Sunday, September 18, 2011

the agony of defeat

17/9.2011 - first horse show

i grew up showing horses and ever since we got matilde, i've been hoping that sabin would want to show as well. she's having a private lesson on matilde once a week and is also part of a group lesson once a week, so she felt ready this weekend when her riding club hosted a show.

she normally rides in the indoor arena, so she got very nervous when she found out that she'd have to show outdoors. her nervousness grew when we saw that the arena was shortened down for the ponies using some of the jumps as a barrier. matilde LOVES to jump and when she sees jumps, she gets a bit hyper. top this off with the judge sitting in a black SUV down at the end of the arena, where there are normally no cars parked and the fact that she had no chance to take a walk around the arena to show matilde the perimeter and a severe case of the nerves set in. for both horse and rider. suffice it to say it wasn't an ideal first horse show experience and there were tears. pretty much all around.

and while i would have done just about anything to make sure her first experience was a good one, we do learn from everything that happens to us. and perhaps even more so from the bad experiences. and it could have been much worse - she didn't fall off, she just felt so nervous that she transmitted that to the horse (which is a learning experience as well) and went off pattern in her worry that she wasn't going to be able to prevent matilde from jumping the jumps they had used as the barrier (which thankfully matilde didn't do, tho' it looked for a minute like she was going to).

happily, late in the day, she wanted to saddle up and ride again with a friend (after declaring immediately after her class that she would never try to show again) and so we ended the day on a good note with her horse. today, one of the big girls from the riding school showed matilde in two jumping classes and got first in one and third place in the other - so sabin could feel proud of her horse and know that it was possible to show her successfully.

it's heart-breaking at times to be a parent. and i think that today we're especially protective of our children - trying to make everything easy for them and sheltering them from as much adversity as we can. i felt so terrible for sabin that it didn't go well on her first try in the show ring. i didn't necessarily expect her to win, but i thought she was ready. she had practiced her pattern dozens of times and knew it by heart. but we hadn't practiced outdoors - mostly since it's been raining pretty much steadily for at least the past two weeks. and when you're relying on an animal that has a mind of its own, you simply can't control everything. it was a hard lesson to learn, but i am sure she'll recover from it.  and maybe even be stronger for it. and perhaps i will be too.


Karen said...

words of wisdom!...

they really do have to learn by trial and error. We can't teach them all there is, and yes that is a painful fact I am learning as well.

PS.. I was always too nervous in the show ring, just not cut out for competition, not sure why but I accepted it and moved on, and now enjoy leisure riding much more. Wow that's a run-on sentence if ever there was one :-)

Congratulations to your daughter for moving ahead and seeing her horse do well at the end of the day.

celkalee said...

Sabin is so well seated in this photo, you would think all the nerves were behaving for her and horse. We all learn by our own experiences, but I understand, you actually feel their pain, disappointment and misgivings. A cuddle and a conversation will help. As long as you talk and share, that is the lesson she will learn. When the really big problems come up, she will come, cuddle and talk.

will said...

Blame the low marks on those damn Russian judges!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Sabin looks beautiful on her horse.

My nieces show horses and I know exactly what you're feeling because I've heard it from my sisters before. It's tough, but I'm glad Sabin was back up and riding by the end of the day :-)

Cheers, jj

spudballoo said...

oh this was a heartbreaking read, my heart was in my mouth from start to finish. Well I think Sabin looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL on M, they wear each other well don't you think? It's very bad luck to have had a difficult first show, but don't blame thought she was ready and she was ready, but then all the goalposts moved which you couldn't have known and that's just how life goes.

Great that she got back on later and that M did well later on, hopefully that will have given Sabin a boost. She did great, she got herself and M ready for a show, she got out there and stayed on, didn't refuse to do it or give up because it was too scary. I think it shows huge bravery and commitment x

This parenting lark gets more difficult as they get older, I agree. We're a little behind you but I really fear Bertie's first 'failure'. He's horribly competitive and doesn't deal with losing at all well, but he's going to have to learn to do so. In the meantime I try to expose him to 'failure' whilst desperately trying to protect him from it all at the same time!

Well done Sabin. Have a 'you're so totally brave and you and M look ROCKING' rosette from me. xx