Four years gone, yet on this day it seems time stops for me. I remember your blaze, and the way your ears curved in at the top. I remember the light in your eyes when you saw jumps set in the arena. I remember the first crossrail we jumped after your injury and how I’d never felt happiness so complete before. I remember your choppy little trot, but your smooth canter. I remember the feel of your ride, different than any other. I remember the freedom, the courage and the pride you instilled in me. But most of all, I remember your heart and all that you gave to a teenage girl. I’ll always miss you, Visa.
As I left the barn on Monday night, a feeling I can only describe as euphoria came over me. It was cold, dark and rainy, yet I couldn’t help the smile that was plastered across my face. I have struggled with big problems and tough decisions regarding Miles all winter long, and truly successful, happy rides have been few and far between. Monday night was proof that I couldn’t deny: my riding and my partnership with Miles have both dramatically improved over the few months.
I’m really lucky to live in an area saturated with hunter/jumper shows. We have three local show series, all of which are within 30-45 minutes from the barn, and typically host one show per month May through October. Within the state of Ohio, there are 21 rated hunter/jumper shows during that time period, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many unrated series’ there are. I tell you that to say that I have to pick and choose which shows I attend each year, and a big part of that choice comes down to the facility.
Fair warning: this is going to be a boring, somewhat whiney post, complete with really old pictures to break up text. So you can feel free to skip it, if you’d like 🙂 I am not a naturally positive person, but I’ve worked hard to train myself to see the upside in every situation. So while I know that this winter I have improved as a rider, and can point to specific skills I’ve gained, I remain disappointed and frustrated by the lack progress in the areas I wanted to improve the most. One of the most challenging things about riding is that it attracts certain personalities… namely type-A, competitive people. Equestrians enjoy working hard, strive for perfection, and want to win. How all of those are achieved come out in different ways for different people (and obviously this is a grand generalization), but I fit that mold pretty well.