The Non-Material Cost of Showing

The goal was to attend a horse show [A Huntering We Will Go] without warping our training schedule too badly [To Show Or To School, That Is My Question].

How did we do? Pretty good for a first attempt.

Week before show. 100%. No change. On Wednesday evening, Milton went to Stepping Stone Farm to lunge in the big ring and be ridden in the covered ring. Excellent work in both rings. Tired but proud-of-himself pony.

Friday. T-1 day. 50%. Without the show, we would have gone back to SSF for a repeat of Wednesday. With the show, we lunged at home and I trotted about mildly. If we could have worked in the morning, or if the show classes had been in the the afternoon, we might have taken him over anyway. As was, it didn’t seem fair to give him a heavy workout and then get back on 12 hours later.

Show Day. 0%. There will always be opportunity costs in showing rather than schooling. We could have had a lesson, or hacked outside the ring, or worked at home. The hope is the lost time will be replaced with valuable lessons from the show.

Sunday. T+1 day. 0%. Milton got the day off. Another sunk cost. Rodney had his turn at SSF.

Monday. T+2 days. 25%. Milton went for a handwalk to loosen up. By the time the designated long-liner got home from work, we were both done. Neither horse worked. We probably would have been perkier on Monday if we had spent more of Sunday recuperating rather than hauling Rodney about. The Bay Wonder is many things. Restful is not one of them.

As with taking time out to attend the show, there will always be a mental toll, that translates into time lost to recovery. As soon as local shows become NBD, it’s time to aim for bigger shows.

Week after show. 100%, in theory. Massive scheduling problems, but they had nothing to do with the show.

What about you, how do you planning showing & recovery time into your schedule? Pointers appreciated.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

3 thoughts on “The Non-Material Cost of Showing

  1. I don’t show, I just ride pretty much every day. It’s been such bad weather the last year that the chance of trail riding has often been shot to hell. My usual plan is 2-3 days of flat work, the rest trail. Sometimes I’ll do 15-20 minutes of flat work then do a 15 minute ride around the property, just to keep him guessing. I figure he stands around 23 hours a day, so giving me an hour or two of his time every day isn’t gonna kill him. I hear it’s actually good for them. 😉 He gets a “day off” when I’m tired, it’s too hot & humid to ride or I have too much other stuff on my plate. That works out to about one day off every tend days or so. We are currently stuck in a hot, humid pattern so yesterday I threw a bareback pad on him and noodled around in the cool(er) indoor. Apparently he’s never been ridden bareback, so that was a bit interesting. I guess that gives me something new to tinker with since it’s supposed to stay hot and sticky for the next week. I have three other horses at home, so when time and weather allow I alternate riding two of them, too. The third horse is my husband’s horse and I don’t ride him at all. I’ve watched several of the boarders at the barn pack up and go off to shows of various lengths and levels. I don’t feel the least bit left out or the slightest desire to invite that much work and stress into my life. It seems horses (well, pets in general) have become enough of a money pit without adding more things to the list that I have to do to and with them.

  2. The recovery time is as important to me as the show. I allow a day off following any off the property event. The physical side needs to rest, true. But I also need to digest it mentally. Not actively, just a background ponder.
    I need to get back in touch with my home routine. Not in a gotta-gotta way but in a passive let me settle in sort of way.
    Also true of the day before an off the property event.
    It all takes time and energy. It must be worth doing or we wouldn’t do it, would we?

  3. I love showing. Even as it makes me crazy. It’s probably unrealistically competitive and externally-motivated and a bunch of other non-zen things. I try to keep showing in perspective, but I’ll keep doing it as long as I have a horse to take in the ring.

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