By MELONIE KESSLER – What are the pros and cons of showing?
Pros of showing:
Aside from the obvious reasons for showing which are motivation to progress, getting a consensus of you and your horses’ abilities, and comparing yourself against your peers, I have, what is for me, the primary reason to show. I believe when you are active in the sport by competing, you actually embrace the discipline by becoming part of a tradition which has been passed down for centuries. Representing yourself and your work with your horse over the past months or years allows you to become part of the big picture. The horsemanship of the sport should be presented when you ride down the center line. Riding with harmony and oneness is why so many equestrians choose dressage as their discipline. To compete allows you to voice your opinion of training. By riding in the style which suits you and your horse, you can be an inspiration to others. With so much controversy about the rolkur, showing allows you to demonstrate proper basics without harsh methods; the way the sport was intended. So next time you enter the class, remember, you are a representative to not only the dressage community, but to horses, everywhere.
The cons of showing:
Riders can become caught up in the latest “trend.” As mentioned before, the rolkur is a good example of a riding style that has become very popular with not only many top trainers, but with many amateurs seeking short cuts from years of respectful training. Of course, competitors more interested in their own egos than the welfare of their horse can also be a concern. The bottom line is horsemanship. There tends to be a lack in knowledge whether it is in horse psychology or horse care from both the amateur and professional contingency. Education is the answer, and before anyone thinks about showing a horse, they first must learn about the horse.
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