Everyone has a journey to make in this crazy horse show world. It takes miles and miles to make seasoned campaigners of both people and horses. Many times, the horses become confident long before their riders and this certainly makes things topsy-turvy!
If you show enough, you will certainly lose when perhaps you really should've had the blue ribbon and likewise, if you keep showing, the equine gods will shine on you at some show and you'll win a class after you've had a major problem but the judge just didn't seem to notice. (There are times when judging is so strange. Remember that things do look differently from the center of the ring and too, judging is not a perfect process, it's often just one person's opinion. It's best not to take these things to heart, just take them in stride.) If you show long enough, it all does even out.
To me, it's so important to look at the bigger picture. Are you and your horse making reasonable progress? Is your horse working better? Are you overcoming your own problems and getting more relaxed? I love it when my riders are excited about their achievements and their first wins but I also believe in being honest about any achievement. It will not do you or your horse any good to crow and puff up about an ordinary ride, no matter how the judge placed it. There's a lot of hard work and a lot of wet saddle blankets on the road to success and I really think it's important to evaluate a number of shows, perhaps even a full season, before making a firm assessment about the progress of a horse and rider.
Keeping things in perspective helps me with my work with both horses and their riders. I also am always thinking of the future and thinking through what the next step is that I need to achieve to get to a final goal. And, in the end - there's always another horse show! See you next week, JD.