One thing that I struggle with is getting instruction with my riding. Over a year ago, I was able to take riding lessons with a fantastic instructor. But after having surgery, and a lot of other time commitments, I haven’t been under the supervision of an instructor.

woman cantering on a horse

So I have been left to my own devices to work on my riding, and improve. But I’m sure you know, riding on your own is HARD. You have to be dedicated, and you have to make your riding a priority. It’s funny, I thought when I was on my 4 week vacation, I would have plenty of time to ride each and every day. But that didn’t happen.

I guess being out of my normal routine discombobulated everything, and my riding was lower on my priority list. So while I got a lot of projects completed, Frisby was left in his paddock, waiting for me to come out and ride him.

But one thing I did do every week was go to the Colorado Horse Park, and watch the horse shows. You can learn a lot as a spectator at a horse show.

The Best Place To Learn

And with this being the last week of the ‘big’ Grand Prix, there are a lot of top riders to watch. And while I am taking lots of pictures at these shows, I am also watching what the riders are doing while they are on course.

It is so much fun to people watch at a horse show. And I don’t mean all of the people milling about, but the people that are showing. You can learn a lot from watching. I wish more people would do this at the show.

It’s kind of funny, while I am taking pictures, I am listening to what is going on around me. I hear the little girls behind me clucking to the riders as they get ready to go over a jump.

I hear people talking about how much money their horse cost, or about their next extravagant trip they are taking. I find it odd really. Maybe its because I am using this opportunity to learn, and others are using it as a social hour. Just a side thought, but it is interesting to me.

But I am at the show to learn.

I like to watch how the riders are working their horses. Little things, like how they are holding their reins, and how they are sitting in the saddle. Of course their posture is perfect (mine is not) and I think about these things when I go home and work with my own horses.

And having the opportunity to watch such talented and dedicated riders like Richard Spooner, Will Simpson, and Mandy Porter along with Kelli Cruciotti is like a star studded riding lesson.

I mean these are the top riders. And they are coming to Parker, Colorado to compete. Having the opportunity to be up close to these riders is inspiring.

I have the chance to watch and learn. And occasionally see a more unorthodox riding style. Hey, if it works, it works right?

But paying attention to the little things, like how they are looking at the next jump, or what track they are going to take really can be helpful for the not so famous riders, like the rest of us.

And even though these are the best of the best professionals that come to compete, sometimes someone else wins the class.

Giving the rest of us hope that we too can achieve something like this. You don’t necessarily need to have the tallest, or most expensive horse. No, if you have the skill, dedication, and sheer determination, you can do well in the jumper ring.

Yes, the sport is expensive. But it’s fun to dream. So dare to dream big, that’s what I like to tell myself.

There are young riders, old riders, thin and not so thin. There are professionals as well as amateurs competing against the clock as equals. Men and women compete against each other, and the only judge is the clock.

So if this is something you aspire to do, do it. If you don’t have the money, or the horse, find a way to make your goals a reality. One day at a time, and little successes will help you to get to your ultimate goal whatever that goal maybe.

And I find that having someone who shares your passion of showing, or even just horses in general will really help to hold you accountable to your aspirations. My accountability partner is my friend Lynda.

She made a new friend at the horse show last night. And I think if the owner would have let her, she would have taken little Jazzy home with her. But by having someone you can talk to and share you goals with helps you to verbalize what you want to achieve. And it helps, really it does.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the best of the best. What matter is that you have the heart to do it. The rider in the above picture is a junior rider. Can you see the difference in the size of her horse, versus the other two in this photo? She competed against the top riders, and she won the $100,000 Grand Prix at The Colorado Horse Park last night. Talk about inspiring.

And I wasn’t the only one she inspired. I would be willing to bet this young spectator now has aspirations of one day competing in the Grand Prix.

And after the class, they let us, the spectators, go out onto the course for our own course walk. This was the first time I have ever been in the arena. The footing was incredibly soft, and springy all at the same time.

I looked out to where I am usually sitting and watching the class. But now I was seeing it from an entirely different vantage point. This was super cool.

I even got to see my favorite jump up close.

And some really nice ladies even offered to take my picture for me, standing in front of the amazing Voltaire jump. I was in heaven!

The jumps were so beautiful! But not nearly as scary as I thought they would seem to be. The rails were larger in diameter than my own, but overall, this didn’t look so unattainable. I could do this I thought to myself. And then I rephrased my thinking… I can do this. I love having goals!

And I found something else to help me along my path to achieving this goal, a course map.

I can take this course, and practice at home. Not on this large of scale, because my own arena is not nearly this large. But I can lay out portions of the course, and even ground poles to get started.

I can work on lead changes and roll backs in my own arena as I get my horse ready to compete. And while it may not be the Grand Prix class to start, this will be the end goal.

And like the riders in this class proved, with a lot of hard work and dedication, anything is possible.


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

    2 replies to "What You Can Learn As A Spectator At A Horse Show"


      what breed of horse was it that won this class? Very inspiring….

      • Lisa

        By doing some google research I found out this little mare is a Belgian sport horse. 🙂 Born in 2006 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.