A Letter To My Younger Self:

Hello there, younger self. It’s you, just an older, and not necessarily wiser version of you. Let’s get the most important thing out in the open, right away. Yes, of course you get to have a career in horses. It’s the only thing you’ve ever really wanted and you’re a hard worker. But, there’s a catch. It won’t last forever. So, with that in mind, I have a few things I want you to think about.

First of all, don’t take any of it for granted. Not a single day. Enjoy every freezing cold morning and all the long nights with sick horses and expectant broodmares. Every single triumph and tragedy will make you a better horseman. Take a brief moment (because let’s face it, that’s all you’ll have time for) to relish all of the early horse show mornings, long days, and endless mucking, sweeping, scrubbing, grooming, and tack cleaning. Every once in while, take a step back to truly appreciate how special your life is with horses and how lucky you are to experience each and every moment, no matter how difficult it seems at the time. You will sacrifice a lot for your dreams, but it will all be worth it. One day, you’ll step away and you’re going to have some amazing memories.

Next, I know how important all of those ribbons are. A lot of time, money, blood, sweat, and tears have gone in to earning them. Enjoy those moments, but realize they are fleeting and do not define you as a horseman. Instead, get out of the ring more. It will be good for both you and your horses. Trust me, you will get to a point where you barely remember the ribbons and trophies, but rather, the horses that made them possible. Those little strips of fabric will be of no real importance in the future.

Say thank you at every single available opportunity. Make sure you thank every single person who helps you along your path, even in the tiniest way. All of the people who offer advice, funds, help, support, and give you all those chances, jobs, horses, and opportunities that will make this life possible. And of course, thank your horses. Thank them, love them, and care for them to the absolute best of your ability because they don’t live forever. Their legacy lives with you.

Finally, relax. It’s going to be okay. It will not turn out anything like you expect, but it will be more amazing, heartbreaking, and eventually fulfilling than you can ever imagine. You’ve got this. Even when it’s all over and you’ve chosen a different path, you will still have horses in your life. Every. Single. Day. You wouldn’t have it any other way. Oh, and buy a new helmet. That’s your brain in there.

Much Love,

Gillian

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