A while back I had a client enter a show at a big level, her debut at that level, and her first show after a long competitive gap. Her horse is an amazing creature, a phenomenal athlete with an equally incredible mind, who’s also had a long history of health issues, including trying very hard to die on her twice, fortunately to no avail. She’s done the lion’s share of the training herself, and he’d spent a month with me to finish up one last piece of the test. Was she ready to do this level? Mostly. Was it going to be incredible? Certainly not.

But I talked her into entering anyway, and here’s why. First, on her best day, she was close enough. Second, the show was close, and we—my students and I—were going already. This client doesn’t live nearby, so it was a great opportunity for me to be there with her to talk her through it. And last but not least, horses are horses, and she’s been thisclose to this level for two years, marred by an annoying injury in the middle.

Screw it, I told her. Life is short. Carpe diem. Get in the ring.

Read the rest online at The Chronicle of the Horse!