Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Everyone Needs a Cheerleader

I have always attended my shows without a groom or someone to help.   I know lots of people at the shows and enjoy visiting with my horse friends but never saw a reason why you need someone to "attend" to your needs.  My horse ties well to the trailer.  I can dress myself.  I can dress my horse.

I think I'm unusual in that scenario.  Most of my horse friends bring a support crew with them.  Either a trainer that helps warm them up or a spouse who comes for moral support and to take some photos.  Maybe another horse friend who acts as a groom and to do that final wipe of the boots before going in the ring.  Some people even hire a semi-professional groom to help them out on show days, especially if they are showing multiple horses.

I've never minded running solo.   I have only me to answer to during the day.  I can leave right after my class or stay all day to watch the classes.  I get to spend some quality time with my horse and my fellow dressage enthusiasts.  I like to be independent and know that I can do it alone.

But I'm feeling a bit different about this upcoming show.

Golly and I have been working very hard to get this canter thing down and for the first time we are going to attempt a canter test.  I don't anticipate that we are going to win the class or have our best score but I am so immensely proud that we have gotten to the point where we can at least attempt a canter in a class.  But I'm nervous too.

Still its not like we NEED someone there.  I can still dress myself and get us in the ring.  But I WANT someone there to hang out at the entry gate, biting their nails for me and hoping along with me that it goes well.  And let's be really honest... what I really want is my Mom there.... the ultimate cheerleader... the person that no matter what happens will tell me that I did my best and she is proud of me.

This desire makes no logical sense.  I have done plenty of shows without a cheerleader and certainly without my Mom.  I am 42 years old.  I shouldn't need my Mom to tell me I did a good job and she is proud of my effort.  But I do.

My Mom died just over a year ago and I miss her terribly.   I miss calling her each morning to tell her what is going on in my life and hearing her tell me that all will be okay and that she is proud of what I am doing.  That she is proud of my children and the life I have created.  I miss her voice.  I miss the way she looked at me with pride and happiness.  I miss her hugs.   I miss her unconditional love.  I miss my Mom.

Not sure why this show is renewing the feeling of loss but its probably the mixture of pride of accomplishing a major goal and the fear that we may come up short on the goal.   I've heard from other women that they have never stopped missing their mother and I believe them.  Despite it not making logical sense that a full grown accomplished woman needs the ultimate cheerleading of her mother, that is the reality.

So I am starting to understand why my fellow riders bring their support crew to shows.  Its not about having someone dress you or your horse.  Its about having someone share the fear and anxiety and also hopefully the joy of accomplishment.  Cheerleaders play an important role at a show.   Whether its your trainer who plays a professional role and help you show to your best ability or a friend who knows nothing about dressage but is just excited to be there with you.  I get why that support crew is so important.  



  1. Aw ... Brianna, I am so sorry, but what a wonderful tribute to your mom. From the way you write about her, I am certain she would have been perched right at the gate smiling from ear to ear as you did your final salute. :0)

    For many years I wasn't very close to my mom, but a few years ago something in our relationship changed that allowed us to develop a much closer bond. She actually made it to one of my dressage shows (she lives more than 700 miles away) and was SO proud of me. It is almost embarrassing now though because she tells EVERYONE what a brilliant rider I am. Even though I roll my eyes at her and tsk-tsk her enthusiasm, I am secretly delighted to have her as my biggest cheerleader. She doesn't come to shows, but she reads my blog regularly and leaves these horribly embarrassing, but secretly cherished, comments. You are absolutely right that we need cheerleaders. I hope you'll find one that can fill in for your mom. In the meantime, KICK SOME BUTT, GIRLFRIEND!!!! You rock. :0)

  2. Thanks so much! I am so glad you found a connection back to your Mom. Even when the relationship is not perfect (and whose is!), the unconditional love of a Mom is great. Your dressage friends may see that slight counter bend but your Mom just sees you doing a great job because you are YOU! The show I was worrying about turned out to be what might have seemed like a failure to some (we got eliminated -- I know you saw the video bc you said Speedy has some of the same moves) but it was a great day because my friends turned up and supported me. One of my best showing days just because of that.


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