Blogger Contest Round One: Kathryn McLeod

We announced the six Blogger Contest finalists this week, 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.


Choices. We all make them. And sometimes they haunt us, and sometimes they free us.

I am evaluating a choice now, do I move to Richmond to be closer to my current client, or do I move to Aiken and take a chance on a new life? I live north of Boston and as I write this I am in the A terminal at Richmond International Airport, waiting for my delayed flight home. Over the past six months I have been to Richmond 13 times. I have also been to McLean, VA; Plano, TX; Toronto, Chicago and New York. Moving to Richmond will cut out half of my air travel.

Time to ride? What’s that?

As a teen I wanted to “do the horses” after high school, work as a horse professional. In what capacity I did not have a clear picture. But I knew I loved it, and I wanted to be around horses every day. I shared this dream with my mother.

Dismay. Mortification. Do you want to be living hand to mouth all of your life? What kind of a future will you have working in the stables?

It was her tone more than her words which wounded me. The notion that I would disappoint her – shame her – broke my dream. I remember a visceral sensation of shock, that my mother did not share my dream. That my dream was not good enough. That I was not good enough.

I chose to apply to liberal arts colleges and not one equine studies program at any of them. Was I influenced by my mother? Absolutely.

I feel like I have been paying for that choice for 30 odd years. Horses are always the “extra”, the “when it’s affordable”, the “when there is time”.

My flight leaves in 40 minutes. And next Friday my mom turns 80. And there will be a time, soon, for my mother to make a choice, about how she will live out the next phase of her life. I live an hour from my mom, and I take her grocery shopping, to the doctor, and reset her internet connection.

My flight leaves in 39 minutes. And next month my husband is having rotator cuff surgery. So he will need assistance while he wears an air cast, and has to sleep sitting up, and can’t drive. And my horse which became his horse after she kicked me across the paddock (that’s a whole other column), will need to be ridden.

My flight leaves in 38 minutes. And I get paid on Friday so I can pay my mortgage and board and credit card and figure out how to make what’s left over last for two weeks of groceries and gas and a haircut. Living hand to mouth? Absolutely. Just on a larger scale.

The choice I am considering, about where to live, will touch my mom, my husband, my brother, my career. And I sense that this choice will be as profound as the one I made over 30 years ago.

Choices shape our lives, and they will shape our sport. Whether it’s a new name, new rules, or a new format, choices will be made. Who is making those choices and who are they listening to? Are our voices being heard? Does Beginner Novice need to be harder (scarier) so the USET can win Olympic gold? By the close of this decade eventing will be a different sport. Will we react with joy, and eagerness? Or dismay and mortification?

The plane is now boarding.