I love to show because it gives me something to work towards. And being ubber competitive (no one plays Monopoly with me anymore) means I have some semblance of drive which makes me work hard even when it's things I don't want to work on. Except trotting - hate.
It's a measuring stick that I can't blow off.
There's plenty of ladies at my barn who do not show. Pretty much every person there except me. And there's 30+ horses at my barn. I have no idea how they keep motivated to work on higher skills. Most of the people at my barn are dressage riders, so they are working through levels. How are they working on level 3 skills, but don't plan to use them anywhere? Just doesn't make sense to me. I get the feeling of accomplishment, but... to what end?
I also come from a theatre background. I love performing and showing off, though I try to be pretty modest about it. Showing is just another way for me to be all, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!