I will admit I have never been an avid competitor. I have always preferred training to competing. I love a fun competition from time to time but its not something I just HAVE to do. I’ve considered myself more of a hobby competitor and thankfully I’m not alone!
Many of my friends are hobby riders who will probably never aspire to do anything over novice, if they compete at all. Most of them love just having fun and taking a weekend every now and then to see how they rank, or just some friendly competition against to get some bragging rights. I don’t look down at anyone who chooses not to compete or competes a few times a year A.K.A. The hobby Eventer. Heck I am one!
Eventing competitions, in the lower levels, is mostly comprised of the hobbyist Eventers. Very very few will ever go above the ranks of Training and into CCI/CIC * and above competitions. Many of us don’t have the money to do it, the right horses or the time to not only train a horse that high and time to travel for the competition. Most of us will dream about Rolex and happily sit back and watch the pro’s go at it.
I’ve also found competing at the lower levels to be much much less stressful then what I’ve seen at the higher arenas (Though I have yet to actually compete there). While you still have to braid, and spiff up all your clothes, make sure all those manure spots are cleaned out, and of course clean/oil the tack, I think the scene is more about building confidence and having a good round then appeasing sponsors and owners. A groom and entire team is not necessary to keep every thing going, Though I wish I had one sometimes! We can and happily do it all our selves.
There will always be those people who are obsessed with winning a ribbon of the blue variety, but most of us seem to be happy that we made it out alive, our horses are sound and that we had a good time.
The Eventing community as a whole seems to be a very large family. It’s one of the few sports I’ve seen having no qualms helping someone out, especially someone you may be competing agains. We don’t seem to mind loaning a saddle pad to a complete stranger because the forgot theirs, asking if they’d like a sandwich and a glass of water on a hot day, or if they’d like us to dust their boots before they enter the ring. There is always support and encouragement when someone falls off or gets eliminated or just seem to be having a bad go of it.
This is the community I love and why I hope I can help and inspire future horse enthusiasts and lovers even if I never make it to the upper echelon and remain a hobby competitor!