“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

While I believe that there is a lot of wisdom in Winston Churchill’s words, sometimes it is hard to be enthusiastic when it seems like your dream of progressing with your equestrian pursuits has hit some insurmountable roadblocks.  That was the case back in the spring of 2011.  By May, after a couple of months of stall rest and repeated attempts of getting him into regular work, I pretty much accepted the fact that my Thoroughbred’s dressage career was over.  That was a bitter pill to swallow since it seemingly left me without a mount with no prospects of obtaining another.

Luckily, during Cigar’s down time, Miss C had generously allowed me to ride her Hanoverian mare Willow Q.  Will, as she is affectionately known, is a super talented mare.  To watch her passage around her paddock was a stunning sight.  It was exciting to think that I would have the privilege of riding such a talented horse. She had some dressage education and was initially a very willing partner.  By late May, early June, we’d progressed enough as a pair to head to a schooling show…or so I thought.  The trailer was loaded and hooked to the truck.  All that was left was to load Miss Will and head down the road.  Ha!  Will decided that she did not want the public scrutiny so there was an epic battle of wills to see who was the stronger of the two of us.  Can you guess who won??  Yet again I felt defeated.

So now I was left with my dearest Cigar broken and a lovely (chestnut) mare who decided that she wasn’t going to participate in my quest to show and progress.  It was a low point in my horse journey.  I had halfheartedly started looking at advertisements for horses, but the reality was that most of them were well out of my price range and boarding two horses on my salary would be nearly impossible if I wanted to continue to eat and have a car to drive.  I distinctly remember walking into my husband’s home office and announcing that I would have to wait to find a new horse until my car was paid off…a good 8-9 months down the road.  It was then my husband told me that he would make my remaining car payments so that I could add another equine to the family.  I still get choked up when I think about my husband’s selfless support.  It was because of him that I was able to add Ike to our family in August 2011 and my dressage dream was revived.

It was on a whim that I decided to launch a blog about Ike and I about a year after he joined the family.  I did it more to chronicle our journey for family and friends who I don’t see on a regular basis.  It was an easy way to share our adventures with everyone.  It never occurred to me that strangers might relate to our story and struggles.  I was giddy when I was notified by WordPress that I had followers for my blog who were not family members.  It was an even bigger whim that I replied to a post on Facebook by Horse Junkies United when they were looking for new bloggers.  When Patricia responded to me that she liked my blogs “a lot” you may as well have told me that I’d won the lottery.  It is a pleasure to be part of such an eclectic, horse-crazy “family.”

When you fast forward to today, I feel very fortunate to be where I am. Our path to success looks more like a three-year-old’s scribble, but forward and upward progress is evident especially when you squint.  Ike and I have had some modest success in the sand box and we have become a solid, if not yet consistent Second Level team.  Olympians we are not, but how many among us get that designation?  The older I get the more I realize that it is important to write your own definition of success.  Whether it be to throw your leg over a horse for the first time, make the leap from flat work to jumping, or deciding to head to your first show, you can be successful by just taking that first step forward…especially with an enthusiastic smile on your face.

Thanks for being part of the Horse Junkies United experience.  Hang on, the best is yet to come!

Alison

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