Each of us think we have the best horse. None of us are wrong. I adore my horses. Everyone one of my horses means the world to me. Each horse I have had in my life is treasured and loved. In my eyes they are all winners. Yes, in the past I have competed doing local dressage with some of my horses. This wasn’t about winning ribbons; it was to enjoy my horse and my horsemanship. However mostly competitions have held very little interest to me for many reasons:
- The Pressures of Conforming. This is the biggest one for me. As a maverick I do not conform. (Read for free my published article – Maverick). In any area of competitive equestrianism there will always be pressures to conform. There are methods and training ethos I struggle to align with. It is far easier to quietly walk a different path on your own than surround yourself with reminders and ridicule.
- Did My Horses Enjoy it? That’s a key question. Some horses adore going out and about. My Merlot loved it. Some of my other horses it is not their bag. So when you put at the heart of everything you do is about your horse having fun….maybe for some going out to shows may not be on the agenda.
- Expense. Yes getting out to even a local show can be expensive. The cost of transport is one. Entry fees. The equipment and attire for horse and human.
- Run up Preparation. Then there is the washing, plaiting, grooming, tack cleaning, loading all the kit you need in the lorry, etc…. Not all horses appreciate this attention and pampering. One of my horses Moss detested being bathed and preferred to be coated in a thick layer of mud like a bog monster.
- Appropriate Classes. These days there is more on offer. However if you are actively walking down a more natural approach with your horsemanship there are still few opportunities at local shows to compete. For example bitless dressage. And then there are the criteria of how things in the class will be assessed. Therefore bringing me back to my first point, the pressures of conforming to the mainstream.
So to my delight I have discovered on-line showing. Here there classes for everyone, from the traditional, to fun and themed. I have sponsored classes in celebration of a more natural approach with our horses. As without us being proactive in providing alternative opportunities to celebrate our beloved equines there would not be these classes to enter.
- So the pressure of conforming….well check out what is on offer and you will find classes that feel just right for you and your horse.
- It is all about enjoyment and fun. You pick the moment to record your entry, be it a photograph or video entry. This works for me as I am always taking photos of my horse. So each month when the new schedule is made available I have a bank of resources already to call upon for entries. Plus a whole month to think about capturing something special if I want to. So no pressure, for me I see it as a celebration of my horse. Every day I am presented with opportunities to capture what is special about my horse. And finally there are platforms to share this.
- For me there is no run up preparation. Unless my horse was having a good clean up anyway. Which as he is a skewbald that loves the dirt, he does need it removing from time to time. Although I could enter him into a Bog Monster class.
- And yes on-line you can compete bitless. The pressure of lack of opportunity to compete bitless in dressage has driven this on-line. Now there are many on-line websites you can compete bitless in dressage.
- Expense? It’s cheaper than going to a local show. For one there are no transport costs. Plus the classes are very competitively priced. It’s easy to enter.
- Fun. It is great fun looking at all the other entries in the class you have entered. You can check out who has won and the placings. If you win or get placed stunningly beautiful rosettes drop through your door.
- The trill of knowing the judge sees what you see in your beloved horse is wonderful. Even my equines that are in spirit have won ribbons with on-line showing.