Friday, September 26, 2014

Disappointment and Sportsmanship

I planned on writing a very different accounting of this event when I wrote it in my head. And trust me, I've been writing it in my head for awhile now, planning out the best way to tell you all about my amazingness. (Humbly bragging, of course, because no one likes a cocky asshole.)

In case you had any doubt...

Now, most of you know I am not the most serious of runners. I can admit that. Running is something I do because I love racing and I have a hard time putting effort into things without a goal in mind. If I don't sign up for races, I have a very hard time just going out and running for the love of it or even for my health. I need goals, but I also don't freak out (usually) if I don't have a stellar performance. I basically run races for fun.

One thing I am absolutely dedicated to is riding. I ride 5 days a week, and we train hard. That doesn't include all of the care, prep work, etc., that also goes along with horse ownership. I've shown more in the last two years with Louie than I have since I was a teenager.

The competition year for the USDF, which in this case means United States Dressage Federation, runs from October 1st through Septempber 31st. There are national standings by level and by breed.

A couple months ago, I found myself sitting in 2nd place in the national standings for Louie's breed. You have to meet certain requirements, file breed declarations, show a certain number of times, etc.

Yes, that's Lou's real name.


Exciting, right? Now even though my horse trainer blasted this news on Facebook, I'm really superstitious about counting my chickens before they hatch. But even so, I maintained my reserve champion (2nd place) standing until last week. So, of course, I was blogging in my head about Louie's amazingness and was ready to write a very different post. I mean, the season is almost over.

I knew the girl behind me had little hope of catching me because it's all based on averages and she most likely wouldn't have enough time to bump up her average that much. What I didn't expect was for someone to come out of nowhere two weeks from the end and land in the champion spot, effectively knocking us all down a slot.

So, why is this such a big deal? I mean, he's still in the top 5. In the country.

Well, because there is a national awards gala event held every year that honors Champion and Reserve Champion winners. It's a black tie event. You receive a medal and recognition. Third place gets a certificate in the mail.

So, yeah. I'm pretty disappointed. In my mind, I had already sealed the deal. Even at this point, I could get knocked out of third, but it wouldn't be as big of a blow as getting knocked out of second. Or if all top 5 were recognized and received an award, it wouldn't sting as much. Just getting a certificate isn't quite as exciting.

My very first horse trainer absolutely wouldn't tolerate unsportsmanlike behavior, so I was never a kid that wanted to beat anyone in particular. I wanted to win, don't get me wrong, but growing up in the horse show world, you learn a lot about disappointment. I'm sure the top two riders didn't work any less hard than I did and I'm sure the girl in second feels pretty crappy, too, because she was in the lead for months and got knocked down a placing with only two weeks left in the show year.

There's always next year, right?




  1. Wow, just wow. As a highly competitive person, I feel so badly for you Jamie. Third place in the country is still amazing, but with a sport that is judged, it seems so weird to me that a rider could suddenly do that well and surpass so many riders. We had a neighbor in NJ that showed dressage and I loved talking with Marie about it and seeing all her ribbons and prizes. Congrats on third in the country....I had a feeling you were an expert horse person. Still love that you run though!

  2. Easy come, easy go, I guess. It's hard not to get excited about things when they look like they're a shoe in. Congratulations on your ranking! Either way, it's something to be proud of!

  3. Boo!!! That sucks and I would be like you...too nervous to jinx it by saying anything until the deal is sealed. I guess you just have to trust that you did your best and if you didn't work harder next year? :-)


Thanks for reading!