What does it mean to win? Has society placed winning as the value or worth of the competitor? Is that the sole intention of winning? I have never really been a competitive person. I hated the idea of one person better than the other, and avoided at pretty much all costs. Was it because I didnt want to fail? I didn’t want to be embarrased or was it that I was scared of my own success?
Just these last few years have I began to look at competion as an act of personal growth. Although I have found not all people feel the same way. I am suprised of the vast array of emotions that some people go through with the thought that they might not bring home the winning blue ribbon. Last weekend I had an opportunity to participate in a small horse show. I did not have time to prepare or even a chance to give my horse a bath, let alone clean up his bridle path and simple things like that. I was anticipating a few classes and a grand experience what ever the outcome. By the time we got there I ended up signing up for 20 classes, so far out of my comfort zone I could only laugh at what my colt was going to think of me by the end of the day.
As the day wore on class after class I found my little red horse gave me all he had, improving with every class, along with my own feeling of accomplishment. About the 15th class I felt him falter, hesitate. At first I thought to push him through, only five classes left. I didn’t want to be a quitter. But that thought past through my mind and disipated in an instant when I asked him one more time for a lope and he gave it to me, with ears up and forward motion. I knew this would be his last tough class of the day as he gave me a beautiful stop. I was filled with pride and emotion as we walked back in line and waited for the ribbons to be handed out. As we stood and waited, a young girl sitting next to me, anticipating 1st, but was upset her horse didn’t pick up the correct lead. She was really upset and found fault in the everything around her. How important is winning? I found out later how her coach reprimanded her for being lazy and not paying attention. Later another young girl was hoping that in trail class they would have things she was good at, such as the mail box…
I replied back at her, “I don’t want things I am good at.”
“Why? It makes it easy to win.”
“I’m not here to win,” I replied, “I am here to challenge myself and my little red horse.”
The little girl was quiet while we waited. Then as we started out of the arena, she said something that will forever be remembered. “Thank you for talking to me.”
“Well, your welcome, my name is Kathy.”
She gave me her name as we visited as we continued out of the arena. Later that day I heard her say to another young girl.
“That woman right there, she doesn’t want to win. But she sure is winning alot.”
It amazes me the challenges we face and how we evaluate winning and challenging ourself to be better than who we were before we got there. I have challenged myself several times by entering something. Such as Cowboy Idol cowboy poetry competion and horses shows or what ever, I feel blessed to have competitors who taught me more than by the competion itself.
On this paticular competion I was taking a young horse, working at becoming a team and asking him to do things I had never asked of him before, to see if he would follow through. I will say this in facing these challenges. In English Pleasure, in a saddle I am not familiar with, I did mention English didn’t i; my colt spooked at a paper in the wind. As he jumped to the side at a canter, I felt myself beginning to fall, Hitch broke stride and brought himself back under me, then picked up his lead and continued as if nothing happened. Ears up and focusing on what’s in front of him. It was a secret he would of kept, had I not mentioned it. If this is not winning I don’t know what is. The ribbons on the wall are a reminder of the adventure, but no one will know the feeling inside, of the challenges faced and achievements within.I will be forever greatful for the challenges we faced together and the sense of achievement that little red horse gave me. Not by ribbons or trophies but by memories and fun we had that day.