It’s 6:17am and the buzzer goes off, it’s time to wake up, get ready, head to the barn, load up Xante and be on our way to the horse show. It’s October 1st and there is a soft breeze through the slowly changing aspen leaves surrounding the outdoor arena.
Xante’s perfect, and the ever present pressure for the day is to get first in the medal round, to qualify for the biggest horse show of the season, the best of the best competing.
If I don’t win the medal class than I will not qualify for medal finals, the biggest horse show of the year. I qualified last year, and finished 4th in the state, but it’s the fact that since one year ago, I lost my horse, and now I have a new horse.
13 years of competing, then it’s all over.
These past 13 months have been a whirlwind of tragedy, chaos, victories, tears and happiness.
A teammate passing away, a new teammate coming in and changing your life (as tacky and cliché as that sounds).
So getting back to the horse show. We have flawless jumping rounds, the first time all year where Xante and I are able to confidently walk into the ring and have a clear round. It’s now time for the medal round. Remember, the one round that we need to be flawless.
I give Xante a kiss, he gives me a hug, and we walk into that ring. We have finished six of the jumps perfectly, now just down to the last two, two jumps away and we are going to the biggest horse show, the task we came to accomplish. Yet.. that’s not how it goes, Xante freaks out over the seventh jump, and refuses, and refuses the eighth jump as well. We are disqualified.
Our season is officially over. The time has come that the parents call it quits with showing. I am grateful for all the years I have had, but will miss this sport so much.
So how do you feel sadness, without guilt? How do you not feel burdened for not proud of yourself when you’ve failed? When others have bent backwards to help you qualify and all you have to do is get over 8 jumps.
So I had to realize a few things:
1. I realize that not everything is going to go 100% the way I want it. That’s not the way of life. Life is full of ups and downs, and if I only expect things to go my way, that’s not truly living.
2. I realize all that I’ve already accomplished. As hard as it is to realize I fell short, and failed, that I’ve already come so far. I’ve already grown in ways I never would of if I didn’t start with my goal of qualifying for medal finals. That Xante and I started the season barely able to go into an arena and go over one jump, and here we are, he’s gone over 6 jumps. That at the beginning of the season, everyone at the barn thought Xante was not the right horse for me, but Lorelei and Susan came alongside me and we worked our butts off to walk into an arena, possibly the last horse show with Xante on October 1st, and he jumped 4 courses, 8 jumps each. HE JUMPED 32 JUMPED WITHOUT REFUSING!!
3. I learn that this is not the only goal I will have. Many many more goals will come about in my lifetime, so just keep pushing through the frustrations and realize the new experiences I will embark on.
4. I am loved by so many, and though angry at myself for the mistakes that led to falling short of my goal, there are people who still believe in me.