If you’re following my LandSafe Clinic reprisal never fear there is more to come!
But this weekend has been so outstanding I had to interrupt that story briefly.
In all of my horse endeavors I’ve always considered “winning” to be………
kind of like winning the lottery. Winning the lottery = VERY improbable, and very nearly impossible.
I buy those lottery tickets, so I’m at least entered in the game. And sometimes I’ll get a number right, or even three! Maybe I’ll get enough payout to buy 2 or 3 more tickets, but it’s still not a win.
I competed in endurance for about 10 years. I had a very competitive horse, and we had a TON of 2nd place or top 5 finishes. There were plenty of times I could have raced someone to the finish but I usually erred on the side of “finishing” over winning. I remember one time in particular the finish line was across 400 meters of knee deep mud. And no I’m not exaggerating, it was a literal BOG. Two of us had led the last 10 miles and when I saw the finish line I told the other rider there was no way I was galloping across that and I was happy for her to win and me to take 2nd. She definitely did NOT believe my good intentions……..
and she kicked her horse & went careening, slipping and sliding and struggling through the field at a sort of “swimming” canter. I was pretty mad, actually make that unbelievably mad, because my pony tried to follow her craziness and all I could imagine was him bowing a tendon or ripping off a shoe and us not completing because of her lack of faith. She won. I was 2nd, just like I told her.
When I had the choice I almost always chose caution. In endurance the motto is “to finish is to win” and I chose the “finish” as the better option.
In my entire endurance career which involved a LOT of miles I only ever won once. All the stars aligned, my horse was in perfect condition, and the last mile of the ride was on good footing. It was the one and only time that I decided to “go for it”.
Here we are early the morning of our win. You can see by the photo that was <cough> 1997!
My eventing record has been a bit less competitive.
And I’ll say right here, while my CHOICE in endurance was often to choose 2nd over risking not completing…….. my eventing overall was never a choice, I was just BAD.
Tales from a Bad Eventer, was born out of my absolutely legitimate, and often epic failures at my chosen sport. I was SO bad at eventing, that’s why I switched to endurance because after years of failure I just couldn’t stomach getting eliminated AGAIN.
Endurance was simple, there were no dressage judges, and no ditches to fall off at! All I had to do was condition my horse. Piece of cake.
But somehow, I just couldn’t stay away from eventing. And after a 10 year hiatus I found myself, once again falling off at ditches.
Same day. Same channel.
Honestly, as an adult I quickly got tired of being so miserably bad at my chosen sport. The past few years have been a never ending quest to correct that.
I ended up with the most incredible horse. A horse that in his entire eventing career of 9 years and 76 recognized competitions, never once had a stop on cross country.
But even with this super horse of super horses. We didn’t win.
Well…… in 5 years and 26 competitions we won ONCE. It was much like my endurance win. All the stars happened to align on that day. It was in the first few months that I owned him, and it never happened again………..
A year & 1/2 ago I arrived in Florida to be the World’s-Oldest-Working-Student. And nearly immediately I noticed how many blue ribbons this group brought home. They were always pleased when they won, but it was no epic event in their lives because they win ALL the time.
I started thinking about what it takes to put in a consistent, solid performance, week in and week out. And wondered what it would feel like to believe that I could do it, week in and week out. To have so much skill that I might get “another” blue ribbon. I’ve been in this sport for 35 years, and actively competing for 25 of them. I have one blue ribbon. Even as a child, I was the queen of 2nd place.
For the record, that’s a PURPLE 7th place ribbon.
This weekend has already involved a lot of FIRSTS.
I was first after dressage on the Zebrasaurus.
That was a first.
We jumped double clear in show jumping
and that marked the first time EVER (and no I’m not kidding) that I won the dressage and was STILL winning after show jumping.
That alone was a feat enough I considered just calling it a win and going home!
something I NEVER imagined would EVER happen happened………….
I won the dressage on Baby T-Rex.
BadEventer, who can’t sit the trot to save her life, came out this weekend as DQ (Dresssage Queen) extraordinaire?
THEN! Another FIRST……
for the 2nd time in my life (in the space of 24 hours) I was leading after show jumping on TWO horses!
BadEventer was headed to cross country at the top of the leader board on TWO horses………..
How did THAT happen??