Taking Time Away from the Show Ring

Isn't life great when you are a youth and you go ride every day after school and hit up horse shows every other weekend and all you care about is that new showmanship outfit? Oh how I wish I could go back to the days when life was that simple. My parents provided such a wonderful youth show career for me; I got to travel the country, chase my dreams and have my life revolve 100% around horses. Next was college. I stayed in my hometown so I still showed, I still rode almost every day and I competed as a college equestrian. My life was a bit more busy and diverse; now I had to worry more about classes, a part time job and working towards Law School but horses and horse shows still mostly drove my life. 

Then came 2016. I graduated college, married to the love of my life, we bought a house, we moved an hour away from home and I started Law School. I was able to compete in one horse show in May before life just got too busy. This is the longest I have gone in my entire life without competing in a horse show. This is also the least regular riding I have ever done. It is a strange time in my life where goals and focus has completely changed from horses all the time to making sure I keep my head above water in Law School, dealing with the upkeep of a home and loving every minute of newlywed life. Charlie is spending his says of semi-retirement turned out and my dad rides him as a demo horse for teaching. Ella is at home pregnant with her first baby and enjoying the broodmare life. We sold the 2 and 3 year olds and several of my show clothes. The trailer is frozen in time waiting for another adventure.... whenever that may be. 

I am not going to lie; I love where my life is right now. Things are going great and I am truly happy. I knew this was coming all along; I knew that when I got married and started Law School, horses would move to the backburner. It was not a surprise and I was honestly looking forward to a bit of a break. But then reality starts to hit.... the stall reservations for my favorite show were due last week and it broke my heart to not be sending them in. Knowing that I will not be eating candy and showing my horse the last weekend in October at Fall Color Classic is really sad. Seeing all of my friends pictures from shows throughout the summer while sitting at home surrounded by casebooks makes me very homesick for a weekend spent in my horse trailer, eating junk food and getting no sleep all to get the thrill of being in that show arena with my best friend. 

I miss horses as the center of my life more than I thought I would. Only getting to ride Charlie every other weekend is rough. So many days I get done with school and all I want to do is go see my pony but he is an hour away and I have 100 pages to read that night. Seeing my facebook memories of heading off to another horse show almost every Friday makes me sad as I prepare for another weekend of learning the Law and trying to make sense of a new city. I would give anything to be loading up the trailer and heading off to a fairgrounds in the middle of nowhere right now. 

As much as I miss my old lifestyle, one thing keeps me going: when I finish Law School, horses and horse shows will still be there waiting for me. My English boots will still zip, Charlie can be tuned up and ready to show in no time, Ella can shed the baby weight and be back to loping like a boss and I know my horse show family will welcome me back with open arms. This is a part of me that I can always return to, no matter what else happens in the between now and then. Law School will come and go, we may move and we may have kids.... and no matter what I can always get back to the show ring. 

Time away is sad and hard and I miss being at horse shows more than I ever thought I would. Thankfully I still have Charlie and can ride when I fee the urge and have the time. I have not had to remove horses fully from my life and I am so thankful for that. But when I get back to a show for the first time in a long while, I know it will be all the sweeter for my time away. That first showmanship pattern will feel so good; it will be so worth the wait. Zipping up those black pig suede chaps will make me smile for the first time maybe ever. I will appreciate the opportunity to show horses just that much more and will enjoy the shows more for having spent some time away. I will hug my friends I have not seen in a while, triple check my patterns, polish the long unused show saddle and probably have some serious butterflies when I enter the ring that first time back.... but once I am there, I will be back on my stage, doing what I love with the most amazing animals as if no time has passed and that will be a moment worth waiting for. 

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