Emma Young, a freshman Equine Business Major at Otterbein University, rides on her intercollegiate dressage and eventing teams, and also fox hunts. She reflects on this recent turn of events below. View Emma’s previous blog entries here.
Six weeks ago I was in Aiken with my college eventing team. We were showing, cross country schooling, and having the time of our lives with no idea how drastically our lives were about to change. Just one short week later I was home not sure what was going on, when I would be going back to school, or how this would affect my show season. A few days later my school moved all classes online for the remainder of the year and I moved out of my freshman dorm a month and a half early. Along with that news, the remainder of my riding lessons were canceled, my IDA (Intercollegiate Dressage Association) season was done, and I was making arrangements for my horse to leave my college barn.
My heart breaks for those who have had even more loss than me. I feel for fellow classmates and friends who had to leave behind the horses they lease. I’m so sad for the seniors who had planned so much for their last couple months only to have the reality of the end come early. It’s awful that there are so many goals that have been broken and shows that will never be. My heart aches for everyone who has had to leave so much behind.
The past month has been a whirlwind of emotions and happenings. Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) did I expect my riding season or freshman year of college to end this way. During these weeks I’ve continued to work on my schoolwork, drill my dressage, and most importantly reflect on how I’m never going to take a moment for granted again.
I’m never going to take riding lessons or horse shows for granted again. I’m never going to take car rides and trips to the tack store for granted. I’m going to enjoy every second I can be around horses and people and when we aren’t all six feet apart. I promise I won’t complain about 8 a.m. lectures or nights I’m up until 1 a.m. studying. I’ll just be happy to be at school. I won’t be frustrated with traffic jams or restaurant waits. I won’t complain about having work. I’ll just be happy that business is thriving, that people are out, and that I can make money again.
I promise as things return to normal to remember these times when we lost everything normal about our lives. I won’t forget missing my friends or in person classes. I won’t forget missing lines and stores and traffic. I won’t forget the feeling of not being able to hug those I love or being with my family on Easter. I won’t forget this time when the best way to care for those I love was to stay away from them. Everytime we get to be with loved ones and do something we love we are so lucky.
I can’t wait until we can gallop around cross country and ride down the centerline again. I can’t wait until I can see my friends in person and not just on a screen. I can’t wait until there are more social media posts in my feeds about horse shows and celebrations and congratulatory messages than there are about sadness and social distancing. I can’t wait to hug my Grandma, to eat in a crowded cafe, to watch Kentucky in person, to fox hunt, to horse show, to ride with friends, to go to stores, to go to potlucks, to go to school again. Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” But this isn’t goodbye.
I’ll get to do everything I miss again someday. It might take time for people to hug. It might take time for there to be crowds again. It might take time to financially be able to do everything we did before. It might take some time, but when everything returns to normal and we start complaining about school and work and crowds remember how you felt when those things were non-existent.
As we are slowly released back into the world again I promise to never take a moment for granted.