Nadia and I have decided to enter a local winter series for Working Equitation that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. At first, I ummed and ahhed about it- she’s had the best part of two months off and I didn’t want to compromise her emotionally or physically by jumping into something too soon. After scanning what was required, though, and matching that up against the fact she’s feeling good, I’ve decided that we are up to task to give it a shot. So down our names have gone on the form and off we will trot at the beginning of May.
Filling out the entry form, I realized it’s been a good while since I’ve done anything with a competitive focus. Years even. For the last little while I’ve had pretty much young everything- young horses, young kids, a young business- and competition has fallen off my radar as not only something that was possible for me in those moments but if I’m truthful, not something that I’ve been all that interested in.
Growing up, competing was a massive part of my life. I don’t think I gave much thought to riding without there being a competitive element. It was just, well, what we did. We loved our horses, we trained, we rode and we competed. I didn’t think much beyond that.
But I felt it. I felt the competition in my bones. I loved it- but I felt the pressure.
Looking back, I’m not sure where the pressure came from. From myself, mostly. From the perfectionistic, people-pleasing streak that thrives when there are marks to be gained, boxes to be ticked, outcomes to achieve. I think, at the base of it, that’s what we are really wanting to win.
So, I’ve noticed… as I’ve dealt with myself. As I’ve looked myself in the eye far away from the competitive arena, I can come back different. I’m not interested in anybody’s boxes. The mark is neither here nor there. I understand now that the pressure is not inherent to the competition. It is not a given. The pressure lies solely and completely in my interpretation of what I’m there for.
And that truth is to enjoy my horse. And possibly also to wear that new jacket that’s been sitting in my wardrobe since last year.
Because why not.