I’m not sure how any of us decided that we wanted to blog for Horse Junkies United, but I can tell you how I decided….. Plain and simple, it was the coverage of the Rolex 3 Day Event last year. I envisioned people engulfed in the action in their Dubarry boots and ball caps, and I just wanted to be around horse people that loved horses and the equestrian sport.
This past year, I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot from the Horse Junkies crew. I’m not sure if this is because it has connected top riders to normal people like moi, or if because we bloggers lead such different lives with similar goals: to ride the best we can and love our horse’s the best we know how. And through being a Horse Junkie: to learn the most we can from who ever we can.
In short, here’s what I’ve learned from HJU that I’ve been able to apply in real life to Divine Miss N… you know, that hot rod mare I bought last year at this time that has proven to be challenging both with her health (tying up issues), and her brain (mare issues), but has also shown me that she’ll side pass the you know what out of the arena at the walk, trot, and canter. (Don’t ask how we discovered this………..and please don’t ask me what I’m going to do with it because I really do not know…)
Top riders have shown me that our horses are our partners and not just our mounts. Through watching interviews, reading blog after blog after blog, my idea of what my horse is to me has started to shift. I was brought up like this: that pony didn’t fit you? Get a new horse to ride. That horse didn’t jump the height you want? Get a new horse to ride. I’ve been shown that it’s about the journey together. Starting small, growing large, and achieving goals together.
My peers have shown me that there’s a thousand different ways to get the same goal, and there is no such thing as a bad ride if you have the best intentions in mind. I put so much pressure on myself to have the best ride of my life every single time, as if I’m always in front of a judge. I strive for perfection every minute I’m in the saddle. My brain is yelling at me “your heel isn’t down far enough, stop moving your leg so much, shoulders straight, core tight, and for goodness sake LET GO OF HER FACE”.
When did riding stop being fun? When did it become so stressful? I’ve longed for the 7 yr old me that jumped on bareback and was fearless of the woods with my little borrowed Appaloosa pony. I longed for the part of me that didn’t care when I turned that borrowed Appaloosa towards home and she jigged the entire way back. I wanted the little me that went to horse shows to have fun and LEARN, not to WIN. Horse Junkies, you’ve uncovered that little me. And my mare says thank you, because we’ve had some of the best rides we’ve ever had together since I just took a deep breath and started having fun again.
Lastly, Patricia, the wonderful brain behind Horse Junkies United and Ecogold has shown me the most. Through email, social media, and Horse Junkies itself, she has exemplified fearlessness and bravery: constantly taking chances because she believes in the cause. I know she works tirelessly for the website, and I can’t imagine what else she has up her sleeve. But without her, none of us would “know” each other, none of us would have a route to help support top riders to get to their goals, none of us would have each other to bounce questions off of, share funny articles with, or be able to share how we love our sport each and every day.
So, simply? Thank you. You’ve all made an impact in ways I’m sure you did not know you had.
I know Miss Mare is thanking you all, too.
Happy Birthday Horse Junkies United. You’re a year old today.
Allison and Ellie