I think there must be a fine line between being adventuresome and being unfocused. Unfortunately, I haven't yet been able to distinguish between the two. My boyfriend used to say that I dreamed too big; he's a realist in nature, perhaps with a healthy dose of pessimism. He obviously didn't grow up in the same rainbow covered world that I did. I blame my father for allowing me my unrelenting belief that we can be or do whatever we want; if we simply decide it and pursue it.
And so, I have a lot of dreams. Age has tempered me some. When I was in high school and we had to write about our futures, I proclaimed I'd A. Own a castle with a stable full of famous race horses in Ireland B. Marry the president of the united states (since I couldn't become president myself) and C. Have 6 children all whom would grow up to be doctors or lawyers. That was high school. In grade school I thought I might just own an entire island and act as overlord of all the people there...
Okay, age thankfully has tempered me a lot.
But I still suffer from bouts of "dreaming big". My failed attempts has taught me that while for some people, "realistic" goals help them move forward, I need BIG dreams. And am quite happy to end up with more reasonable accomplishments because of them. I don't own a castle in Ireland full of race horses, but I do own a beautiful parcel of land where one day my ONE special horse will reside, next to my reasonable sized home, which to me, will always be my castle.
I didn't wind up marrying the president of the united states. I technically haven't wound up marrying anyone. I remind him of that a lot... ; ) But I did find a man who could lead an army or protect me from any financial or physical war that might reach this planet. So who needs a president?
Sanity allows me to realize I no longer want 6 children. In my youth, I just liked a lot of names, so needed a lot of children...Life is simpler when you don't have to A. Bare them, B. Raise Them, C. Send them off to college.
Where am I going with this?
I'm seriously considering attending a clinic in 3-Day Eventing this summer. "Meet the Fences" as it's called.
Why would I even consider this?
I want to try everything. I want to dream big. It's about being able to explore the whole world of horse-sport with my horse. I dream that he can take us anywhere, though I'm realistic enough to know that we might not be stellar when we get there. We might not even be good or decent.
I wonder how many of us, jaded by time, stop dreaming big? We release those ideas that we could be the President, the ruler of a small dictatorship (maybe forgetting about this one is for the better...) or owning a stable full of race horses. Because we know that there's a good chance our dreams will never come true. And that's kinda sad. Kinda hard to accept. Better not to dream so large, then suffer the disappointment.
How much do we lose out on because of it? Maybe instead of a stable full of race horses, you just buy a 1/4 share in a local race horse. You win a whopping $100 and watch him race all summer long. Some day, looking back on your life, some says "Remember when you said you were gonna own all them race horses? Hahaha". You can smile proudly and say "I owned one. Dark brown filly name Oneforthemoney. 100 bucks and a 100 memories richer. Yeah, I did that."
You don't make president, but you get an awesome job leading a national campaign. Maybe instead of 6 kids, you start an evening program where you help 6 horseless kids fall in love with them? And realize that even though they're not of your blood, they're "your kids" and you're darn proud of them. One might even grow up to be a vet or a lawyer or something.
My point being, is that we shouldn't shy away from the big dreams, because we don't think we'll be successful. And we shouldn't hang back because we don't think we'll be famous or awesome or even reasonably good. What's the old adage? "You never know until you try." Try. Try it. Just once.
Showmanship, Horsemanship. Barrels, Roping, Reining, Team Penning, Trail class, rail class. Hunters, jumpers, and road hack. Hunt seat, dressage, wessage, eventing. Fox hunting. Polo. Both slow and fast, indoors and out. Racing. Quarter, thoroughbred and standardbred. Driving. Sulkies, chariots and chuckwagons. Just give them a try. Once. Don't care what others say because you're wearing a borrowed lycra show shirt with last year's sequin colors. Or that you hand-made your chariot in your backyard in the city and it tilts downward because you never did get to test-fit it to your horse. Play polo on your 17hh Friesien and just duct tape two mallets together so you don't have to reach down so far. Jump without worrying you're in an AP saddle instead of a CC, chase cows without ever expecting to catch one.
We need a world where people don't turn up their noses because you haven't done this before and you're not any good. We need a world that encourages everyone to strike out and try something new. Something they've been dreaming about trying their whole life, but never had a chance. And now is too scared to.
Two years ago, after dreaming my whole childhood of being a gymnast (I was obsessed...used to vault over the couch much to my mother's distaste), I took a beginner's gymnastic class. It was weird, yes. There were a lot of younger people there and I didn't venture into the full body suit. But you know what? I LOVED it. I even discovered that even though it's a mens-only apparatus, I'm awesome on the rings. And I'm darn proud of it. The first lesson was a real struggle, but to this day I am beyond proud that I did it. Vault, balance beam, uneven bars. I TACKLED that stuff! Have you?
Don't ever let YOU hold yourself back. Don't let fear of being judged or watched or ridiculed stop you. How can we look at the next generation and say "You can do anything" if we're too scared to try ourselves?(These ladies did...even if they're too tall, too old...)
It is this belief that has me compelled to take my pony to an eventing clinic this summer. It's a greenie "I've never seen a log on the ground and been asked to jump over it" type clinic, for those who've never evented in their lives. I suspect, a lot of people at least have hunter/jumper backgrounds, but I don't want that to stop me. As long as we can safely get over a jump, I don't want to worry about what skills others already have.
But why eventing?? That comes out of the blue you must think. Especially with my horse and his renowned jumping skills (let's not mention my own...).
When I was a kid (there's many such stories) I got my first Grand Champions model horse (Breyers were much too expensive in those days). He was an attractive buckskin gelding named "Victory" (I promptly renamed him "Victory Gallop") and his little notecard read that he was a successful cross-country eventer. At that point in time, I knew nothing of cross-country but since my "first horse" was one, I'd best learn more about it. And I did. And fell in love. Both with this silly little tan painted horse and his imaginary success in the sport.
Eventing is the only way the locals can try their hand at Cross-Country. And Cross-Country is what makes my eyes light up and my pulse race a little faster. Follow me to this imaginary adventure...(a replica of my first model horse...mine now suffers a broken hind leg after a cross-country accident. Thankfully, my "veterinary" dad was able to save the leg with copious amounts of glue, leather wrapping and a promise to retire from the sport...)
Where your horse gallops across wide open fields, the grass swaying in the soft early summer breeze, the sun beating down on your helmeted head. In front of you over the rise appears a large log and you boldly canter your horse towards it, only to fly over and continue your gallop over the broad landscape that stretches out before you. The birds call, the crowds quietly clap and yet the only sound that reaches your ears is the steady drumming of your horse's hooves...
(image removed as causing inaccurate stat counts...Google image searches DO NOT qualify as people actually interested in this blog!)
<This should be a picture of a gorgeous horse sailing over a huge log....>
Does it not sound heavenly?My vision ^^ of Cross-Country jumping...
Now, in reality, I imagine for Moon and I it would be more...simple.
Moon gallops like the nutter he is in the open field, me clinging to him trying to peer over his shoulder for potential gopher-holes which I fear would lead to his demise. A log, a mere 12" off the ground rises before us and I come to the realization that neither of us are jumpers. And he either bounds ridiculously over the fence or we both come to a grinding halt before it. Hopefully still together.
<This should be a picture of a horse stopping at a log, and the rider flying over them onto the ground>
Yes, this ^^ would be me, with my horse stopping at the sight of a potted pine tree....
<And THIS should be a picture of a huge horse going a$$ over tea-kettle over an even bigger log...and rider following suit>
I was initially going to use this ^^ picture, but realized there's ZERO chance I'd jump anything that large. Nor would Moon even let me try...
My adult mind tells me the whole thing is foolish and silly. I'll embarrass myself, people will point and giggle and poor Moon will be teased. But that kid who played with her little buckskin model horse still wants to have a try at it. She doesn't care that others don't think her horse is "fancy enough" to manage. She believes in him. She doesn't care that she'll have to borrow a used protective vest or that she might end up making good use of it. She believes in herself. And she does not care if she doesn't succeed...because she knows she did what others are too scared to even try. And she wishes they weren't, so she'd have more dreamers to ride along with.
<Picture of pony and rider jumping a tiny log, successfully>
Who knows, THIS ^^ could be us someday...maybe even tomorrow if we only try.