I like the quiet moments at the shows. I like the mornings especially, when I come to feed Ella and clean her stall before heading out to the farm to work the rest of the horses. I like the stable compound before the masses descend, when it’s just quietly eating and breathing horses and a handful of riders or grooms going about their morning chores.

And while of course I don’t begrudge anyone for having a groom—I have help when I show too, and I don’t have a spouse or kids or a life who demand my attention in the morning—I like seeing Big Time riders doing their own morning or evening chores, laying their hands on their horses legs, checking in with their horse, their partner, their friend.

And I really like it when those Big Time riders stop by to chat, say hello, ask how my ride went. These folks don’t know me from Adam, and I’m nobody, but there’s a few in particular who always make a little time, and I find that lovely and gracious. We hear so often about the ugliness of high performance sport, the drugs and the double commissions and the highest of stakes. Little moments like that give me faith in it all again.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!