Horseback riding isn’t for the faint of heart.
In this world there are many sports that take charisma, athleticism, and a certain amount of humility to undertake. Horseback riding is certainly one of them. Whether you are having a gorgeous course or having the worst ride of your career, both should be approached as learning lessons. One minute you could be floating around a hunter course, flawless and fabulously making the entire class jealous; the next you could float face-first into an oxer and break a flower box. Horseback riding doesn’t care much who you are or how fantastic you think you are, because at the end of the day, personal victory generally outweighs the color ribbon you leave the show grounds with.
Today I had that heart-sinking moment of realization that I had cantered up to a distance, that in no known universe existed, and promptly crashed directly into a fence right in front of my trainer, my parents, several of my barn mates, and worst of all the barn owner Tim. It was a moment of public embarrassment, humiliation, and probably the best dose of character-building I’ve gotten in a while. Apparently karma wasn’t sure I’d gotten the message because I did it again in the next course.
What I learned today however, was that humbling oneself is the only true way to achieve anything in a sport where at a moments notice the wrong sound or movement could send your horse cartwheeling into deep space, and you into the dirt. Thankfully, I avoided the dirt today. It does not matter how fabulous your horse is or how magical a connection you have, at the end of the day, its how humble you can be about it that counts. Today I went in expecting perfection and had a moment of pure hubris and the result was a literal smack to the face. The full-kilter hand-gallop non-existent distance will not happen again, and I will remember to take my morning dose of realness before going in the ring.