If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say? That’s the topic of an ongoing series by Equestrian Marketing Firm Athletux. Today Team Canada Olympian Jacquie Brooks, dressage coach extraordinaire to many a top event rider, shares her letter.
Happy 8th Birthday!!! Until you turn 40 you are going to say this was the best year of your life! You are swimming competitively and you are sure you are going to the Olympics. You have an amazing teacher, Mrs. Thomas, and she is telling you that you can be anything you want to be! She lets you do a project that ends up taking the entire year, which your parents affectionately call the “everything you never wanted to know about the Olympics” project.
I have some good news and some bad news about that. You’re not going to the Olympics swimming for Canada. But you won’t give up and you will try many sports to find the perfect fit. The good news is you aren’t going to let your Olympic dream die.
Happy 10th!! Guess what? You’re moving to Toronto! Your best friends that you have been swimming with are moving too, so you’re not that upset. Sadly, you will lose touch with them. But don’t worry. You are going to meet a friend named Amanda Ferguson who is going to end up being the connection to that path to the Olympics you are going to spend the next 30 years chasing! Oh, and during the year you are writing this to yourself, a friend is going to reconnect you with your old swimming pal and greatest childhood friend (Cheers Jill Tinmouth and thank you Chloe Gasiorowski)!
Happy 18th! I see you are still chasing the Olympic dream but have decided that university would be a good idea. This is partially because your incredibly wise and wonderful parents have insisted on scholastic performance allowing you this amazing opportunity, but also because after much much pressure, they have offered the purchase of your first horse as your graduation gift!
Happy 21st!! This is going to be a big year! You’ve graduated!! You have your first dog! Jasper will live 17 wonderful years! Remember Amanda who has been your best friend since public school? Well, she is working for a Canadian dressage rider named Ashley Nichol (soon to be Holzer). Ashley has made the Canadian Pan Am Team competing in Cuba. When Amanda can’t go to the Games with Ashley, and you are offered the opportunity to groom for her, take the job!! You’ll pick it up as you go! Jill Macrae will help you and provide you with the Cole’s notes for grooming and it will be the start of the rest of your life!!!!! You will discover dressage at the highest level and, guess what, you will find your sport!
Happy 22nd!! Time to cash in on that degree and go horse shopping! You have no extra money and you want to spend every penny on a horse! You are incredibly lucky to have Ashley and she will arrange for you to meet Tim Dutta and Guido Klatte. Tim will let you work flights to Europe and Guido will invite you into his home for an amazing three-week European horse hunt. You will buy Finnegan, and he will be your catalyst to life long friendships with the Klatte and Dutta families!! You and Ashley will train him right up to Grand Prix and he will introduce you to the biggest shows North America has to offer! You will compete in big CDI competitions including many trips to Dressage at Devon. You will fall in love with freestyles especially when you ride in the World Cup Qualifiers at the Royal Winter Fair. (Oh, and Finnegan will still be eating your money when he is 31 and you are writing this letter to your younger self!)
Happy 33rd. The most amazing thing is going to happen this year. You are going to find a horse named Gran Gesto. He will be owned by a partnership and you are going to be given the opportunity to buy out one partner and keep the other. As important as Gran Gesto will prove to be, your friendship with Anne and John Welch will be even more important. You have spent your life chasing the Olympic dream and it is Sam that will deliver that dream to you and your family. But you will realize quickly that it is the people in your life, that is the most important. Anne will be instrumental in your career. Anne and John will become close personal friends to both you, and your parents, Mary and Eric.
(Sam will also still be eating your money as you write this letter!)
Happy 40th! I see you have been slugging away! Working hard! Teaching and riding from morning to late at night. It’s going to pay off!! You are going to Hong Kong!! You are going to be an Olympian. But, again, you are going to realize it’s not just you. When you go down the center line you are going to see all the faces of the people who have been in your life living the dream with you. Eric and Mary and Anne and John will be there as owners, but so much more. Ashley is there as your coach and your teammate. Lindsay Kellock is there grooming but also as so much more than a groom. Without her entire family, you would not have been so able to focus on this single goal. Everything from taking care of Jasper to making sure you had at least one real meal a day! Your Olympic dream is finally going to come true thanks, in great part, to the people in your life!
Oh, and arguably, the most important thing that happens this year is your introduction to Tucker, your amazing, intelligent, kind, and fun-loving Labradoodle!
Happy 43! You have had an amazing friend named Chris Von Martels for quite a while now. He is going to suggest you try a horse. The horse is strong, opinionated, hot, and confused. Chris is going to tell you he thinks you can make the Olympic Team for London in 16 months. Believe him. You are going to go to your parents and Anne and John Welch and they are going to believe in you. And you are going to realize that the people that get behind this horse, Goose, make this dream happen a second time.
Happy 44!! You and Goose will do it. You will proudly be introduced as a two time Canadian Olympian! London will prove to be the highlight of your life so far! You will spend your summer in England and fall in love with the country and the many Brits you will befriend. Goose will give you the ride of your career and the opportunity to become the first Dressage rider to wear a helmet in Olympic competition! You will be able to slow down and really enjoy every minute of the experience. Your biggest dream will be realized again!
You will continue to chase a third Olympics, and even more every day, you will realize your happiness and goals achieved will be because of the people that travel through this with you. You will meet the breeders of the horses you are privileged enough to ride. Without their dreams, yours would be impossible. You will be given opportunities to learn from incredible trainers but will recognize over and over again the value Ashley Holzer has to offer you as both your coach but also the greatest of friends. The people that you surround yourself with make your life happen. Your Olympic teammates Leslie Reid, David Marcus, and Ashley will forever be in your heart.
Anne and John will continue to make your career possible with their support. And, of course, your greatest supporters will be Eric and Mary, your parents. They will have both instilled in you your will to work and provided you with the opportunity to make that work what you love. They will own your horses, move to a property with a beautiful facility for you to run your business, and provide never wavering, non-stop belief in you. Your closest friends will be neighbors both in Canada and in Wellington, and due to a little thing called the World Wide Web, you will be able to stay close to those that live further away. You will meet so many amazing people through your clinics and lessons. Your life will be full!
Oh. And by the way … the Olympics you will be working so hard to get to in 2020 … you may want to rethink that year and do a little more vacationing and traveling in the early part!
You will be happy! Don’t worry!
Equestrian Marketing Firm Athletux is proud to be one of the longest running agencies in the business, working exclusively with equestrian brands, athletes and events. Athletux understands your audience, utilizing innovative and creative ideas to build your brand and image. By integrating a passion for all things equine with drive and knowledge, you will achieve unparalleled results. Think of Athletux as an extension of your team, providing highly specialized tools to take your business to the next level. Learn more about how Athletux can help you revolutionize your business today. Visit athletux.com for more information, or follow along via social @athletux.