I thought about calling this blog “Skin Cancer & Compression Socks”.
If you’ve followed my social media at all, you’ve probably seen that I literally ride in wide brimmed hats and long sleeves 100% of the time.
I do love a fashion statement.
I could easily play the part of a vampire in any production as white as my skin is.
There is only a 1″ band of skin on my wrist between my watch and gloves that gets any sun. One inch.
Yep, that’s where they found skin cancer. (Don’t worry it’s the benign kind they can usually cut out so the prognosis is good.) But for someone that avoids the sun at all cost it just seems like one more piece of bad luck these days.
“I don’t think it’s worth it.” I was on the phone with my financial adviser. I have significantly drained my retirement account this year to “follow my dream.” I was telling him that I don’t think all the money I spent this summer was worth it. What exactly did I get for all that money? A few photos?
I was definitely having buyer’s remorse.
FEI events are EXPENSIVE.
FEI events far away from home are especially expensive. Fuel, hotel rooms, stabling, shavings, grooms, heck even meals are expensive when you’re on the road.
And when the trailer blew a tire on the way there AND on the way back, there were new tires and equipment to change my own tires (because my roadside assistance membership proved to be worse than useless.)
I was definitely starting to feel like Eeyore.
So I was telling my finance guy that it just wasn’t worth it. He said, “You’re only saying that because it didn’t go well. If it had gone well you’d probably think it was a great investment.”
That’s a pretty remarkable comment from someone who is supposed to keep me from blowing all my hard earned (very hard earned) savings.
Occasionally I get a note from someone who says, “How do you do it?! How do you afford it?! I want to do what you’re doing!” And I always feel bad when I explain that I spent nearly 20 years working unbelievable 12-15 hour days nearly 7 days per week in order to have some money to take some time and ride. I didn’t get an opportunity to really focus on my riding until I was 42 years old. Now I’m 46.
Let me tell you. That is a less than ideal age to make the move up to the upper levels of eventing. Every Fearless Leader I’ve ever ridden with was competing at that level as a teenager.
Which means at this age they’ve had more than 20 years experience at the level. Me? I’m just dipping my toe in the water.
Is it too late?
The last 6 months have been the biggest physical, mental and emotional effort of my life. I rode 6 horses 6 days per week. It was unbearably hot for nearly the entire 6 months and after sweating out every bit of salt in my body on 6 horses I would go for a 5 mile run because “riding isn’t enough” for this sport.
You have to be so strong, and so fit, and so heat tolerant.
This is the fittest I’ve ever been in my life.
But I’m broken.
I also spend 6 hours a week with the physical therapist and the occupational therapist to keep my broken parts working as much as possible.
So when my most amazing horse showed up with an injury right before “the big one” and I fell off the youngster on the live stream. I thought, “this isn’t fun anymore.”
The BadEventer husband was going to buy me a new cross country watch and I told him not to. Because I think I just might quit.
And then I found out tonight I’m being burned in effigy on social media. Honestly, that used to be one of my worst fears. People that don’t know you or the sacrifices you make can be so brutal. And when total strangers decide you “aren’t worthy” it’s just one more nail in the coffin.
Yep. I suck at eventing. “BadEventer” was never a joke. I really started out as one of the worst eventers out there.
I started this blog because I took eventing much too seriously. And I was so ridiculously bad at it.
I couldn’t even get around at Novice back then.
I knew if I didn’t “chill out” about my goals that I would never survive. So I decided to put it out there and talk about how much I sucked at this sport that I so wanted to succeed at and just make fun of myself.
So when the keyboard warriors come after me about being bad at my sport………. even after I’ve stormed around a few 3 stars…….
I’m not only Bad Eventer.
I am THE Bad Eventer.
That’s not exactly news.
Whoa whoa whoa. People are JUDGING you? Because eventing is HARD? This sport is… really hard… and really unpredictable. If you want to step away (or just step back) because the monetary/emotional/time/soul cost is too high, no one in their right mind can judge you for that. But just know that there are WAY MORE people who respect you for knowing how fallible you are, and trying any way.
People ask you how you do it now because they find you an inspiration: Someone who is out there not only trying but sharing about trying, even when it’s not perfect. Everyone has crap seasons, if you haven’t it’s just because you haven’t been doing it long enough.
Hello! I’ve been following your blog from the beginning, although I never subscribed or made an account. Your honesty and determination has been admirable and inspiring, and I’m sure I’m not alone in relating to your posts all too well (especially when we feel like we suck and should just take up tennis!). You had some shitty luck for sure, and I don’t want to comment to tell you that you should or should not keep at it. You’ve just got to decide what’s best for you, but what really pissed me off and made me make an account just to send you this comment, what the part about getting critique from the armchair committee of the internet anonymous. I know that you know not to take it personally, but that is honestly easier said than done. It still feels bad that people would say BS like that about you, so I just wanted to try to balance it out with one voice saying that I think you are doing great and are an inspiration to all of us who only see the perfectly curated world of social media and feel like we are the only one who sucks. Everyone sucks, you are just the only one brave enough to post about it!
Someone close to your age who is also dipping her toe into the FEI level at Eventing I know how hard it is. Just letting you know you are definitely an inspiration to me that even without 20 years of showing at these Levels I also can do it