Showing horses is not just fun – it offers more opportunities than any sport I know of to build character. For one thing, I cannot think of a sport more humbling than showing horses. You can have a great ride and feel on top of the world as you win or hear your name called out. And the very next step, your horse can spook and toss you like a bad chip.
Or, as happens to the majority here in Columbus, Ohio, you show all year at home winning with ease preparing for this one big horse show called the Congress. You diligently practice, doing your homework, preparing for this one big event. Then, when the day arrives, you and your horse perform flawlessly, doing everything exactly as you practiced – yet you do not make the split.
It can just as easily work the other way and you are joyfully riding into the finals. And by the grace of God, you are the last one standing in the arena leaving with the neck wreathe, the trophy and the winning title.
Regardless of the outcome, champions are nothing but former losers who did not give up. No one gets to the winners circle by throwing in the towel. No, winners keep dusting off their boots, getting back in the saddle and listen to what the results are telling them. They analyze the outcome, study the winners and go home excited to work on being better next time.
The sport of showing horses offers everyone who participates an opportunity for growth. There is nothing that involves horses that is not good for the soul. Horses require people to work hard to accomplish their goals – even the care of the animal takes diligence, discipline and dedication. Just cleaning stalls is good for the soul.
If you are lucky enough to work with horses in any capacity, then you already understand they are a great means to building good relationships. Through horses, people who would otherwise never be friends, bond together because they share this common interest. It connects people in a way that is immediate, genuine, intense and lasting. Horse people become family – they are there to help you when you are down, ready to cheer for you when you win and come together in times of crisis.
Horses represent all that is meaningful and worthy in life. In and out of the show ring, horses ground us and build the character necessary to succeed in any field. They make us stronger, tougher yet more empathetic and understanding. They encompass all that make this life good. Horses reward us in a way that makes us whole. So this year at the Congress, enjoy the ride – the whole ride – every moment of it.
Thank you Equine Chronicle for this winning picture. And thank you Kevin Dukes for the opportunity to show such a nice horse!