Those Things We Deem Impossible

Skybreaker jumping 4'9" a few days ago!

I remember one of the most challenging courses I took at St. Lawrence was an Ethics class my sophomore year. I use to aggressively take notes, to the point where I would have to bring several extra pencils to class each day. I was fascinated by the subjects we discussed and was determined to get a good grade. The professor was known as someone who rarely gave out A’s. I knew I was struggling in her course, especially after the first exams were handed back to us. I couldn’t believe it, I received a failing grade. Our final grade was comprised of three exams. That’s it. Nothing else. No extra credit. No small assignments. NOTHING but three exams covering a wide range of material, and I had just flunked exam #1….OUCH.

After my first pathetic attempt at one of her exams, I received that dreaded email asking me to come sit down and discuss options. My professor was definitely not someone who sugar coated anything. She was blunt and to the point. Lila, you failed your first exam. You only have two chances to significantly bring up your grade. I would strongly suggest dropping my course. Of course, I started crying and I said NO…I will NOT drop your course. I will pass. Not only did I pass her course, but I was one of the few students who received a “B”. She must have been just as shocked as I was.

In life, often times we think we cannot accomplish certain tasks. Sometimes we convince ourselves we cannot do A, B, C, D. Sometimes we are told we cannot do A, B, C, D. There are always certain things we deem impossible. I grew up thinking that jumping was scary. I was so deathly shy when I was a kid, that I was more afraid to tell my trainer that I was scared to jump, than to actually jump. I also was told by several different trainers that I would never go beyond novice because I was too timid and scared.

Eventually I grew to love jumping and galloping, but in the back of my mind I could hear trainers say you are not a good enough rider to ever go prelim, or to even jump a big jump for that matter. They would say there is nothing wrong with never going beyond training level. I started to convince myself that this was the way it was going to be, even though I really wanted more from myself and from my horses.

A couple days ago, two girls came over for a lesson at Tamarack. I was jumping Skybreaker and we ended up jumping one of the biggest jumps I have ever jumped (about 4’9”). It was just a vertical, one stride to an oxer that kept growing as the lesson went on. Several thoughts came to me as I jumped off Skybreaker and ran my stirrups up. 1) What an absolutely incredible horse….he just jumped that oxer like it was nothing. 2) This horse gives me tremendous confidence and 3) I can do things I thought were never possible.

Thinking to myself...Good God...I just jumped that

Here I thought it was going to be an ordinary lesson. Turned out to be one of the coolest days of my life. I jumped an enormous jump, which I never thought I could do, and I am riding a horse I never dreamed I would be riding. All in all, a pretty incredible day. I think it’s really important to dream big and push yourself as much as you want. I think it’s important to not constantly doubt yourself, your capabilities, your riding, or your horse. Don’t allow others to knock you down either. I waited about twenty years to sit on a horse like Skybreaker and jump a jump that size, even though I spent the majority of my riding career jumping small jumps and being told I would probably only be a training level rider (if that). News flash-I have done and will continue to do things people deem to be impossible…so why can’t you?!


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