Yesterday while perusing the entries for Texas Rose I was delighting in the fact that there are a couple folks in my division that have been to Rolex (welcome to Novice Horse!) and it’s 2/3 professionals. This makes me super happy because of a few reasons: 1) I’ve spent all spring caring a lot about who was in my division and worrying about beating them so I could get my AEC qualifiers. Since that’s done, now I don’t have to give a single crap who I’m riding against and it’s awesomely liberating. 2) I love low expectations. I’m totally the bottom of the barrel in the group, which is 100% fine by me. 3) I get to see firsthand how the pros warm up their young horses. I’m pretty excited for that, not gonna lie. 4) I have a built-in excuse for when they all beat me. I kid, I kid. 😉
Then I started thinking about this program that they used to have back when I did cyclocross. It was a race predictor website, and before each race it would factor in each competitor’s total points and previous performances/experience to sort out how it thought everyone would finish. I have no idea how the math worked but I loved this thing, because it almost always put me at the bottom of the pack. I got a lot of joy out of trying to prove it wrong. Granted, it was right a lot of the time, but sometimes I showed it a thing or two.
Can you imagine if such a program existed for horse shows and events? Obviously we already have rider and horse rankings as far as points earned or money won, from local level all the way up through the best in the world. But there’s no such thing (at least that I’ve ever seen) as a competition predictor that sorts people out beforehand and predicts a finish order. I can’t decide if it would be the best thing ever or the most humiliating thing ever. On one hand, I see it as a challenge, and nothing sets my competitive spirit on fire quite like a good challenge. On the other hand, if it ranked me high and I totally bombed, it’d be another layer of disappointment. Plus it seems like it probably wouldn’t encourage a spirit of good sportsmanship in the show community… it’s already competitive enough as it is.
What would you think if horse sports did this? All in good fun, or total embarrassment? Coming from a horse sports background into cyclocross, it completely floored me when I found out it existed, but I have to admit it never affected me negatively. Then again I never took cyclocross nearly as personally as I take the horse competitions. My good humor might not (let’s be honest, probably would not) extend to this side of the fence.