Blogger Contest Round One: Ashley Hebrank

We announced the six Blogger Contest finalists today, and now we’re bringing you each submission from Round 1 here on Bloggers Row. We will be posting all six entries over the next few days, so be sure to check them out and leave your feedback in the comments.

All entries will be reprinted without editing for fairness’ sake. Thanks again for your support and readership, EN! We are thrilled to have such quality entries yet again this year.

Keep Calm and Blog On


Ode to Eventing, Thanks to a Broken Leg

Lessons learned through Eventing are not exclusively relevant to sport. They carry over into other aspects of life until it’s a lifestyle. That’s right, it’s a lifestyle. Have you ever given yourself a pep talk and then noticed it sounds very similar to the one you give yourself before leaving the start box? You know, you’re sitting at your desk at work trying to solve a problem or envision your perfect presentation like “normal” people and suddenly, your pep talk triggers flashbacks to the last time you were out on course when it was raining and you REALLY had to ride to get home safely. Eventers are a special group for many reasons. We all seem to have many of the same character traits and ideas. We do whatever it takes to get the job done whether that’s on course, providing impeccable horse care, or overcoming struggles outside of horses.

So, what makes us so special? I’ve been pondering this very question a lot recently. That’s probably because I’ve been temporarily condemned to the sidelines recovering from a broken leg. I’m sure Boyd Martin and many others can empathize. People keep telling me to rest and stop trying to do so much.

Who has time to rest? I have a full-time job, a home, a dog and, of course, a horse to take care of. Until now, I’ve had little appreciation for the ability to complete simple tasks like grocery shopping, walking the dog, or managing my horse’s foot abscess on my own. At this point all tasks are carefully performed one-legged, and walking him from his stall is challenging because I depend on a walker to move around.

On the bright side, I have experienced my horse’s immense patience and kindness again. He just rolls his eyes and patiently takes one step at a time next to me during the slow journey to the wash stall.

Eventing is heavily scrutinized, but we know the truth as insiders of the sport. The significance truly lies in the relationships. Most notably, the unwavering relationships with our horses formed through years of diligent care, countless trot sets, early mornings, late nights, traveling, winning, losing, falling and, most importantly, getting back up. We experience true highs and lows in this sport. It’s brutal at times, but we’ve learned to keep riding and fighting for the betterment of our horses and ourselves–the ultimate in competitive spirit.

The relationships with horse friends are also imperative to coping with life. These are the people waiting for you at the barn with encouragement, cocktails, candy, and the willingness to pick you up off the ground or help out with various horse-related tasks when you’re physically unable or otherwise engaged (trapped at work). I met most of my closest friends through horses. We’ve spent significant time together enjoying horses and surviving the lows. Let’s be honest…horse friends are the only ones who understand the excitement and importance of finding the new and improved wheelbarrow and will bring you coffee in the middle of the night while you sit with your injured horse. Non-horsey people just don’t get it despite their efforts to identify with our plight.

The will to persevere was instilled in me by our sport, and I am forever grateful for that. In building and finding strength in relationships with the horses and horse friends, I have simultaneously built a better relationship with myself; one which has taught me to push myself to overcome whatever stands in the way of getting back in the saddle.