I’ve always enjoyed competing. Well, I did back in the day when I actually had energy.
I remember a day in the late 1970’s when I entered a show on my former horse. It was a local show, but all the best people in the area would enter it, and winning a class or more would bring the rider some local prestige. You would also get your name in the local paper if you won a class. Win a bunch of classes and they’d do a little article on you. I wanted that, and I wanted that BAD.
Problem was, I hadn’t yet won a first place. No blue ribbon ever. But still I wanted to be competitive so I figured I’d psyche out the competition a little. To this day I do not know how it worked or why it worked. I only know it worked.
Now remember, I said it was a local show. This meant that everybody knew everybody and knew of their accomplishments, or at least should have known.
At that time it was in style to wear satin jackets or baseball caps with your horse’s name neatly embroidered on them. So, in wanting to fit in, I did the same. I came up with show colors and ordered a shiny satin jacket, a matching baseball cap and all my equipment bags, coolers, sheets and whatnot reflected my color scheme. I even went as far as to order pens and coffee cup holders with my horses name on it. I had a matching director’s chair and set up a little area where my wares would be displayed, my personal “show central”. Very neatly arranged it was to give the impression that I knew what I was doing and that I’d been there a million times before even though I hadn’t. I felt most “cool”.
When my first class was to go in I lined up with the others outside the show ring. It was a western pleasure class, so all the entries would line up and enter the ring together.
As I waited one of the competitors noticed me and said to me “Oh well, there goes my chance of winning now that you’re in the class”. I could only blink in disbelief as I’d never won a class! But guess what? I won that one!
Since that day I’ve taken the time to further study the art of “showmanship” when it came to competing and the skill of psyching out other competitors. The practice is done all over, but often we become so numb to it we don’t even realize what it really is we’re seeing, and so we may be psyched out too.
If you’re competing, this might be something you wish to explore, especially if your competitions are of a more local or regional type.
When it comes to competing, every little bit helps.
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