I have a ton of things swirling around in my head as I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to Kalamazoo.
I think I had first heard of Kalamazoo in a children’s rhyme at some point in my life and had just assumed, with a name like that, it was a fictitious place.
I’m hoping it’s real as I’ll be flying into their airport.
As I sit here contemplating my journey I’m not even sure where to start.
I could back up to almost exactly 2 years ago when I arrived in Florida with the WonderPony to follow my life time dream of being a working student for a top eventer.
Or I could go back before that a few years when I had returned to eventing after a decade doing everything else…..
possible with my horses……
jumping over things.
I could travel even further back on the timeline <cough> nearly 40 years ago to my very first event where I fell off at the ditch.
It’s hard to pin point exactly where this tale really begins.
Maybe it’s even earlier when I was a 4 year old drawing pictures of horses and telling my bewildered parents that I had to have a horse or I would just die. I don’t think I’d even seen a horse in person at that point of my life. And for the record they never got me one.
Where DID this obsession come from?
Honestly, that is still a mystery to me.
But here I am, neck deep in it, following my dream.
When I decided the goal was
Rolex Kentucky I didn’t even know what that meant. At that time in my life I’d probably jumped a 3 foot fence once or twice and all I knew was that Rolex was the pinnacle of the sport and what every high achieving eventer wanted to get to. I didn’t even know there was something called Burghley at that point!
It was a little bit like vet school. I just “knew” as a child I wanted to be a veterinarian. It was the only profession I ever considered. I drove straight through 12 years of school, 4 years of undergrad & 4 years of veterinary college without ever having even volunteered for a vet.
I had no idea if I even liked it.
I talk to a lot of people about this sport.
Invariably non-horse types fail to understand the fascination, and when they find out the effort, time and investment it takes to come home with a $2 ribbon they understand even less.
One thing I concluded a long time ago is that is has to be about the journey and not the result.
It takes hundreds or thousands of hours to prepare for 10 minutes of competition.
It can’t only be about the result of that 10 minutes. It has to be about the day in day out journey.
So here I am waiting at the airport for my flight to Michigan. My horses have already arrived at Richland Park and in true princess fashion I’m flying in from my day job.
Just that fact is hard to wrap my head around.
I was doing my last jump school before the horses headed North and I found myself eyeing the hardest combination in the field.
It was described in my last lesson as “an Advanced question, not something you’ll see at a 2 star”. It was a double corner combo and I’d jumped it on my Intermediate horse. #BecausehesaUnicorn
I had jumped smaller, less challenging things on SpiderWoman in our last lesson but I had felt a little disappointed that we didn’t do the “tough one.”
Just that fact gives me pause.
Not too long ago just thinking about jumping a corner made me fairly nauseous.
I found them terrifying.
As I was looking at these corners, fully convinced that I could jump them. And fully convinced that I WANTED to jump them, my head spun a little bit.
When did THAT happen?
The last 6 or 7 years of my eventing life have mostly involved
outright terror fear.
There was a time that going to a competition made me so violently ill and terrified that I really had to consider why I was doing something that was so NOT enjoyable. That was when I started writing this story.
Tales from a Bad Eventer was born completely out of my need to take this entire journey less seriously. If it’s not any fun (and believe me it wasn’t then) there was no point in doing it.
As I told my story and very publicly shared my fears and failures…….it got better.
It helped me remember that all of this is supposed to be fun and if it’s not, I need to change something.
As I was reveling in my most recent success, my first prelim on SpiderWoman…… #Pinkissotheycanfindthebody
several people made negative comments about my achievement. I shouldn’t have “been allowed to take her preliminary”. It was “an example of why the sport wasn’t safe”………My blog isn’t funny………
We won the dressage and jumped clear around cross country finishing in the ribbons. BadEventer had achieved something fabulous. And critics jumped out of the woodwork. A friend of mine said, “Holy cow you have HATERS!”
What’s so funny to me is that after falling off of so many horses, and flaunting my failures on the world wide web, and being decidedly UNSAFE…….
what I get the most “hate” for tends to be my successes. It’s an interesting phenomenon in the horse world. #MeanGirls
The good thing is I haven’t gotten this far in my life by caring what anyone thinks about me. Have you seen my logo?
I ride XC in pink & my horse has sparkles on his feet. Not to mention the shaved in quarter marks. #TeganisaWizard #BadEventGroom
As I fly to Michigan to give a go at my first 2 star……
I think the result doesn’t really matter.
I jumped the advanced corners last weekend, on my own, because I WANTED to.
And it was FUN.
And that is a bigger success than anything that might happen this weekend.
It’s the journey.