I got asked the other day why I stopped showing for a while, so I figured it would be a good thing to chat about in a post.
Many of you know I grew up in the Hunter/Jumper world. I travelled up and down the east coast showing with one of the top hunter barns in the country for about 6 years. At the end of that, Sid got injured, and I left for school, and both of those things prevented us from doing much of anything for over two years.
When I got my horse back, my priorities had changed. I wasn't looking for ribbons - not to be vain, but quite frankly I had a lot and they just weren't super fulfilling. I was putting my horse through all sorts of crap just so we could jump highest and fastest for a blue ribbon? Or crank him into a certain position for a hunter round? It wasn't my cup of tea. So I spent my time in undergrad refining my horsemanship, showing in IHSA, and building my relationship with my horse. We competed in barrel racing and a bit of dressage - mostly just little outings to have some fun that we happened to do well at.
When I moved to Denver, Sid and I had effectively stopped showing entirely. One of my clients was interested in Cowboy Dressage, and I figured I would give it a shot. That was the best decision I've ever made. I found a discipline that rewards kindness to and partnership with your horse above how flashy his trot is, or how fast you can make him run. I found a group of people who genuinely want to see each other succeed and grow in their horsemanship. I found a home.
I realize not all other disciplines are bad or require poor horsemanship - but I really really love supporting and participating in a discipline that not only does not tolerate things like severe bits and BTV horses, but rewards things I find so important.
If any of y'all are interested in Cowboy Dressage, shoot me an email. I'd love to help you get started in your area.