I have a world view that I recognize is in the minority. One part of my world view is that competition is not beneficial. It is not one of my values. When people compete there always winners and losers (far more losers than winners). What do you think about when you hear the word “loser”?
I am convinced that competition always produces more bad than good. Being “better” than someone else is prideful and brings out the worst in people in their attempt to “win”. And, when animals are involved in the competition the animal always loses. The animal becomes a tool that the human uses to win. Whenever an animal is a means to an ego-centric end for a human, the animal becomes an object, instead of a living being and gets used in whatever way suits the human.
I know that people who compete with horses assert that they love their horses. “My horse just loves going around in circles and figure eights with his nose tucked in and drooling a lot and getting sore ribs from my spurs.” Yeah, right. “My horse loves barrel racing.” Uh-huh. Put some barrels out in the pasture with your horses and they’ll spend endless hours of fun running around them, right? “My horse loves spinning around in circles and doing sliding stops.” Really? I have yet to see any horse doing those things without a human on their back making them do it.
Humans are amazing in their capacity to rationalize and delude themselves. Let’s be honest. How many people would put in all that time with their horses if there wasn’t a ribbon or money or recognition in it for them?
I believe that we can excel in our horsemanship without competing. When we refuse to compete but are committed to good horsemanship, I believe we can achieve the best results for both human and horse.