I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


why i wanted her to get a {first place} ribbon …

Wynter’s been riding for about ten months now. And really, she’s come a long, long way in a short period of time. Starting out as a timid eight-year-old afraid to hurt the pony she was on. She {like her older sister, Taylor} has what’s referred to as “soft hands” when they ride. They hold the reins very gently and don’t pull on the pony’s mouth.

Problem is, the pony — much like children — need to know who’s in control or they can’t do what’s expected of them.

And while soft hands are definitely better than being rough and possibly hurting your pony or making him cranky {who wants to be sitting helplessly on top of a 1000 lb. cranky animal?!}, there’s a time and place for being firm and letting him know he has to listen to you.

Wow! this does sound a lot like parenting, doesn’t it?

Anyway. Wynter’s been taking lessons 3-4 times a week this past summer. And if you follow me on Instagram, you know she’s done a fair amount of showing this summer as well.

When showing, Wynter started out doing “walk/trot” classes and hadn’t moved up to the next level.

Granted, we were still looking for just the right pony for her — she’s ridden and tried, six different mounts in the past ten months — it takes a bit to bond with your pony, especially at this age and level of riding. It’s not easy to just get on any ol’ horse and become an amazing team off the bat.

But hallelujah! The heavens opened about four weeks ago, and down came just the right pony for Wynt!

Wellllll … two shows ago, Wynter was signed up for two days of walk/trot classes. If I’m remembering right, it was her first show with the new pony who goes by the name of Spanky. I honestly don’t remember what place she got, but I do remember being disappointed she didn’t place better.

I stood at the fence jealous of the girl who got the blue ribbon. And then I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and even a little shocked at my feelings! What was going on with me?

I was really disappointed in Wynter.

If she ever wanted to move up to the next level of classes … walk/trot and … wait for it … canter! then she’d have to step it up.

That night in the hotel I had a talk with her. It was one of those fine-line kind of talks. I didn’t want to shame her, but I needed to know what was going on.

If a lackluster performance was all she wanted to give, then her 3-4 times a week lesson {at her request} probably weren’t necessary and we could go down to once a week. Not to mention, she probably doesn’t need to do all these shows if her heart really isn’t in it.

And for the record, if that’s what she wanted, I was totally fine with that. I’m really not that mom who pushes my kids into things they don’t want to do. On the other hand, when I know it’s something they DO want to do and are passionate about it, then I’m there to give them an encouraging nudge when they need it.

And that’s at the heart of what I needed to find out from Wynter. I had to think of a way to put the above thoughts into a tender talk for my sensitive girl, so I could find out where her heart and mind were. Through our talk, she assured me she loves riding and wants to continue to grow in it. I believed her and told her I’d do whatever I could to let her know I supported her.

Well, wouldn’t you know? That night, her trainer texted to ask if Wynter would want to move up to the walk/trot/CANTER class the next day. She’d be the third entry and it’d be good practice for her. I asked Wynter if she’d like to do it and she said she was ready!

As I stood at the fence watching her the next day, my heart bubbled over with happiness and pride.

Within the walk/trot and walk/trot/canter classes, there are three different rides and they’re judged three different times {looking for something specifically different in each ride that I won’t bore you with right now}.

In her first two rides, she got third place both times and y’all, I was beaming! Here’s the thing though … did you catch this? When she decided to enter this class, she was the third entry. Which meant there were only three riders in the class. Which means her third place ribbon was actually last place.

But I was beaming. Truly. I was so proud of my girl!

And then I figured it out. It wasn’t a first place ribbon I wanted her to get. I wanted to see her doing her very best. And when I knew she wasn’t “bringing it,” I was disappointed.

In their previous school, the girls used to get what was called an effort grade. So they got their letter grade, but then they also got an effort grade. So technically, they could get a D. But they could get an A as their effort grade.

Meaning, they could get a blue ribbon in effort … even though they scored a D.

As I watched Wynter that day, I realized she “brought it!” And even though she placed last, she had a blue ribbon effort.

And truly, isn’t that all we want to see in our children? To see they’re putting forth their best blue ribbon effort?

As Wynter finished the last of her three classes and the riders lined up, backs facing the judge, and the winners were announced, I was amazed to hear Wynter got second place. She brought it indeed. Her hard work paid off and she was determined. She wanted it, and she got it.

And for that, I couldn’t be more proud of her!

Am I the only one? Can anyone relate to wanting to see their children do their very best?

As a side note, at her last show she moved up to crossrails … say what?!?! I’ll share more on that soon! :)

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Posted in parenting, riding, wynter

3 Responses to “why i wanted her to get a {first place} ribbon …”

  1. Rhonda Jenkins says:

    I love this post, and I couldn’t agree more. After spending what seems like the entire summer, going to swim lessons and practice sessions…. my kids can swim!

    It is so rewarding to see them passionate about something that is a challenge to them, and that they work so hard at to accomplish. I really do believe that we live a second life through our children. We experience their triumphs, joy, pride and surprise. We also feel their heartaches, disappointments, insecurity and despair. As adults, we can recognize that ALL these moments are precious and God given. That they all serve a purpose, and they are what make life beautiful.

    Thank you again Tracie for sharing this beautiful slice of life!

  2. Melanie says:

    I’m with you, Tracie. I want our children to have passion-filled hearts! I thank the Lord for the hind-sight he has given us as parents to pass on to our beautiful children.

  3. dawn says:

    i love an a for effort…it is far more important to me than the actual grade grade! and i am just picturing you try to form the words to say just the right thing to that sweet thought-filled girl…ugh! what a task! but you, mama with a great big heart…you got it right. and yay to wynt for giving her all!

    have you come up with a new name for spanky?!
    dawn recently posted..friday letters {the anniversary edition}

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