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Inspirational Quotes to Motivate You in the Show Pen


The world of horse showing is strenuous in many, many ways. Not only are we challenged physically in some ways, but also mentally and emotionally. Many exhibitors rely on the words of others to help them maintain a strong mentality. We know that words alone are not always the most powerful thing, but they still help.

Even compliments from a random stranger can stick with us forever, and often they come at a time when we need them most. Showing horses takes a lot of skill and confidence, and if those two aspects were to be taken away, most people would lose the drive to keep competing. Whether it is a phrase they found on the internet, some advice they were given, or even just their motto, we all have that “voice” in the back of our heads that motivates us.

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” -Babe Ruth

This quote is very relevant to the horse show community, even though it came from one of the most famous baseball players. In this world, it’s easy to let pressure, bad placings, or even negative comments from fellow competitors get you down. These things can easily make us want to quit, but somehow, we find a way to keep going.

Not every season is a winning one, and that can be the hardest to understand. We are often quick to assume that it’s on the horse or ourselves, but we rarely accept that it just may not be our day, our show, or even our year. Rough patches will come and go, but your attitude about it will always affect your performance in the long run.

“Work hard in silence; let your success be your noise.” -Frank Ocean

When asked her favorite quote, trainer Melissa Shetler responded quickly with this commonly heard Frank Ocean lyric. “I love this one, mainly because you don’t need to tell people how hard you’re working when you’re succeeding.”

Shetler and her 13-year-old daughter, Violet, (pictured above right) have especially held this quote near to their hearts recently following the tragic losses of her showmanship mare, Flaunting Her Assets, and her all-around gelding, Mister Awetabulous. Melissa witnessed her daughter work harder than ever to come back and earn the AQHYA Reserve World Champion title in the 13 and under Hunter Under Saddle.

“You’re going to walk, trot and lope one way, and then you’re going to walk, trot and lope the other way. Then, it’s over!” -Bill Hatten

For young up-and-coming professional Dillon Hatten (pictured left) from Iowa, motivational quotes are ideally helpful if the person using it can relate it to a certain time or event in their lives, but it’s even better when they’re about what you’re doing. Dillon just loves this quote from his father, and honestly, so do we. Hatten says, “Dad says this all the time to people. I love it because it’s the literal truth, and it relaxes you.”

“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”

Many exhibitors have seen the amount of practice time that World and Congress champion Patrick “Kip” Riley has put into showing over the years, and they would agree that this is a great motto for everyone to live by. “Once I adopted this philosophy a few years back, my success in the show pen skyrocketed,” states Riley. (pictured right)

“It’s called horse SHOWING, not horse WINNING.”

“Every ride is a learning experience, whether it’s a good one or bad one.” While she’s still a youth exhibitor, Kassidy Turner is wise beyond her years. “This is my favorite because when we go into the pen, we all want to win. Even when we don’t win, we still learn something for the next time.”

Turner, of Youngsville, Pennsylvania started showing competitively in AQHA at a young age and has a history of horsepower in her family. Her father’s side of the family grew up in the auto racing community, so this philosophy has stuck with her throughout her life.

“If you haven’t felt like quitting, your dreams aren’t big enough.”- Kelly Osbourne

“Big dreams are what motivate you to keep going,” states Hanna Norman. As an amateur exhibitor who has set many lofty goals for herself since the start of her youth career, this is by far her favorite quote.

“Regardless of any setbacks or failures, you look at that dream of yours and keep working. The bigger they are, the more you’ll want to quit, but the more rewarding it’ll be when you get there.”

For Norman, showing is a family affair. Whether it is for herself, her cousin, or her aunt, every goal for that family is sure to be knocked out of the park every show season.

Do you have a favorite quote that you recite to pump you up before you go into the show arena?  Let us know.


About the Author: Sutherlyn Hollabaugh is a senior at Clarion University in Pennsylvania where she majors in Speech Pathology and is minoring in Special Education. She competes in the amateur events with her gelding Getting Alotta Lukes, and leads her brother, Tanner, in the EWD events.

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