Evidently, the man who came up with the infamous phrase, patience is a virtue, clearly was not a struggling event rider. Perhaps he dealt with other challenges back in the 13th, or 14th century like the Plague, or The Hundred Years War that lead him to such a saying. Regardless, this patience game is some kind of a double ended sword. In other words, the idea that patience leads towards immense goals and rewards seems luring on one hand, and yet simultaneously daunting at the same time. How can we remain patient when we want certainty, and immediate answers and results? How can we wait around an indefinite amount of time when there’s no guarantee that what we want, and what we most desire in our lives will be waiting for us?
Patience is something that I have been learning about. I have become more patient as the years have gone by, but every now and again I question myself, my riding, my training, my abilities, and basically I question my entire horse obsessed life, in a nutshell. Even though I feel incredibly juvenile saying this, I often wonder to myself when is it going to be my turn? Obviously every rider has traveled up and down various paths that have led them to where they are. I would never in a million years regret my path, but I do from time to time question when it will be my turn. When will I be able to compete at the upper levels? When will I travel up and down the east coast just to compete? When will my horse get his or her passport? When will I get to wear that shadbelly? When will people start watching me, interviewing me, and aspiring to ride like me?
When I was old enough to really understand the sport of eventing, I knew that this was my niche and that someday I would go advanced. Looking back at my teenage years, I was so arrogant, and so blind sighted in so many ways. I thought I would be going Prelim by the time I was 18, and by the time I was 23 I would be going advanced. Well, none of that happened. Unfortunately this boils down to timing, ability, funding, training, and the right horse. In other words, I had none of these things. All I had was ambition.
So all of a sudden, I wake up one morning and realize I am almost 30 years old. I have never competed past Training level and feel like the clock is starting to tick in more ways than I dare to count. Several of my friends that I grew up with have either gone Advanced, or will be going Advanced this summer, which obviously makes me beg the question, why not me? What’s wrong with me…why can’t I do this?
For many of us, these thoughts are quite common. I would love to say that I never compare myself to other riders that I grew up with, or that I care what other people think of my riding. But I do care, and I do compare. It would almost be unnatural to not have these feelings, or to never question your riding. All I know is this: I am absolutely positively head of heals for horses, eventing and the training. I would never trade in my life for anything. Instead of freaking out every second of every day and feeling pathetic and small, I want to stay focused and keep setting goals. So I grew up without having the right horse. So I grew up without any money. So I missed out when I was young. So what? I have the rest of my life to set goals and become the best rider I can become.
I want to dedicate this blog to anyone that feels like they are floundering around in a highly competitive horse world. I want to tell anyone who is questioning what they are doing, to keep going out there and keep practicing. Not everyone’s time is when they are between the ages of 16 and 25. Not all of us had the chance to ride great horses when we were young. Not all of us had mommies and daddies who paid for every entry and every pair of tall boots. Maybe our goals have not been met yet, but this does not mean that our time isn’t waiting for us. If we give up now, we will have lost everything. If we keep pushing through and reaching out towards something (whatever goal that may be) than maybe, just maybe our time will come.