Every year when I leave a summer horse show, coated in 15 layers of sweat and filth, rubbed raw in places that shouldn’t ever be, I think “omg, why did I do that? That was miserable.” and then the next year I do it again anyway.
Horse people, we are gluttons for punishment.
I feel a little bit like a walking piece of beef jerky today. I drank 12 bottles of water in less than 24 hours (and was asleep for 8 of those hours) but I still basically attached my mouth to the hose after XC and chugged. Then stopped on the way home for a Powerade and chugged that too. I have to give the show management many props for how they organized the ride times this year, though. My dressage was late on Saturday evening, and we were done with stadium and XC before 9am on Sunday. The riding parts were the most pleasant.
The show recap will have to wait until tomorrow though, mostly because I need to organize myself a bit more before I tackle that. Spoiler alert: we won.
But I have to be honest, it didn’t really feel like a very deserving win. I made some mistakes and had some bleh moments and picked up my ribbon mostly just feeling like I’d ended up on the lucky end of things that day. A friend of mine said that I was the most self-deprecating person she knew, a comment that I kept mulling over as I packed my things and started driving home. I fell into a cycle of glancing at the ribbon on the dash, mulling over my rounds in my head, and then thinking about her observation.
Finally I got tired of myself and starting flipping through radio stations, trying to find literally anything without static until I could get enough signal to turn on Spotify. Quite serendipitously, as I was pushing that Seek button over and over and over, one sentence came through loud and clear out of the static – “There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy”. Not sure if you’ve ever spent much time driving through Texas, but the stations we unfailingly have the most coverage for are the Christian stations, and that’s what this was. The signal quickly faded away to static again as I went down the hill, but I found myself pausing for a second on that particular lyric.
That was really the perfect way to phrase what I was doing to myself… stealing my own joy. We won our first HT ever (pretty sure? I think our other wins have been in derbies and CT’s.) at a level that at one time seemed like my own personal version of Rolex, and here I was, stuck on a couple of fences that I rode sloppily. My friend’s observation was spot on – I AM super self-deprecating. I couldn’t even give myself one friggin day to just enjoy the fact that we finally came out on top before I started analyzing and tearing apart every single mistake.
I decided, in that moment, to just stop it. I turned my brain off, got just enough signal to open Spotify, and selected my “Horse Show” playlist… something I made a couple years ago to play when Bobby and I were driving to shows together. It’s a ridiculous mixture of really random songs, but they feel celebratory to me. I cranked that shit the whole rest of the way home and set everything else aside.
So, tomorrow we’ll tear this thing apart and talk about what went right and what didn’t and what we need to work on. There are always plenty of those things. But for today I’m just gonna shove a bunch of cookies into my fantastic horse and appreciate the awesome journey that he’s taken me on.