“This is the stuff dreams are made of.”
I have heard this phrase so much throughout my life — in the news, books, Facebook posts and even conversation. However, I never thought about what it meant. What are dreams made of? What makes someone dream? It struck a thought, and sparked an idea.
I wonder what made Michael Jung dream of competing at Rolex? Did he dream it? Did he dream of winning it? Did a young Mark Todd ever look up in wonder at top level competitors and say, “One day I’ll be like them”? Perhaps the greats of our sport were once like the rest of us. Perhaps they all were once young riders looking up in awe at high level competitors, making a silent dream to be at some point compete there as well.
Have you ever finished a ride, and seen a younger competitor smiling your way? Did you notice the Beginner Novice rider watching the 3* in amazement? Did your eye catch the twinkle in theirs? That is the stuff dreams are made of. Dreams are made of the fist pumps after a clean round, the grinning smile after a great test and the squealing “Good boy/girl!!” while landing off an impressive jump. When one person’s dream comes true, another is born.
When I watched young riders in my area medal at NAJYRC, a dream was born to one day be like them. When Michael Jung won the Grand Slam, countless young riders watched and told their coach, “That’s what I want to do.” If this is true, could it be possible that when you jumped through the water on cross country, someone silently told themselves, “One day, that’s going to be me”? I say yes.
Really, we are all just dreamers. Dreamers with work ethic and determination. Everyone starts somewhere. At some point Phillip Dutton was going around his first horse trials. At some point Lauren Kieffer wasn’t 100% how to get her horse on the bit. Everyone starts out not knowing, but dreaming. So who’s to say you aren’t going to make it?
This, again, intrigued me. What decides whose dreams come true, and whose are put to rest? Is it all about natural talent? Is it politics? Does the horse make a big difference? I would say each of these are factors, but there’s something bigger going on. Before Phillip Dutton could start his journey to the Olympics, he needed someone to believe he could get there. Everyone needs someone to believe in their dreams. Someone that sees the light in their eyes and says, “Let’s make this dream come true.”
This is what dreams are made of. Dreams are made of dreamers and believers and hard work and never giving up and trusting undoubtedly. I have seen the light in fellow competitors younger than myself. That twinkle of, “Please me a chance, I want it, too” makes me want to cheer them on more than ever.
This being said, don’t be afraid to help and guide on the younger ones. Help mentor, guide and support so that one day they can be a part of someone else’s dreams. When I first started training with my coach five years ago, I had a dream of competing at NAJYRC. In less than two weeks I’ll head to my first Preliminary, the first leg of my long-time dream. I have had so many coaches, family members and friends believe in my dreams. Without believers, there can be no dreamers.
Investment and encouragement are the supporting legs of success. There are younger riders in my own barn that I adore cheering on. I believe in their dreams of competing, and while I am no coach, I can offer encouragement; we all can. We are all part of the stuff dreams are made of. We all inspire, notice and cultivate it. The more we notice it, the more our sport will grow, and the more young riders will say, “I want to do it like they do.” I personally believe that when a dreamer has a believer backing them, they can do anything.
Keep dreaming, keep believing, and go eventing.