Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pet Peeves at the Region 5 All Arabian Horse Championships

Having just returned from the Region 5 All Arabian Horse Championships, I thought I'd be writing posts about the happenings at one regional show or the other. Instead I find myself filled stuck on my pet peeves of the previous week.

I am so tired of all of the "I can't"s and the "politics" excuses for lack of success in the show ring and the industry. I know I've ranted on this subject before but blaming the industry for one's lack of success is not only futile but destructive to the industry as well.

I can't even tell you how many times in three days I heard people complain their ride was perfect but the didn't do better because of politics. While that may have been their perspective, it certainly wasn't mine.

Watching classes with the same critical eye that I ride my own, I saw plenty of flawed rides and very few amazing ones. Because the imperfect ones were so prevalent those amazing ones jumped right out and pretty much grabbed everyone around.

I saw an amateur rider who trains her own horse WIN the open show hack class. And YES there were other horses in the class.........plenty of them.
The amateur's horse was a beautiful free moving wonder. No other horse in the class came close to that picture of grace and harmony we all strive for yet many never attain. It was amazing to watch.You can bet this woman put her time in and examined each and every one of her rides to attain such a milestone with her horse.

According to many a feat such as this just could never happen in the Arabian industry. Yet it did. The amateur with no political connections beat all of the seasoned, politically connected trainers out there.........and beat them soundly.

This is NOT the first time, nor will it be the last, I have seen such a thing happen. Yet I heard all of those complaints about political judges and "I can't compete with that" excuses. Which is exactly what they are, excuses for not achieving.

Instead of taking responsibility for one's own short comings, placing the blame on others.......and in this case, the industry. It's a wonder that anyone participates at all with all of the negative crap that flies around at some shows.

That's not my only pet peeve from this horse show. The second one was equally as frustrating. Why can we, humans, not give others the room to live life on their own terms instead of ours? What makes us think we know more about what is better for someone than they do?

The whole concept of believing that we some how understand life better than the other guy is indeed a fatal flaw of mankind. It rears its ugly head and wallops many a relationship right smack up against the head blowing it all to bits.

In terms more specific to me there is nothing more infuriating than others deciding how many horses I should own. Granted I have a real herd. I have always dreamed of owning a herd of Arabian horses like this and I couldn't be happier. What makes them think it is any of their business how many I own or if I am breeding or selling horses?

What matters is how I am caring for those horses and that I am making responsible breeding decisions. I'm pretty sure the same people don't go up to a Harold or Dolly Orr or a Roger Lervick and ask them such questions. So what makes them think they have the right to do so with me? If you figure it out, let me know. In the meantime, I think I'll work on my breeding plan for next year.

I don't know if it was the moon, something in the food at the exhibitor's party or the heat but this horse show seemed to have more than it's fair share of naysayers. I'm really glad to be home so I can get back to the business of pursuing this dream of mine.

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  1. Video...the folks who insist they had a flawless ride need a video. For the longest time my daughter competed without the aid of seeing a video of herself ride. After she did see the video she was blindsided, she was so mad (at herself)it took her at least a week to process the difference between her own imagination of how she looked vs. reality.
    If people put as much effort into assessing their own performance as they spent picking appart other's performance they would see the balance. Same goes for their lives vs. others...
    "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all (Thumper, quoted from Bambi)".

  2. What a well spoken post! I agree, and feel the same regarding both issues, but especially the first one. As an Amateur exhibitor, I am constantly overhearing people talk about politics and making excuses for why they didn't win. You know, I don't win a lot of the time, but if I have a great ride, I almost always ride away smiling. I've also won big classes against big name trainers, nobody could have blamed my wins on politics because I'm a no name, and most people have no idea who I am in the Morgan world. Regardless, it is annoying and I really like how you put it.

  3. I know someone who always blames the judges when she doesn't win. I think the reality is that each of us have a different conglomeration of knowledge when it comes to what is considered desirable in the show ring, including the judges. For instance, my equitation instructor has been training Arabian horse owners to show his entire life. He taught me a lot that I would have otherwise never noticed, subtleties of how to ride and how to control your horse. However, I also know that his knowledge set may be a bit outdated. You almost have to train under as many trainers as possible and talk to as many judges as possible to learn as much as possible. Those who think they have flawless rides do have flawless rides within their knowledge set. However, if the judge of someone else observing has a broader knowledge set, the ride is not perceived as flawless. I love judges who take the time to give tips to riders who didn't win. I find they are more willing to work with children, who still have open minds. If adults who show are more receptive and grateful for advice, the judges might be more willing to work with them too.

  4. Because I'm known for diagreeing with those that play the political game and think that it will hurt the horse or the person if they don't play it....

    All I will say is....


  5. I've been involved in many different kinds of competition where judges have the subjective means to decide a winner, and every single one of them has a political component, I think that's just part of the way the human brain works. Perhaps we too are herd animals.

  6. Great post! I'm no expert, but what bothered me and my husband on Saturday was the imperfect rides/riders/horses that were winning! One man in particular seemed to be so well-known that he won even though his horses didn't always stay in control or even do the gates called for.

    I thought Rhet did great! I loved how he floated on his toes at the trot! He was very well-behaved compared to some in his class, IMO.

  7. BTW, I have video of Rhet, but don't know if it's OK to post it to You Tube.