December 19, 2017

Showing (or Not) in 2018

I've had one lesson with NK since my show season ended, and in that lesson she (nicely) made it clear that she had been intentionally not messing with the way we were going too much during the show season in order to not mess up our show season.

Photo by Paul Wood Photography
We hadn't discussed that, she just made that decision as an experienced trainer with a new student. 

It made me question my priorities though.  Why do I show?  What do I really want out of this?  I found myself wishing she had pointed out all the things she pointed out in that post-show season lesson much earlier, because I would have rather started fixing those things than scramble along scoring basically the same scores on the same tests we scored last year.

Photo by Paul Wood Photography

I'm here to learn, and to improve, and to maybe ride a flying change someday.  I love showing and am very competitive, but moving up the levels in Dressage is intoxicating in ways a ribbon can never be - which is why I've never registered for things like Regionals or All Breeds before.

So, I'm starting to think that I want to make next year more about learning and less about showing.  Maybe do the GMO schooling shows since they're 20 minutes from my house and under $100, but skip all the rated ones (except Pony Cup.  I will always do Pony Cup.)  Spend a year learning and then come back and do a full season in 2019.

Anyone else ever taken a mid-career break from showing?

10 comments:

  1. If you look at my centerline scores there's a couple big breaks. A couple are from Rico's and my own injuries but the last one on his record is when I changed trainers. The scores and levels speak for themselves- it was a really good choice to step back a season and learn more.

    I'd be annoyed a bit too. If I've got a new person who is showing I would also be hesitant to change too much but it's always communicated because it drives me nuts to pay for a lesson where a trainer is deliberately not giving me the best instruction they have to give. Hopefully going forward you guys are on the same page! Should a fun and productive year :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've only taken breaks from finances or other reasons but that's because I believe in using shows as a metric in fixing the rides.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's ok to show AND learn at the same time. Certainly I've been doing that all year, and my 2nd level rides have gotten so much better as the year progressed. Certainly if you're learning something totally new (ahem changes), it makes sense to take time off from showing until you really have it. That being said, if you're got to choose between showing and training, I'd pick training every time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am still in the middle of a break from showing - at least true eventing showing. Sometimes it makes sense to stay home and focus on the training, and save your dollars for lessons, but I am also the type of competitive that means I just get stressed out and can't focus around my nerves, so it's easier and less stress to just not do it at all until I'm confident again. I'd say the local shows sound like a great way to keep the competitive juices flowing and learn to apply new skills in a different environment from home while still letting you focus on training!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My whole life has basically been one long break from showing, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't understand the issue with showing and learning (as JenJ mentions above) except that sometimes things can get ugly while we're learning a new position, a new cue, etc.
    For the first time ever I have fully committed to a show season in 2018, but you better believe I expect my trainer to continue training me on things I need improvement on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I say show if it makes you happy. I've seen people ride at home in lessons for years and then finally go to a show at some upper level and miserably fail. There's so much more about showing that you can't learn by riding at home. I also don't see the problem with an ammy with a demanding job and an unconventional horse getting the scores you've gotten while moving up the levels. I think they are good scores that reflect your horse, ability, and current state of training and there are plenty of people out there who couldn't show half as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. On a side note, I think you should leave every lesson feeling like you've learned something, even if that lesson was hard. If I can't figure out what I learned, or if my trainer tears me down and forgets to build me back up, it's time for a new trainer. Dressage is hard, but it shouldn't be miserable, and I think people often quit dressage because they don't have positive trainers who take time to give their riders confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this, but ultimately I think a lot of it comes down to communication. Coaches have to make a lot of assumptions about the things we don't tell them. I probably overthink running that line between dragging in my baggage vs giving a trainer a blank slate, but it's something to be aware of. Some parts of training are ugly before they get show-ring ready.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've had 3 years away because I went from an elementary horse to an advanced level horse and felt like I didn't know how to ride anymore! I needed the time off to learn more and now (finally) I feel ready to go back to competing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've done this before. Well, didn't totally not show but kept things to a minimum. Called it a "development year." You better damn well show up at IDS shows and drink booze water tho! :) lol

    ReplyDelete

Showing (or Not) in 2018

I've had one lesson with NK since my show season ended, and in that lesson she (nicely) made it clear that she had been intentionally not messing with the way we were going too much during the show season in order to not mess up our show season.

Photo by Paul Wood Photography
We hadn't discussed that, she just made that decision as an experienced trainer with a new student. 

It made me question my priorities though.  Why do I show?  What do I really want out of this?  I found myself wishing she had pointed out all the things she pointed out in that post-show season lesson much earlier, because I would have rather started fixing those things than scramble along scoring basically the same scores on the same tests we scored last year.

Photo by Paul Wood Photography

I'm here to learn, and to improve, and to maybe ride a flying change someday.  I love showing and am very competitive, but moving up the levels in Dressage is intoxicating in ways a ribbon can never be - which is why I've never registered for things like Regionals or All Breeds before.

So, I'm starting to think that I want to make next year more about learning and less about showing.  Maybe do the GMO schooling shows since they're 20 minutes from my house and under $100, but skip all the rated ones (except Pony Cup.  I will always do Pony Cup.)  Spend a year learning and then come back and do a full season in 2019.

Anyone else ever taken a mid-career break from showing?

10 comments:

  1. If you look at my centerline scores there's a couple big breaks. A couple are from Rico's and my own injuries but the last one on his record is when I changed trainers. The scores and levels speak for themselves- it was a really good choice to step back a season and learn more.

    I'd be annoyed a bit too. If I've got a new person who is showing I would also be hesitant to change too much but it's always communicated because it drives me nuts to pay for a lesson where a trainer is deliberately not giving me the best instruction they have to give. Hopefully going forward you guys are on the same page! Should a fun and productive year :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've only taken breaks from finances or other reasons but that's because I believe in using shows as a metric in fixing the rides.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's ok to show AND learn at the same time. Certainly I've been doing that all year, and my 2nd level rides have gotten so much better as the year progressed. Certainly if you're learning something totally new (ahem changes), it makes sense to take time off from showing until you really have it. That being said, if you're got to choose between showing and training, I'd pick training every time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am still in the middle of a break from showing - at least true eventing showing. Sometimes it makes sense to stay home and focus on the training, and save your dollars for lessons, but I am also the type of competitive that means I just get stressed out and can't focus around my nerves, so it's easier and less stress to just not do it at all until I'm confident again. I'd say the local shows sound like a great way to keep the competitive juices flowing and learn to apply new skills in a different environment from home while still letting you focus on training!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My whole life has basically been one long break from showing, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't understand the issue with showing and learning (as JenJ mentions above) except that sometimes things can get ugly while we're learning a new position, a new cue, etc.
    For the first time ever I have fully committed to a show season in 2018, but you better believe I expect my trainer to continue training me on things I need improvement on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I say show if it makes you happy. I've seen people ride at home in lessons for years and then finally go to a show at some upper level and miserably fail. There's so much more about showing that you can't learn by riding at home. I also don't see the problem with an ammy with a demanding job and an unconventional horse getting the scores you've gotten while moving up the levels. I think they are good scores that reflect your horse, ability, and current state of training and there are plenty of people out there who couldn't show half as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. On a side note, I think you should leave every lesson feeling like you've learned something, even if that lesson was hard. If I can't figure out what I learned, or if my trainer tears me down and forgets to build me back up, it's time for a new trainer. Dressage is hard, but it shouldn't be miserable, and I think people often quit dressage because they don't have positive trainers who take time to give their riders confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this, but ultimately I think a lot of it comes down to communication. Coaches have to make a lot of assumptions about the things we don't tell them. I probably overthink running that line between dragging in my baggage vs giving a trainer a blank slate, but it's something to be aware of. Some parts of training are ugly before they get show-ring ready.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've had 3 years away because I went from an elementary horse to an advanced level horse and felt like I didn't know how to ride anymore! I needed the time off to learn more and now (finally) I feel ready to go back to competing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've done this before. Well, didn't totally not show but kept things to a minimum. Called it a "development year." You better damn well show up at IDS shows and drink booze water tho! :) lol

    ReplyDelete

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