It’s Not All About Me

GMHA Team Jumper Challenge 2015. Winning 3'6 GMHA Team Jumper Challenge 2015. Winning 3'6" Team.

Yesterday afternoon, Michael Bateman’s gargantuan horse van pulled in the driveway at Tamarack Hill Farm just in time to load all nine horses, boxed up items, hay, wheelbarrows, etc. before we lost precious light.

I’ve been a part of the Tamarack “crew” for almost ten years now, so I’ve seen this van a number of times, and yet the arrival and departure always amazes me in more ways than I can calculate. The sheer size of this trailer would make any person’s jaw drop. The ability to drive one of these enormous metal boxes also deserves a round of applause, not to mention the stress involved maneuvering the van, and being held responsible for dearly loved critters in the back.

Within what felt like a nanosecond, all the accumulated “stuff” sat right there in the barnyard, including the horses, and then all of a sudden everything just vanished. Nothing and nobody was around. I found myself in the barn aisle alone, tending to some last minute cleaning of stalls, sweeping and such, and understandably had some time alone with my thoughts.

Normally this time of the year makes me feel abandoned and incredibly sad. Most of my friends and their horses head to warmer climates to continue training, schooling, and competing while I am “stuck” in (what will soon be) the frozen tundra. Normally I feel pretty low when the van leaves and one of my best friends heads to Southern Pines, and I cannot help but feel low and slightly depressed.

Usually I feel incredibly negative and pathetic this time of the year. The summer season is so evidently over. No more competitions anytime soon. No summer docktails with friends, while we sit on a deck overlooking the pond, ducks, and horses on the hillside. No more long hacks up the mountains in VT. No more jumping outside and no more t-shirts.

Although this time I had some different thoughts. In lieu of recent catastrophic events, namely in Paris, I cannot and will not feel anything at this time for myself. Hundreds of innocent lives were stolen in a heartbeat and even more lives are struggling on a daily basis.

Refugees are being turned away while more blood baths and destruction occur which can be witnessed via the internet, radio, news channels, and even more devastatingly can be witnessed first-hand. How could I stand there and feel bad for myself, or lonely when such evil prevails and when such horrible things are happening to people not that far away?

At this time I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing family, friends, trainers and people who believe in me. I have a roof over my head and I am lucky enough to be able to ride horses basically for a living.

I am beyond lucky and appreciative of the good fortune that has come my way. I cannot dwell in what I don’t have. I cannot think about anything missing in my life. I am lucky to have a life, while others were ripped away from them for reasons beyond what I’m capable of understanding.

If you are sitting reading this now, please take a second to think about how lucky you are as a rider, a trainer, or a student. Think about all those positive things in your life and be grateful.

Think about paying it forward and helping others. Think about lending a hand. Think about doing something completely altruistic and wanting no recognition in return. Think about making a difference in this world, even at the most basic or minute level. Every positive action can make a difference. Even if only in this moment, please let’s stop thinking about ourselves.