To Young Professionals Showing This Season

In many parts of the country, this is the beginning of the show season. This message goes out particularly to young professionals who are about to feel a little under appreciated and might think their work is going to be unnoticed.

I know you are the people who have to teach the young horses to load, teach them manners, drive them around the block, maybe to a friends stable to practice before the first show. There are no judges or prizes for this, you will be lucky if you get reimbursed for your truck’s fuel. You will be the one to get the first few low scores on your record because in spite of your preparation, young horses shy at the judges box. You may have to endure a judge’s derogatory advice, when you are already painfully aware more than anyone where it went wrong. (And later when the scores do go up and the horse gets good you will probably be asked to sell it. You may have to forget all your own disappointments because at the same show you will have to stabilize one your customers who is de-compensating warming up for a Training Level test.

Please don’t ever forget that you do all of this because you love to ride horses, not love to win, and certainly not love to make money, or you would have done what your parents suggested many years ago. Accept that you will probably never be on the cover of a horse magazine and that you will never get the credit that you deserve, don’t make the mistake that this is what you need. I am not alone when I say I notice good preparation. I actually look for it at horse shows. Besides the other professionals, some little kid is watching you; give them something to remember to hold on to when all the forces of society bombard them to play the game. Because you didn’t win doesn’t make you a loser. Sorry to put more pressure on you, but when you go out in public, your demeanor is a life raft for some people, you’d better accept that.

One more thing, when you’re out there coaching and showing, be kind and polite, use the new quiet devices, don’t shout above the other trainers. These are your colleagues. They are probably also trying to make a living to support their own passion. Treat each other like allies, not enemies. If you want to stay in business for a long time, you will need each other.

Best of luck this season, 2022.

Paul Belasik

Tara Jelenic Photo