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 five-star rider and U.S. Eventing Team rider Will Faudree shares her letter.
As I sit down to write a letter to my 15-year-old self my mind starts seeing a movie trailer directed by Tim Burton … A lot of bright colors that you wouldn’t put together but somehow it works so here goes.
I need to talk with you. You spend all your time in the barn, don’t worry it is where you are supposed to be. You are not actually that good at anything else, so I am so proud that you recognize this now and you can focus to make this your career and reality. It’s not going to be easy or smooth the whole time. In fact, a lot of it is going to be hard. Really hard.
I am so proud of the fact that you have shown the passion and drive to be in the barn with a bunch of girls, all the time. In fact, I know — you feel like one of them (this will make sense as you get older).
You have always been the black sheep, and that is OK. That’s why you started taking jump lessons — you will not believe where all those jump lessons are going to take you.
The dreams and hopes you have and write about in every English paper; they are going to come true. You are going to graduate high school, move to the east coast, and pretend to go to college, though it won’t last too long.
You will get a new horse because the ones you brought with bring with you have absolutely no scope and are what you will call as you get older, leg hangers.
This new horse will change your life. He will take you to your first five-star, he will take you to your first senior team and win team gold! You will even get to do Badminton and Burghley. You will go to Athens as the traveling reserve and even place 4th with the Team at the WEG in Aachen. This is all going to happen by the time you are 24 with not a lot of knowledge of how you got there or how he got you out of the distances you got him to.
The friendships and advice you will get will shape who you become. You will be told that your success is all because of your horse. That will be true, but what you may not know at the time and what I want you to remember is what this horse teaches you. Your work ethic, your drive, your focus. That is what you will gain and take to many other horses in your future.
One thing I want you to remember is not to ever expect one horse to fill the shoes of the next. That is advice you will get from an Icon. You will have more success, but you will hit the ground a lot more than you bring home the blue. There will be great heartache from the horses. Remember with great success comes great responsibility and with heartache, there will be a lot of pain, in all aspects (especially when you break your neck). There will be more heartache than success, and you know what? That is OK, because it makes the good even better. It is all worth it. Don’t ever forget that.
Your life outside the horses will remind you why you keep yourself consumed with the horses. Remember when you were young and loved being at the barn with all the girls … well that’s because you’re gay. It will take you until your 30s to be able to tell your family. Give them time, it took you 30 years to accept yourself. You will fall in love, you will get your heart broken. Always Love hard, but don’t ever become hardened.
The hardest thing you will ever have to do is carry your sister’s casket to the grave, you will rely on everything your horses have taught you to get you through this. All of the friendships you have made, that work ethic, drive, and focus. You will never stop celebrating her, missing her, or loving her. You will continue to cherish and champion your family, and you’ll give one hell of a best man speech at your brother’s wedding to his high school sweetheart.
The horses you will get to meet, they are all amazing. Enjoy them, learn from them, listen to them, remember to always accept, and never expect. This is true for all areas of your life. Never lose your soft side.
You are going to be left off teams when you think you should be on them and likewise, you will be put on some that you don’t see coming. Keep believing in what you do. Keep dreaming, keep wishing. Keep your head up through the hard parts … It is a beautiful life.
P.S. You will never be able to sing well, really sorry.
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