Back when I was delusional (read: with my previous trainer), I went on shopping binges to fill gaps I felt in my riding. New breeches for shows in my show colors. New fancy air-vest. Expensive tack. Fancy bits. You name it, I probably bought it. I even fell into that Olgivy craze and bought a bunch of their saddle pads and half pad, all of which were completely useless in the long run (I don't even use a half pad anymore - no need with a properly fitted saddle).
I had some weird notion in my head that I needed these items. I needed separate show bridles and pads and clothing. I needed everything to match and look pretty. Why? Who knows. At that time I thought everything was going pretty well in our training, though I had no doubts about our inexperience. But I figured hey - if we're going to spook going into the dressage arena, at least we'll look good doing it!
And now? Well, I came to my senses. Sure, certain pieces of equipment are very helpful when it comes to riding. I know my properly fitted and maintained saddle not only helps Fiction move freely but it puts me in a nice, secure position. But outside of the essentials, nothing else matters right now. What does matter is the training, of both Fiction and myself.
We will never go anywhere without training. No amount of fancy tack or fancy clothes will get us our Bronze medal. No matter how desperately I want that $100 sparkly browband or purple Majyk Equipe boots or custom stock tie, I recognize that these are not the items that will help me succeed in progressing in my partnership with Fiction.
So as I stare forlornly at the thousands of dollars put away for Fiction's upcoming training while simultaneously yearning for a new bridle or new boots (mine aren't too far from kicking the bucket), I stop to remind myself of what really matters to me. Fiction and I could be the best dressed pair at the show, but without the training and lessons behind us we're just playing the role, not performing it.