It’s all about life lessons, explains Ashleigh Lacher.
By Ashleigh Lacher
Most of us have been there. We go to close out our check at the end of a weekend of showing and balk at the bill. It never changes, it happens to me every time. I ask myself why do I spend all this money for a couple of ribbons? I’m dirty, exhausted and broke, but as I curse under my breath and slowly make my way back to the stalls I see the smile on my daughter’s face and I know why.
Here are five important life lessons that are hidden in horse showing.
1. Life’s Not Fair
Sometimes you put in that ultimate ride and can’t believe that the person in your flat class, whose horse took eight trot strides before cantering, pinned above you. Who knows, maybe they don’t like the color of your horse, it could be anything. Well, guess what kiddo? Life’s not fair. You don’t always win, even when you have the perfect ride, but you pick yourself up, smile and try again another day — that’s life in the real world.
2. Losing Gracefully
Too many kids these days throw a fit if they don’t win or when they don’t get what they want. What’s that going to change? Be happy you are lucky enough to go to a horse show. Congratulate the winner and move on. Life isn’t always going to go the way you want it to. It’s best to learn that early on.
3. Hard Work Pays Off
It’s completely unrealistic to think you can ride a day or two a week and be successful at a horse show. I always tell my daughter what you put into it, is what you get out of it whether it’s her horse, school or anything. The more you practice and prepare the more successful you will be.
4. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
No one wins all the time and even if you start winning, there always something to improve on or a level to move up to. Sometimes you even have to forget everything you learned and start fresh. (Oh the terror!) Perseverance is a sadly lacking skill in children these days. However, in horses and in life, if you don’t give up you will get there eventually.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Let’s face it, horses can be some of the most frustrating creatures on earth! We have all stomped back to the stall, dragging our innocent looking horse behind us and cursing under our breath. When my daughter is having one of “those” days, I tell her to take a deep breath and ask her trainer for help at her next lesson. In horses, as in life, we aren’t alone, no one knows everything. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, it’s always there if you need it.
Ashleigh Lacher is a full time single parent, horse show mom and occasional dressage rider. She loves her horses but spends more time taking care of them and grooming for her teenage daughter than actually riding, but she loves every minute of it!