Be An Inspiration

After posting about my recent XC lesson and sharing all of the great pics that Jenn took, I got a really lovely Facebook message from an acquaintance that I had met at a clinic a few years ago. What she said was so touching, I started to cry right there at my desk:

"not to be cheesy but... you and your pony are real inspirations. it's very cool to see you moving up and getting braver and better. too often the emphasis (in terms of role models) is on professionals competing in international competitions at a level that just isn't realistic for most people, and that can be disheartening. so it's really important for riders (and just people in general) to have people like you to look up to who show that everyday dedication and positivity can cause a real and spectacular change! congratulations on everything you've already achieved, and i can't wait to see what's next for you guys!"

Cue the waterworks.

No matter what your passion is, it is SO HARD to feel like what we do is significant or makes a difference to anyone. Especially in the age of social media when we are constantly presented with the successes of others, our small victories never seem like enough. We are "just" adult amateurs. "Just" trying to get around Beginner Novice. "Just" working hard at a job you like, but doesn't pay very well and isn't glamorous. It's easy to feel like trying, really going after your dreams, isn't even worth it because you'll never be as good as the people at the top. And who cares, anyway? Often it seems that the struggles and triumphs of your life are insignificant to everyone but you.

Despite all this, I keep riding and I keep writing because I can't NOT do those things. I think I would literally shrivel up and die if I didn't have horses in my life, and writing comes as easily as breathing to me. So I ride, and I blog, and I share this journey with all of you, because I can't not.

And I write, at least about riding, with the attitude that I have nothing to hide. I don't downplay the tough times, the frustration, the anxiety, the wondering if I'll ever measure up. Those things are all a part of life, not only as a rider, but as a human being. Life isn't all blue ribbons and beer and cupcakes, even though that would be great. Life is a lot of sucking at something for a long time. It's a lot of working really, really hard and still not doing as well as you "should be." It's a lot of shit just happening.

While jumping my very first Novice XC fences over the weekend was a HUGE DEAL for me, I know it's not a huge deal for a lot of people. Novice is considered "low level" eventing. There are people that START young horses off at Novice. And besides, I'm still not riding 'perfectly'. Can you see how easy it is to let the world, and our own sense of perfectionism, downplay a milestone that means so much?

I am so very grateful for the message I received yesterday, and for the angel in disguise who sent it. Even though I feel like I'm bumbling along and not doing much of anything very well; to someone, I'm a role model.

To someone, I am a person to be looked up to.

To someone besides myself and my closest friends, I have accomplished great things.

Wow. That is a stunning piece of information, isn't it?

My suggestion to all of you - riders and non-riders and bloggers and readers alike - is to keep on keepin' on. Try hard. Be humble. Get excited as all hell when you meet a milestone you've been working towards! Live and ride and write with honesty, and never look at yourself as "just" a mediocre rider, or writer, or professional, or artist, because you never know who you are inspiring by "just" being you.


  1. Aw, what a wonderful message you received!
    Sometimes its nice to be appreciated and noticed for our hard work and efforts!

  2. Replies
    1. Also, Dino looks like a mighty racehorse in that picture.

  3. Lovely post!! So cool that someone reached out to you about how you inspire them :)

    But life can be all beer and cupcakes you just have to buy them and consume them :P

  4. Yes! I used to put my goals down, like "Oh, I'm only trying to get to 2'6" ... I know it's not a big deal" But you know what? I'm never going to go to the Olympics and I'm never going to win the Maclay. 2'6" IS A BIG FREAKING DEAL FOR ME! And I'm damn proud of it :D

  5. Love the pic and the message! I always read your blog, but rarely if ever comment. You guys look awesome and are an inspiration to myself and my pony as well! :)

  6. I <3 <3 <3 this post and agree with what your friend sent you!

  7. That is AWESOME! A lot of truth in there

  8. What a great message and subsequently great post! :-)

    I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of people cheering myself and Courage on. I tend to see our goals and achievements as not that big of a deal, but like you said, it's relate-able. We're never going to the Olympics or to make a mark on the national scene, but neither are 98% of other riders.

    I thought your pictures were awesome and I was VERY annoyed that your post absolutely refused to load on my computer yesterday. I'll try again today. :-)

  9. You're inspiration for me with my pony as well!
    As a side note, I really enjoy the blogs that have an honest mix of good and 'bad'. Pretty pictures and happy stories are great, but I think the more honest blogs are much more helpful and inspirational to the average rider (like myself!) So, thank you!

  10. Even though we are a hunter jumper barn, our train took a group of us to an eventing venue to go play in the cross country field this weekend. I've jumped some pretty big jumps in my life and my current horse regularly school 3'3-3'6 with bigger things here and there a scope for days. And you know what? Most of the Novice fences with any spread were still SCARY. So kudos to you. Moving up is a big deal, and putting on big girl panties to get it done is something to be proud of. There are plenty of let downs in this sport, so any accomplishment, big or small should be celebrated.

    1. Oops. Our Trainer took us. But wouldn't it be nice if there was a handy train to take us around?

  11. I never though you were less than bad ass. And Dino looks bad ass in that picture. I am so glad someone reminded you of how awesome you are. I am pretty bad at bringing myself down, especially with Lyme disease messing with everything. I USE to be able to do things easily, and I am not able to do them easily or at all anymore. And when I do accomplish whatever it was that use to be easy now, my husband will try to show me how great it was or how great I am and I just wave it off. I need to be better about being proud of myself and my accomplishments.

  12. I love this post! What an amazing message to receive, and well deserved. We can get so bogged down in comparing ourselves to others and putting down our own achievements that it's hard to celebrate what we DO achieve.

  13. This post made me a little teary eyed myself!

  14. You rock and I love that someone sent you such a heartfelt message! What a good reminder to be proud of what we do instead of constantly comparing to the top tier international riders!

  15. yay i love this post too!!!! we invest way too much into this sport (and i'm talking about investments beyond just time and money and energy) to belittle ourselves or not feel pride and joy in each step forward. you and Dino have been working so tremendously hard towards the moment that became a NOVICE XC FENCE (!!!!!!) - and that is so hugely awesome!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts