Monday, February 28, 2011


So, there is this noble thought that circles around us amateurs, we do the things we do because we love our ponies.  And, that, we compete for the love of the sport and the ability to be with our friends and our horses.  There are so many threads on various Bulletin Boards that validate these thoughts and, yet, poo poo the idea of lovin' polyester.

So, here's another little secret...  IT IS, KIND OF, ABOUT THE RIBBONS!

I carry no false nobility.  I love my horse and caring for her and grooming and cleaning stalls and paying astronomical amounts of money to keep her healthy and fit enough to live a very good life.  She has 22 hours each day to rest and rejuvenate from her hour or so under saddle.   To be sure that her body is feeling good, she has a masseuse, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist administering frequent care.

Eventing is like a good game of golf.  I train and practice to get better and better.  I want to win, not to beat YOU but to validate the work that I've put in.  And, at the end of the day, I judge for myself...  Did I have a good ride?  Did my dressage get better?  Was my jumping clean and rhythmic?  And did we rock and roll in our XC run?  If I finished the day learning something, having fun, still loving my lil' diva and thinking that jumping rocks, then it was, in fact, a great day!  A ribbon is an added bonus!

Used with permission from
Working hard and wanting to win is not shameful. It has no less dignity than loving the sport, loving my horse and wanting to be the best horseman I can be.

I once won a ribbon (8th Place) for a day that involved a stiff, spooky dressage test, a perfectly wonderful stadium jumping course and a XC run that included 2 stops at a "scary" yellow bench (jump).  It did not make me happy to have that piece of brown polyester and I was not proud...  our (my) performance was shabby to say the least.  The ribbon did not change that ride.

Yet, the USEA just "reminded" us that we may have qualified for a Medal. I was immediately excited and checked. Yep, they were right, Sugar and I qualified for a Silver Medal at Novice. Still excited, I await my prize.

2010 was just that good!!


Katherine Erickson said...

I think your point of view actually exemplifies all the best thing about NOT riding for ribbons alone. When I think of someone who is just chasing ribbons, I imagine a person for whom the welfare of the horse or the quality of performance is less important than coming home from the weekend with a rosette on the dashboard. Your commitment to having a good ride first, with ribbons as a happy bonus, is what I think all that BB griping about putting the horse over the placement is all about!

Suzanne said...

True Kate, very true! I get just a bit worked up when I see some of the long timers on COTH smirk at us who enjoy just a bit of color at the end of the day... Not the end game but a real nice bonus when well earned. Thanks for reading... now that I figured it out, I can't wait to catch up on your adventures!

eventer79 said...

I agree with KE -- I think you've agreed with many of us. Of course a ribbon is a nice bonus -- I TREASURE the few ribbons Solo and I have garnered because it happens soooo rarely. My favourite is actually a 7th place ribbon we won in an Adult Team competition in VA last fall -- that event was the first truly HUGE recognized event I had ever done, I was by myself, running around like a rabid chicken with a death grip on the edge of sanity. So bringing home that huge purple ribbon out of such a huge crowd and a crazy weekend felt REALLY good and I actually love that one more than the blue ribbon from a small local event!

But in the end, we rarely bring the colours home and I gain FAR more pleasure from the journey with Solo and that will always come first!