I had an awesome, super prestigious, very cool job offer a few weeks ago. It is a really cool job and it was offered to me not once, but twice! Travel, social, horse related on a high level, just a huge honor to be considered for this position...just WOW! How fun to leave my life here on the farm and see what else there is out in the big world?
That offer made me take a step back and reevaluate what my goals really are. A lot of musical therapy was put to use. Plenty of P!nk! Lots of Mumford and Sons with Imagine Dragons for giggles and lighthearted fun! Some not so fabulous movies were also watched. And it was in the midst of all of our first session Winter Series Clinics where I was doing the demonstration rides that the big lightbulb switched on.
Anywho, I was wrestling with myself and mulling over the job and what to do with a great deal of angst when our Flying Change Seminar took place. I rode Wyatt as the first demo horse and while he loves an audience, nothing is more exciting than Home with People That are Different. So there was extra snorting, animation and brilliance mixed into some pretty nice flying changes and lateral work. If nothing else Wyatt loves an audience to see how fancy he is! (vanity is not lacking in this horse) Wizard was the second demo horse. He is less of a showman - more reserved and contained but very aware that he is being scrutinized as he works. We did some simple changes, changes on a 20m circle, changes with a bit of half pass before and after and then counting changes on a line.
Wizard was a bit testy as it was chilly and he had some big ideas of how the day should be going and mom called out "do your ones!" as we wrapped up a line of two's. So I figured, "What the hell! Why not!" and turned up the next long side on the 2nd track and settled into the rhythm of ask for one, now ask for the other. Repeat. The changes were perfect. Relaxed. Straight as an arrow. Obedient. Uphill. And he was happy. I was shocked and forgot to keep asking after a few and he was unfazed and so calm. It's been 7 years since I sat on a horse with that sort of relaxation and ability.
After that I think I did some stretching work, cooled him out, helped with the lessons that followed, hemmed and hawed with some close friends about how much I was struggling with the job offer and retreated to my house to think.
This is the point when the not-so-great movie comes into play! While watching Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 - I had an epiphany. I do not have forever and unlimited funds to traipse off and leave my horses while I do other things. I am going to be 37 this year. My 2006 stallion thinks ones are easy. He is cooperative and uncomplicated. Wyatt thinks passage is just nifty and is really fun to work with on the other "tricks". There are bunch of other horses here on the farm in full work that just need polishing and they will be every bit as brilliant as the current Big Two (some might even be better if I make the commitment to them too). My USDF Silver and Gold Medals were won a decade ago. My ankle might be screaming with pain today but I liked doing ones again! I've been showing at the FEI level for 25 years. How can I do anything but work harder, study longer and ride these horses better while it is still physically possible?
So that's where I am. No longer passive and waiting for things to change around me. If I want to be a Grand Prix rider, it is about time that I dedicate myself to that purpose with a strict focus and sense of humor. No more excuses. No more distractions and allowing projects to come between me and the Big Goal.
There I said it. I want to go back to being a Grand Prix Rider. I will not be accepting the job of being the Region One Young Riders Chef d'Equipe in 2013. It is an honor to have been asked but I am not ready to be that person yet. Perhaps in the future. Maybe.
There is a definite Part II of this decision and I'll get to that in a few days. It has quite a bit to do with having done these Clinics, how awesome the horses are and how limited our time is on this earth. That means you will need to come back and check the blog for the next chapter in How to Get Back to Where You Want to Be!
In the meantime, ask yourself - What do you really want to do with your current horse? What do you want to accomplish as a rider? Be honest!