By: Candace Jussen
Wow, where did the year go? It’s so true that as the older you get, the quicker time seems to fly by. Speaking of being older, I thought I might start the New Year off with an idea I had about following the show season of a select exhibitor…namely me. This will mark my 35th year of showing, in one way or another, and, over the years, I’ve compiled a few tips, thoughts, and ideas that I would like to share.
One thing is for sure; as we “mature” lots of things change, mostly our bodies. Maybe not our determination, but in some ways our abilities certainly change. Many years ago, it was nothing for me to show halter in the morning and then take on five or six riding classes throughout the day. Those days are certainly different now. With the aid of good trainers, I can compete in a few classes a day, but it’s nothing like in the past.
One major difference I’ve seen is that the level of competition is tighter and tougher. Every year, we see an additional group of very tough amateurs coming up into the ranks of the select group. As competitive as we might be, we have very different needs than those exhibitors.
I hope you will join me throughout the year to take advantage of some of my tips and ideas to help ease the transition that many of us face this time of year.
It’s always so exciting to see newcomers in the select division, and welcoming them is something that we all can do. If you see a new person, make an attempt to introduce yourself. Break the ice and ask if they need any help getting ready for their class. Sometimes, just holding a horse is a big help.
After just watching the recent National Finals Rodeo, my body already hurts. How in the world can those riders go ten days enduring such a brutal competition agenda? It’s almost Christmas and shortly thereafter we start up with a new show season. Some of the big circuits will actually begin in December, which means that you already need to be geared up for that. If you don’t have a trainer handling your stalls, hotels, and show entries, it’s time to have that task at hand.
I like to have a calendar with the shows laid out for at least the first five or six months. Some of the big shows are on a regular basis, so you know where you will be going. However, if you are looking for smaller, new shows early in the year, now is the time to start that search. Go online and use Google or visit AQHA.com or other breed association websites to get the most up-to-date show calendars.
After you have decided on the direction you want to go, get your entries and stalls in. Then, you can concentrate on everything else. The next thing I do is look over my outfits. It seems like every year we all face the issue of gaining a few pounds. The first thing is to not stress. It really isn’t a big deal. As long as you can find your core and balance, your weight is irrelevant. We all would love to be that size five that we might have been 30 or so years ago, but that ship has sailed. The sooner we get over worrying about it, the faster we will be happy and ride much better. Honestly, your horse is the most important part of your journey, and, trust me, he or she doesn’t care. So, get yourself comfortable in your own skin and go live life.
Getting fit is very different than spending time worrying about what size you are. It’s easy and safe to start a walking routine as soon as you can. You will be amazed at what it will do for you to just get out every day and walk for 30 to 45 minutes. Always be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new program. Another item that I swear by is stretching. It’s one of the most important things that we, as seniors, can do for ourselves. Spend 15 to 20 minutes in the morning stretching those muscles out. It’s amazing what it can do for your attitude, your body, and your riding skills.
This last tip may sound odd, but most of us are on some sort of medical prescription. A helpful tip I came across is to get hooked up with Walgreens. They have a phone app that will allow you to get your prescription in any town or state without having the trouble or expense of transferring to another pharmacy. I’ve found this very helpful.
Well, I will be writing something every month to target what it’s like to show as a select exhibitor throughout the year. I will cover the ups and downs and the wins and losses. I hope to see you all at the shows and we can share our journey together.