I asked myself that question several times last weekend while I struggled to get ready for my first circuit horse show in 2 years (and only the 2nd in 4 years). Why do I do all this work, put myself through all this misery? Soaking wet from washing my mostly-white Paint mare. Exhausted before I was even done washing her (mostly because I spent the whole day working at a 4-H show, and didn't even start washing until 7 pm). I intended to wash her tail and face in the morning, but after fighting with a stuck truck and trailer for an hour, I ran out of time. I managed to get to the show grounds just in time to hike all the way to the other side of the fairgrounds to get entries done while (thankfully!) my 4-H student and a friend got the horses ready, hike back, quickly change clothes, and get to the ring for the kids's lead-line class. At least the kids had a ball getting to ride Mommy & Daddy's horses, and the smiles on their faces made that part of the day well worth while. When I get pictures ordered from the photographer, I'll post them (since I was leading a horse, I didn't get any pictures with my own camera). But then I had to hurry and get my clothes changed again to get ready for Horsemanship. Trying to get into too-small show clothes in 90 degree heat is not an easy thing. I had checked before the show to make sure I still fit into my chaps, but I assumed that if they did, everything else would too. WRONG! My slinky shirt clung to me in all the wrong spots, and rhinestones were popping off it left and right. The show pants that go under my chaps definitely did not fit, not even close. I put my jeans back on, and with the help of 4-H girl's mom, I got my chaps on. Then realized that my chaps, even though they were zipped, were smaller and shorter than my jeans - the jeans stuck out the bottom! And I couldn't bend over to put my boots on. I just said Screw It! and took the chaps off, the slinky shirt, and the matching vest, and went back to the shirt I wore for lead-line (recently purchased with my daughter's matching shirt, it actually fits). I couldn't just call it a day and go home, since classes had already been paid for, but at least I could be comfortable. I felt greatly outclassed going into horsemanship with all these skinny girls (most closer to 20 than 30) and their sparkly outfits. Why am I here again? Than I totally botched my pattern. I was seriously considering having my husband come pick me and the kids up and take us home to play in the sprinkler, then just come back and pick up 4-H girl and the horses when the show was over. But she convinced me to stay, and after I ate lunch I was in a better mood. I decided I didn't have anything to lose, I was already there, and I might as well enjoy the time to ride my horse, since I don't get to do that much. I'm very glad I did stay, because the afternoon went a whole lot better. I might have looked outclassed myself, but my horse (Annie) definitely wasn't. She gave me beautiful rides in both Sr Western Pleasure Jackpot and 19-34 Western Pleasure, and we were rewarded with a 3rd in Jackpot (won $17) and 1st under both judges in the age group! What a fantastic feeling when I heard my name called in first! That's when I really remembered why I do this - when my horse and I are really in tune and get it right, and get rewarded for it, it feels so good. That's what we all strive for. I think I'll be going to another show soon - but maybe I'll do a little more planning ahead.