As I walked around the corner with a giant warm blood gelding in one hand and a small but sturdy Connemara pony in the other, I noticed perfectly raked dirt patches, matching stall guards, and content horses sticking their noses over their stall doors. Most of the riders and grooms had left for the day, only a few stragglers including myself and another girl working with us were tidying and wrapping up the day. I made my way around another corner with the two horses in tow and I saw the most stunning sunset.
The color of the sky was vibrant and breathtaking beyond words. I took a breath and as I exhaled I felt this strange sense of calm and security. There was a warm breeze and palm trees in the distant. The rings had been dragged and everything was in place for the following day of jumper rounds. I realized in that moment how incredibly lucky I was, or how lucky I am to be here doing what I’ve been working so hard to make happen.
Quite honestly I’ve been so insanely busy between the competition season kicking off in January and a plethora of Jumper shows in between. When you’re too busy and exhausted to call friends and family at the end of the day, or you accidentally fall asleep in your breeches, or you’re at the barn before the horses are even awake, it’s easy to fall into such an intense routine where you almost take for granted all the amazing opportunities you’ve been given.
I never want to come across as ungrateful, but riding and training horses will never be a 9-5 type of career. This lifestyle is all encompassing, draining, thrilling, exhausting and there are constant ups and downs. There are days and sometimes weeks that pass by where one can forget or lose sight of the positive aspects. Though witnessing the color of the sky in Venice beach tonight, with two lovely horses by my side and feeling full from this never ending sense of accomplishment (whether it’s as simple as caring for the horses, or finishing in a top place at an FEI competition) really made me stop and ponder my life.
Admittedly, I forget or lose sight of the immense opportunities and good fortunate I’ve been given when I’m stressed about making a truck payment, or regretting purchasing such an expensive vehicle, or wondering what the next year of my life will look like, or feeling nostalgic for the green mountains and my family, or figuring out how to date again after being in a relationship for a decade. At times, it’s easy for the stress and anxiety to overtake my entire being, which is why I’m so grateful for beautiful evenings like tonight to remind me how lucky and happy I am to be doing what I love doing.
I think no matter where you come from, or how you end up doing what you’re doing , we all need to stop, put down our phones and take a deep breath to watch the sunset and think about what that means. I never want to lose sight of what drives me and I never want to be unappreciative of anyone or anything that has lead me down this path. No matter how exhausting, or challenging the days with horses can be, I want to keep on kicking , smiling and making life better no matter what!