons can you learn at horse shows that apply elsewhere in life? Well, for starters, these:

Photo © Evelyn Szczepanek / ES Equine Photography

1. Very few people will know, or care, if you do well. Those few include your mother, your small handful of close friends, and your trainer. This is actually a good thing. All the people who you think are watching you actually aren’t. 

2. A small-ish number of people will actively hope you do not do well. As we say at Two Bit Training, “That’s fair. I can live with that.” And, most of them aren’t watching either. 

3. The rest of the world…Does. Not. Care. 

4. 80% of the work that is done in the world every day is done by people who are hot, cold, tired, or hungry. You will be hot, cold, tired, or hungry some days. Keep going as best you can. And if you need a break and can take one, do it. 

5. Pace yourself. Don’t overdo it. Save some energy for tomorrow or the next day. You don’t have to do everything today. Neither does your horse. 

6. Don’t do things you hate. If you are not enjoying yourself, there is no point. Find your joy. Find your pleasure. Find your challenge. Find your mountain and start climbing. You may not reach the top, but each small step upward brings you a better view of the world. 

7. Winning is great. But it’s not everything. It’s not even the top 5. Some things that are better than winning include; trying, learning, having fun, supporting others, laughing, double-stuff Oreos, friendships, happy tears, bruschetta, communal dinners, powerful fans, good footing, each other, and horses. And I’m not gonna lie…sometimes wine. 

8. It really does take a village.

Photo © Evelyn Szczepanek / ES Equine Photography

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