Erin Critz: Everyone is Going to Rebecca (Except for Me)

Erin Critz is our recently-crowned winner of the 2013 EN Blogger Contest.  She is currently enjoying her cash and prizes on vacation in the Caribbean… no, actually, she’s busy cleaning chinchilla cages and bringing John another can of Mtn Dew with a Mickey Mouse curly straw.  In all seriousness, we are proud and very excited to have Erin as a member of the writing team and we look forward to the fun she will bring to the site.  

Erin Critz is a former radio DJ, current IT professional and recovering Hunter/Jumper rider. Erin and her Morgan mare Akira Beijing compete in the Beginner Novice division on the West Coast. She aspires to tackle the N3D at Rebecca Farms in 2014 and finds writing 50 word bios challenging.

It is very busy at Dragonfire as Team DF prepares to make the annual trek from California to Rebecca Farms in Montana. Jenny has something like four rides, Earl is taking at least one, Caroline is going, Cori, Sophia, Megan and Taylor too. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few names at this point, but seriously just about the entire crew from Dragonfire is going. My internet friends are making plans for lunch over Facebook and it seems like everywhere I look there is some sort of count down to the big event or another repost of that totally sweet commercial.

Yes, it seems like everyone is going – except for me.

In mid-June when the pre-Rebecca chatter started picking up I thought to myself “Oh, I’ll just take a day off of work and fly out for a long weekend. If I can’t get the extra day off, I’ll just pop out for Cross-Country and pop back the next morning.” It seemed so perfect – a fun little jaunt over to Eventer-Vegas to cheer on Team DF and slip in some shopping. A few days, then a week, then two passed – I was preoccupied with work and all of that other ordinary life stuff that gets in the way of planning fun things. When I finally sat down to price out tickets for my little endeavor I was dismayed to find that tickets to a very small airport on very short notice were exactly as expensive as I should have expected them to be. I checked other airports – even considered renting a car and driving a few hundred miles from a larger airport. No matter what acrobatics I did with airports and car rentals, I was still looking at shelling out an unreasonable amount of money to get there. Unreasonable? No – obscene.

So I’m staying home. And that’s not a bad thing – staying home means that I can throw the money I’d originally budgeted for a plane ticket back in to the horse show or horse trailer fund. Staying home means I can avoid the panic that comes when I realize I’ve forgotten to repair the zipper in my tall boots. (As a side note, I don’t know why that zipper repair keeps getting put off – my tall boots are in my car, I drive past the shoe place every day on the way to the barn. It takes all of ten minutes to stop in, fill out the little form, run my debit card and get on with my day. Pick up takes maybe three minutes, and boom – no panic attack before my next event.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be going but this is not a pity party. This is a moment of action because most importantly, staying home means I can start to sketch out a plan about how to get from my here and now to there a year from now.

There will be challenges, no doubt. Physically, I’m overweight and out of shape. I have a desk job that keeps me tied to a computer all day, a fierce addiction to Pepsi and an amazing ability to find something more pressing when the opportunity to go to the gym arises.

Mentally, I am still sorting out my feelings about down banks. It baffles me that they weren’t a worry as a kid, and now as an adult I find them so unpleasant, especially when I don’t really have a reason or an event to anchor that feeling in. I don’t even know what to call my down bank “thing.” Phobia is not the right word. Aversion is the closest I can come up with, maybe malaise, but I can’t nail it down to something I can name. Admittedly, down banks are getting easier. The self-imposed exposure therapy and good-natured antagonism from my friends all seem to be working but I want another run or two before I move up to Novice.

Also, lest we forget – horses like to injure themselves at inopportune times or when you’ve made plans. These technically count as plans and so I should expect to see my vet’s smiling face soon. As if that wasn’t enough – Money. The cost to haul to Rebecca Farm and back is not something I’ll be able to gloss over as just another horse show expense when my husband realizes the full scope of this endeavor.

There are challenges, yes – but I can get there from here. It isn’t an unattainable goal. I’ve three hundred sixty-five days to make steps towards the goal. All of the core elements are in place – the desire, a capable horse, trainers that are top rate, a best friend to join me on my quest and a supportive barn family to help keep me motivated. I might even be able to improve my Dressage between now and then or at least come up with a new punchline.

The path to get from here to there is really a series of goals – get stronger, get fitter, regain some of the edge I had as a fearless seventeen-year-old –-and pursuing them together as part of the larger goal will result in a better me. I’m pretty awesome as it is, but there’s always room for improvement. Even if I don’t make it there next year to compete, that’s okay – adventure and a better me is calling.

Go Team DF. Go Goals. Go Eventing.

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