Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Significance of Ribbons

Over the years, my ideas on the significance of ribbons has changed.
I was your typical kid with the ribbon wall in my bedroom at home.
The blues, reds and yellows had significantly more importance than the browns, greens and pinks. The circumstances surrounding their aquisition meant nothing at all.
Now that  I am older, it is less about the ribbons and more about the milestones and achievements. In fact, I don't usually even pick up my ribbons, unless they have some meaning to me. I know events are costly to put on, so I figure if I leave them to be recycled for the next event, I am doing a good thing.
But sometimes ribbons DO have significance, and these days, they're likely to be completely divorced from what color they are.
Take, for instance, the ribbons below:
These are two sixth place ribbons, in a class full of six entries.
Some people might shove them down at the bottom of a tack box or in a drawer at home.
But I will hang on to these ribbons, and what they mean to me.
One perk is that they are beautiful ribbons. I love the unique teal offset color, in place of the more traditional white. But more importantly, these ribbons represent our first time jumping a 2'3" course. Not only did we both jump our first 2'3" course, but in my eyes, we did a damn good job.
In our first round, we had no rails and 1 refusal. And you know why we had a refusal? Because I took my leg off and stared at the jump. Boca did his part, and I learned something very important. The next round, we went back in, I kept my eyes up and my leg on, and we had Zero refusals and Zero rails. We still finished last. And I couldn't be prouder.
2 Weeks ago, we did a schooling show on our farm. I had taked a few weeks off from actively jumping, and had been working on the flat. I hadn't jumped a course in weeks, but I figured it was a good opportunity to practice and it would support the farm. The weather forecast had been questionable, so the turnout for the show didn't end up being big.
I entered Boca in the 2'-2'3" Puddle Jumpers class. It was kind of rough. We're at a point right now where we're trying to figure out and improve some training issues. There were only 2 entries in the class. The first round, we had a few rails, some funky distances and some flyers. But, we didn't go off course, so we earned second place.
Our second trip was pretty much the same, with only 1 rail this time. The girl I was competing again was having a lovely round, and I was about to resign myself to another second place, when she saw one distance to the last fence, her horse saw another and she ended up coming off. It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise great round, but that is horse showing. By default, Boca and I ended up with the blue ribbon.
If you only look at the picture, of me grinning and Boca proudly wearing his 1st and 2nd place ribbons, you might draw some entirely different conclusion. We were not the best on this day, despite what the ribbons said.
One additional takeaway was that the girl I was competing against was on a seasoned show horse, one that had experience over many courses, at many shows, for many years. I was proud of the fact that Boca and I represented ourselves well, in what is the very beginning of our journey.
What makes Diamonds special? Are they inherently more valuable than rubies? Than emeralds? Than pearls? Diamonds are valueable entirely because of the significance we attribute to them. In my mind, horse show ribbons are the same.


  1. I agree with most of what you're saying. That said, I ALWAYS pick up my ribbons because I love them and they're beautiful (and few and far between).

    But yes. The ones that mean the most to me aren't always the ones with the highest placing.

  2. Completely agree. While I love winning and I love beautiful ribbons, I'm often more proud of the 5th place where I beat more horses or did something great than I am of the default 1st out of 2.

  3. I love all my ribbons and their placing, thought Year End ribbons and other kinda of long and interesting designs do hold a significant place in my home, I do have a book specifically for special ribbons, like the first ones I ever got, or the ribbons from a horses first class regardless of the color. .

  4. i love this! it really is all about the experiences and memories, imo. but seriously tho - congrats on 2'3" in the show ring!!

  5. I'm the same way! My favorite ribbons of all time are actually not blues or even reds. It's how hard I worked for some of those ribbons that means the most to me!

  6. some of my favourite ribbons are not first place for just the reason that you mentioned.

  7. Great post! I love all the ribbons. Doesn't matter what place. The fact that we place at all means we earned it and did something worth remembering.