Things hadn’t quite been going as planned.
See my last blog Defeat, Doubts & Decisions Part 1, in case you missed it.
After spending way too many hours on the road getting New Jersey toll violations,
and coming back after retiring both 3 star horses on cross country I started having serious doubts.
I’m going to be honest. I’ve never really paid much attention to the FEI calendar.
Let’s face it.
I started out with 2 rider falls and an elimination at my first 3 events as an adult, at TRAINING level.
I was too busy trying not to vomit, and to remember to breathe to even consider wondering how many CCI3*Ls are on the US eventing schedule.
So after completing one of four CCI3*S competitions I had planned, all of a sudden I understood.
I am surrounded in Ocala by serious eventing professionals. These are Olympians and medalists in all kinds of team competitions. And when I start looking at the last time any of them got a horse to a 5* it becomes apparent that this kind of accomplishment isn’t necessarily that related to talent, available time or funding.
It’s a magical combination of preparation and a special alignment of the stars that gets a horse qualified, sound and ready at the exact calendar date you need. Because there just aren’t many of those dates.
And as this reality was dawning on me, I decided the goal had to change.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’ve always believed the journey is more important than the destination.
When you spend hundreds of hours to prepare for 10 minutes of competition those hundreds of hours have to be more important than the end result.
So with my new found awareness of how improbable getting to a 5 star really is I started seriously thinking about changing sports.
Show jumping seems appealing. More show dates than you could ever want. Groomed footing. Less likelihood of, you know, dying. And you can even win money!
I was contemplating changing sports, for something that felt more…..possible.
Meanwhile I was trucking along, training for the next event .
I was having a pretty fantastic day of cross country lessons. It had even rained and taken the edge off the oppressing heat. We jump in the rain. How else will you know how to at a competition?
I was on my last horse of the day cantering towards the coffin and all of a sudden I couldn’t feel my left arm and the world started spinning.
I was pretty sure I was having a stroke, and before I knew it I was leaving in an ambulance.
I’ll spare you the failures of our medical system and that useless ER visit. But I told them I didn’t fall from a horse. Every single document says, “fell from horse.”
Anyway! Within a few days I was having this conversation with a doctor.
Doc: It’s your neck
Me: That’s the wrong answer.
Doc: Well. it’s definitely your neck.
Me: That really isn’t ok, I’m trying to get to the Olympics
Doc: Well. Be that as it is, I recommend “bouncing less”
All of a sudden, my possible “change of sports” was no longer voluntary and I found myself grounded.
Maybe even permanently.
And while that is always a risk with horses, this blind sided me.
I know I don’t want to event forever. I can see the future end of my eventing in my peripheral vision. It’s there. I can feel it.
There will be a day that I decide this part of my life is over and I’ll be ready to move on to the next chapter. I just wasn’t expecting it to be……….. right now.
So I scratched my horses from the next event and spent a couple of weeks
“not bouncing” and contemplating what on earth to do now.
To be continued…………