Ironically this show is the "Over the Hill" Show (at Northwest Saddle Club). The name comes from the fact that it is all riders 18 and over (yes in the horse world 18 is "over the hill"). But for me I find the name much more meaningful, for me completing this show means I have truly gotten "over the hill" of my own fears (maybe they should be calling it the over the mountain show in my case *smile*) and am really part of the show world.
A year ago I sat and watched the Over the Hill Show, my riding coach Etta was showing and I went to see what this was all about. It was one of the first horse shows I had ever been to. I had ZERO interest in ever showing, but figured watching people of the caliber who show ride would help me as a rider. I went with my best friend Kaye, who now finds great humor in my metamorphosis. Through the whole show I vowed I would never show, (something might have been said about hell freezing over), I was very confused by the "dance" done in Showmanship (believe my words were "why wont they just stand still already, how annoying"), I was turned off by the show clothing in Western classes (rhinestones and I are slowly making friends) and I just couldn't see the point in it all. As I said, the road from watching this show a year ago to riding in it this year definitely went "over the hill".
Getting to this show on July 28th also meant climbing the hill of my own weight issues. Around the time I saw this show last year my lease on Cheyenne was falling apart because of her owners issues with my size and as a result I was incredibly self conscious of my weight and whether it meant I would be able to ride or not. And in all honesty the show only made it worse. I was sitting next to someone who obviously had very strong views on who should ride and who shouldn't, they spent their time making fun of the larger riders and saying how sorry they felt for their horses.
Needless to say that stayed with me. The thought of someone watching me ride and saying that has never left my mind. It was another mountain in my path. But a mountain I have mostly conquered. I have grown a lot in a year, I have learned (through the wisdom of my riding coach) that it isn't about being too big to ride, it is about having the right size horse and I do. Joker is built for me to ride, he's a big strong horse and carries me without a second through. His owner is fully supportive of me riding him. She and Etta reassure me regularly that we are well matched size wise, and anyone who doesn't think I have the right to ride him because of my weight will just have to live with that. It's their hill now not mine!
It has been a long road from that naive rider to where I am now. It is hard to believe how much my world has changed in a year. I have learned "the dance", I have put on the rhinestones and when we ride into that arena on July 28th it wont matter if we place or not, because for me, being "over that hill" is all that matters. This show marks the beginning of a journey I never thought I would take, one that was more chosen for me than me choosing, and one I can't imagine my life without.
The other side of the hill is pretty damn amazing!!!!!!!