By Ambassasor Laurel Hanna
My return to showing has not been easy. I feel like I get two steps ahead, and then 28 steps back. I knew it would be rough. I did. It’s not the same as when I was younger. It’s trying and tiring. I am so sore most days and often ask myself if it’s all worth all the work.
Of course, with anything horsey that’s when the miracle happens. Well, this year my miracle has not come in the form I expected. I expected blue ribbons and magical prizes. And hey, I’ve gotten a few and it’s been super. But not the miracle I’d expected. It’s been in the friendships I’ve made that I’ve found the miracle. This year, I was faced with some tough choices. I decided that I’d make my return to showing as minimally stressful as possible. That meant the long stirrup 2ft. division. It still gives me heart arrhythmias, but there are at least no oxers. Part of me felt like a failure. I know, I know. I should be happy to even be getting back out there. And I am. But it’s a hard thing.
I’ve been going to the shows for years (my trainer is also my friend) and to make my return in the “pony” ring seems like such a silly thing. But it’s not. It’s hard. To get out there and face all the fears and anxieties that come along with being an adult ammy. To learn to shut off my brain and allow my pony to do her job (and boy does she ever when I let her) goes against all my instincts to try to correct each ride. Amazingly I’ve discovered this year that I’m not the only one.
I’ve met a few others like me and discovered I am in fact, not the magical unicorn I thought I was. I’ve met a few ladies, older like myself, with kids and jobs and brittle bones, making their respective triumphant return to the show ring. It’s amazing. We have built each other up and supported each other all season. Found that showing with friends is just as much fun as it used to be! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made friends with some of the younger ladies in the division as well (shout out to the twins!!) It’s amazing to me the amount of support from every one I’ve received, from the trainers to show management, to make friends and relatives. But nothing quite beats having a tribe of your own, and I am thrilled that I’ve found mine again.