The Small Moments

Photo by Emma Young.

I was listening to the song “Moments Like This” by The Afters and I realized how important the small moments are. The big important things in life are how we often define our lives. We let our jobs and our schools and our accomplishments define us. We always think that we will be satisfied if we can reach just one level higher, score just two places better, get a horse that will take us just that much farther. We do everything in our power to reach these big goals. While these big moments are important and they do in a way define our lives, I think that the small moments are what truly matter the most.

Looking back on the four years I got to spend with my last horse I don’t reflect on the years of dressage scores in the 40s. I don’t reflect on how many ribbons were won or lost. The moments I think of first aren’t even the ones that I thought were most important at the time. The moment that I think about is the foxhunt that he took off with me and I had no brakes. I think about the night I found out my Grandma had passed and I found him in his field and just hugged him. I think about the early morning before the Blessing of the Hounds spent making his braids look as perfect as I could. I think about the moment that I finally got him over the ditch in a clinic. I think about some of our bareback rides. I think about hacking him back to the barn after a cross country round at Tryon just enjoying nature and being so thankful he was my horse.

Photo by Emma Young.

I had the most amazing working student experience. When I reflect on it now I think of some of the big moments, but not first. First I think about when I finally figured out lead changes on a canter set. I think about the moments spent hacking horses down the road listening to music. I think about dinners at the local Mexican restaurant. I think about grabbing milkshakes with other working students after a busy day. I think about watching Pau on a live stream at a jumper show. The big moments were super important and mattered a lot to my experience, but they weren’t what made my day like the small ones.

The big moments are what we post about on social media. They are what we tell everyone about. But so many of our most special moments haven’t been captured on camera. Typically these moments aren’t even big enough to talk about, but they make our lives whole. It’s like a moment at my last show: I was in the back of the cross country field with only the jump judge to see, but suddenly everything just felt like it clicked as we navigated a ditch, a brush, and a bank. I’ll remember the feeling forever even without a video.

Photo by Emma Young.

It’s the moments when I almost fall off and then have the best flat ride ever. It’s when I miss to a fence and the horse I’m riding saves me. It’s when something finally clicks between me and my new horse. It’s the moments spent in the stall after cross country icing my horse’s legs. It’s the moments spent hand walking a horse at a show. It’s the beautiful sunrises I’ve gotten to experience.

I have big goals. I want to event at least to Prelim someday. I want to be a leader of some kind of a foxhunting club someday. I want to qualify for the AECs. I want to win a few shows. I want to be able to ride any horse I get on well.

However, it’s the small moments on my way to achieving those goals that make life. It’s the quiet moments I’ll spend hand-grazing my horse. It’s the hours I’ll spend watching others ride. It’s the jump schools where everything will click all at once. It’s the lunches spent with my mentors. It’s the hacks with my friends. It’s the small moments. It’s like the song says, “We live for moments like this.”