Regret or Rejoice? Mistakes that happen at horse shows…in the entry office.

Yesterday I showed Newt at the biggest show I have taken him to yet. Sometimes I struggle with Newt because he has very, very big shoes to fill. The struggle comes from having ridden and shown some very exceptional horses in my lifetime. Newt is a nice solid horse that is still maturing but there are parts of him that will never measure up to Vaquero (link) or Roxy. I can accept this fact but I still need coaching from my husband to remind me that when I show Newt I can only show to his ability.

This is a personal challenge for me because I like to show without holding anything back. When showing Newt I sometimes ‘forget’ that he isn’t able to show at the same level that I can. My challenge is to show Newt to the best level that HE is capable of.

Owning Newt adds another layer to the whole issue. Showing horses is a bit like gambling and I don’t tend to bet on myself. I tend to be frugal and save my money. Let me explain.

Newt won his first bronze trophies!

Newt won his first bronze trophies!

When I enter a class at a reining show I will show my horse once, one reining pattern, but very often that could count for multiple classes. For example if I am eligible for a class, there are likely several ‘levels’ inside of the class. If there are four ‘levels’ and I pay the entry fee in each level then my one run can count for four classes. Or I can enter one level, do the same single run, but I am only eligible to win in the level I entered.

It is a great system for the horses because if each level of each class were run individually it would be exhausting for the horses. Instead one run counts for multiple classes.

Yesterday when I was entering Newt, I chose to enter two out of the four classes. I chose this because entering classes isn’t free and I saved $90.00 by not entering the other two classes. The upper two classes that I didn’t enter were also tougher classes and I chose to save my money.

People were usually surprised to learn that I didn’t own Roxy…but there have been many times when I have said that it was a blessing in disguise. The blessings came in many ways but one was that the owner of the horse got to decide what classes to enter me in. This made it feel less like I was gambling on myself and more like the horse owner was making the choice.

I know this shouldn’t matter….but apparently it still does for me.

Yesterday when I showed Newt it turns out I was both right and wrong in my choices. I was correct that there would be better horses in the class. Shawn Flarida, who just won gold at WEG was there and he out scored me and won one of the classes I didn’t enter. I would have been second…which would have been awesome.

I was also wrong because my score would have won the other class that I didn’t enter. A summary would be:

  • If I had entered all four classes I would have won three and been second to Shawn in the other
  • Instead I won the two I did enter

So the question is: Regret or Rejoice? I know which I chose but which would you choose?


  1. K. Bockus on September 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Hind sight is twenty twenty! You are not doing yourself any favour by second guessing yourself. You made that decision based on years of experience, and more importantly knowing your horse and yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, just be at peace with your decision and move on!

  2. Jen Wintjes on September 8, 2014 at 12:07 am

    It depends what you were going for… was there $ involved for winning? Ribbons and more prestigue? Would have entering him in all classes have increased his value? What is your goal? There’s always another show. I think it’s okay to feel regret but better to learn from it and be thankful with the blessings you’ve been given:)

    We just got back from a High School Rodeo and my daughter on day 2 wanted to see how fast ‘My Boy’ would go in poles. He turned so fast for the first pole that she fell off! “It was a soft landing mom!” Regrets? NO… now we know he can turn fast! Rejoice!!! What do you think Stacy?

  3. Barb on September 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Just food for thought…do you think that you would be weighing the same scale of regret vs rejoice if it wasn’t Shawn? He is undoubtedly a master and inspires reflection but you are also a master in your own right on a different journey. Don’t use the wrong measuring stick for your self assessment! I think your fantastic in your own right and speak to people and horsemen’s hearts
    who probably don’t even know who he is…Again, just food for thought! I’m a fan of both of you.

  4. teresa knowles on September 6, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Rejoice and have the faith to bet on yourself more next time!!

  5. Aimee Cain on September 6, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I hope this is okay to post here. I, like you, am an avid horse lover. I follow many horse rescues such as yours. I couldn’t help but notice that Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue is the only one who made it into the Tractor Supply “Rescue a Rescue” contest. They have a 1 in 10 chance of winning $10,000. Will you help show the world that we equestrians stand together to support the entire rescue community? Please vote and share daily through September 15th to help them.

    Click this link to vote:

  6. Paula on September 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Congratulations on winning!

    Sounds like you didn’t want to set him up to fail by having expectations that were too high. Now you have a better idea of how you and he stack up against other horses and can choose differently next time without feeling like you’re expecting him to be what he can’t – because maybe really solid, but not so flashy is pretty great too. How about a video of his run … please?

  7. Cat on September 6, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I think I am going against the grain and say Regret. I don’t get to show much any more (not at all this year) and I regret that. My rocky mountain horse is different in the levels and types of classes then those you ride Stacy…but the idea is the kind of the same. When I don’t enter a class often look back at it with regret because she needs the experience against the other horses. Emma (my Rocky Mountain Mare) has issues when it comes to waiting in line at the end of class… she needs more practice. She will stand all day long in a ring alone… but get other horses and it’s different. Same as with the show excitement that is felt…you cant duplicate that at home. Fact is exactly what you said about money…that is the sole reason I do not enter more classes and the reason I continue to struggle with Emma in the classes I have entered.

  8. Nancy Rosen Resop on September 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Rejoice and learn from your decision. Ask yourself this: Would Newt have benefited more from entering all 4 classes and would/could you feel any prouder? If saving the $90 were the only reason you didn’t enter all the classes, rather than the reasons that you provided, I would say you made the wrong choice , but since that wasn’t the case – rejoice in the knowledge at how well Newt and you performed and use the knowledge you gained at your next show! Congrats!

  9. Amanda Morning on September 6, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Rejoice!! There is always room for more classes later. I have learned slow and easy is the way to go. This year I have jumped in with both feet and hanging on to a shirt tail into dressage, a childhood dream really. I decided to use a friends horse i had been riding at her barn (saddlebred) who had given me much of my confidence back. He is trained for saddle seat which is totally different. I worked hard to work as silent as I could without having to say the word TROT to him. I also decided this was the year for school and fun shows and so far so good. Take the time to let the horse teach you. Know when to back off and when to push. Some days I cant get a trot without a lot of effort or an aid and other days he is ready to roll. Some days he stops with a light rein and others I pull until my reins are in my lap.

    I enjoy reading about your journey. Keep calm and canter on.

  10. Sydne on September 6, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Rejoice because not having entered him shows that you care-care about not mentally asking too much of him in your head. Maybe that mental attitude even won you what you’ve entered. Go Newt! He’s my favourite of your horses. Probably BECAUSE he’s not the greatest and just a very lovely horse. And because he eats poop when he thinks it’s alfalfa…

    • Stacy on September 6, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      LOL! We were just discussing that terrible mistake…poor Newt, he hasn’t made that mistake again though!

  11. Jan on September 5, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Congratulations! Did great, won the two classes that you entered, saved $90. Good decision, no regrets. Your next show you may make a different decision. No regrets… as my Aunt would say, “Live life with the fewest regrets.”

  12. Jenny Capling on September 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    It’s the competitor in you that still cares but the common sense in you that tells yourself that you should be darned satisfied with already surpassing your goal. I know that’s what often drives me to continue to shoot for the best I can be. Hopefully it’s an opportunity to reassess where your at. Maybe next show you grow in confidence and skill. Perhaps we learn to recognize the special, different aspects of each partnership. It also sure has a lot to do with how much disposable income one has from show to show as well!

  13. Paula on September 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Rejoice!!!! No regrets, just a lesson and go big next time. Life is about stepping out and taking chances which can mean gambling a lil. Never question where there is so much potential.
    Enjoy the two & next time enjoy all
    Live*Love*Ride <3

  14. Erin on September 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Yeah Newt!

  15. Gary on September 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    One thing life has taught me. Look forward. Don’t ever look back. You did good. That’s all that matters.

  16. Diana Lynn Burroughs on September 5, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I would wish that I, I had not judged him short. I would rejoice that we did so well.

  17. Nyan Klavon on September 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Always choose Rejoice. Regret is for sissies that dwell on the negatives in life. Make the best choice at the time and rejoice.

  18. Jade on September 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    rejoice! he tried his best for you and won a few prizes. dont sell him or yourself short =)

  19. Bonnie T on September 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    I would rejoice, upon winning the classes that were entered, I now know where I stand with myself and my horse. It appears Newt has surprised you with his talents, and I would be flattered knowing I came in second only to a WEG champ. Yeay Newt! And you too.

  20. Joanne on September 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Can’t go back & change what you didn’t do. So be happy with the choices you made & move on to the next challenge. Good job.

  21. carlacarrabino on September 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Even though the right choice is to say Rejoice I fear I would have regrets. Feeling did I sell Newt short. Of course just move on and tell him how proud you are for him!

  22. Janette on September 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Oh, Stacy. I think you have done exactly the same thing in the past.
    I find people like you are so successful because you remain open to evolve even more. It’s that ability to continue to grow which keeps you on top.
    It’s kind of common for the arrogant type to enter everything, not win, them blame something else for their failure.
    I would rejoice for many reasons in your situation. Congratulations!!

  23. Michelle Scanlon on September 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Stacy, we met last spring at Congress. I have the rescued TWH. Doesn’t matter whether you remember me or not. In talking with you you told me to work me horse like a big show was coming up. I followed your advice. Snickers is a prince! Life is too short for regrets! Rejoice in every moment that matters to you. And don’t fail yourself or your horse (Newt) by selling yourselves short. Life is about the living, enjoy it. Hope I answered your question.

  24. heather on September 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Were you happy with your performance? Did you do the best that you could do? If so, then rejoice. That’s what counts. You can’t control what others do, so if they beat you and you did the best that you could do, that’s not your issue. As far as entering the multiple classes with one run, all it is, is the ribbon. Whoop-ti-do. The job you did is what counts. Rejoice in that, in your horse, in your training. That’s the bottom line.

  25. Amelia on September 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Be glad with what we did and let it carry through to when it is time to make another decision and let that help influence decision making.

  26. maxine F on September 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    it’s just money and you ‘can’t take it with you!’ 😉

  27. darlaflack1 on September 5, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I so totally agree with your decision Stacy! Sure you might have done better, but you took the cautious route, knowing your horse. Good for all riders to think about. I hate seeing kids enter Every class in a show (?going for high point?), when if they just specialized in what their horses can handle, they would get further in the long run.

  28. Phoebe Papaeliou on September 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Life is too short for regrets. Rejoice and celebrate what you do!!

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