You may remember me a couple months ago from when I was a finalist for the blogging contest. If you know me in real life, I’m not someone who likes to put myself out there in anyway–especially with my writing. So, entering the blogging contest on website like Eventing Nation was a huge deal for me.
I was slightly horrified when a few weeks later I was informed I was progressing and had to write more entries. As the contest continued, I always had a slightly bewildered expression when people came up to me at the barn, at events, or sent me a message on Facebook saying they enjoyed a post. The contest didn’t end successfully for me (congrats David), but the process was edifying. In many ways I got what I wanted in the first time when I wrote that first entry (although I’m still not totally sure what was going through my head). I was asked to stick around and write some guest blogs for EN!
So a little about me (in case you missed my blurb from the contest). I’m a 20 year old event rider from Massachusetts. I have competed my black mare, the Black Russian, at Preliminary for what seems like ages (but still haven’t mastered the ‘art’ of a preliminary horse trial).
Long term goal is to go Advanced once I’ve finished college. (I also had a goal to go the NAJYRC CCI2* in 2016 and here I am having not ever done an Intermediate horse trial, so that’s something that I have learned — let your goals be flexible — but more on that another time).
I’m an economics major at Wellesley College where I commute to my home-base, Eleazer Davis Farm, about 5-6 days a week. I have a part-time job as a hostess at a local restaurant, and also do some casual blogging for Heels Down Magazine.
Right now, actually, I’m on a personal journey away from eventing. Around 10,000 miles from my horse to be specific. For the first time in my life I’m living in a city, ‘going to the gym,’ I don’t have a separate dresser for barn clothes, and starting to live like a ‘normal,’ non-horse person.
I’ve been met with all sorts of resistance from instructors through out my eventing ‘career’ about deciding whether to be an ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’ (which is rather strange when you realize I’m only 20 and still technically a young rider). Some like my long-time trainer/friend/mentor, Stephie Baer, have encouraged me to continue college, study away, and take time off the horses while I’m still so young.
Others have pointed out that I can’t be that ‘serious’ if I want a college degree. Sometimes they were kidding, sometimes they weren’t. Maybe they’re right. But luckily for me, eventing is not gymnastics. I’m not going to age out, rather I offer, I may instead age ‘in’.
The best way to get better at riding is to ride, but how do you become a better competitor mentally? Competing? I’m not sure it’s that simple. Most of time I’ve ran into trouble with my horses I had ‘jumped the fences’ but was not all there mentally. At times I’d get incredibly frustrated and angry, or just let my own insecurities get away of the performance I am capable of.
I came to a point where I was making the same mistakes in competitions over and over again, and having the same types of reactions. What’s the definition of insanity? “Doing the same same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, I applied for exchange and that’s just the beginning.
Offering my perspective and my writing up to EN was just another step on this journey of mine to find my place in the eventing community as well as another step towards challenging myself and making changes for the future. I hope you can find some similarities between my experiences and yours and I’m looking forward to hearing other peoples stories about how (and why) we all make this crazy sport a part of our lives.