This was my first winter experiencing the winter circuit of Show Jumping in Florida. My grandpa once told me that horses are half bad luck and half good luck.
I experienced both kinds of luck on two of Florida's circuits, competing in Ocala and Wellington with my 6 year old mare.
Going into the experience I was headed to Wellington with big dreams and excitement. For those who don't know Wellington, or for anyone who has not experienced it for themselves it is like going to Disney World for a horse person. Everything from the decor in the restaurants to cross walks on the city streets are horse related. Wellington is also where many famous names such as Eric Lamaze, Margie Engle, Jessica Springsteen, Ian Millar, Rodrigo Pessoa, and many more call their home for the winter season. There was so much to learn, absorb, watch, and see. My eyes were huge for the excitement and my dreams stayed big.
Like the saying goes though, "all that glitters is not gold." Being immersed in the spotlight of show jumping puts a lot of pressure on everyone. You and the horses have to work very hard for many hours, every day to compete with all the great riders and horses housed in Wellington.
For me it meant more than just working hard to be there. I had to sacrifice time away from people I loved. I missed Christmas, my brother's birthday, the passing of our family's dog, seeing my best friend when she was home to visit from New York, and probably a lot more I don't even know about. While missing my family, my horse and I weren't finding success either and the people around me were making my dreams difficult. Luck was not on our side. I grew a lot from my time in Wellington and learned a lot about myself. Leaving circuit early I felt lost in the sparkles of my dreams and the realities of what I was missing the most.
Luck found me again in a series of events that brought me to the Ocala circuit. I was again surrounded by good people and one of my life heros.This brought clarity to my hopes and dreams around horses, and I began to see my place in the sport more clearly.
I learned that I need to love every day and what is inside of the day. Not just love the location I am at, or even the sport of show jumping. That is not enough. I love horses too much and my family too much to chase the sport around the world sacrificing them.
What brings me the most happiness is when I can develop a horse at the pace that is right for them, and I can help that horse be the best they can be. I love training and I love to nurture a horse along to their potential without time constraints. This is very valuable knowledge as I look forward into not just the near future but for years ahead.
Now when I make my goals I will protect my horses first. For this summer circuit I plan to continue to develop my mare and look for another special horse along the way to help flourish. I also want to allow myself to learn to improve myself along the way. This is something that I often forget to do as I focus so much on the goal or the horse.
I am looking forward to going home soon and catching up with the people and animals I love and have missed. I am excited to put my energy into the lessons I have learned in Florida. I am thankful for the good people I have found and the friendships I have made. Through good luck and bad luck I am lucky to say I can now build a life around loving my days.
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