Yesterday Walle and I competed in our second event at the Bucks County Horse Park.
My green bean potato beast (he earns more nicknames daily) is (obviously) still green. At our last event we made it through Dressage (which brings me zero stress), putzed through our Jumper round (which brings him zero stress), and basically zig zagged through our cross-country course at a poorly paced trot with me just singing to keep my sanity and him probably thinking, “What in the blue hell is wrong with her?” But, alas, we were eliminated due to my panic at an 18” railroad tie on cross country. But Walle handled it all like a champ and I was elated to just get through, even with elimination as the end result.
As mentioned previously, yesterday was Event #2 at BCHP and while the day went similarly to the first … we didn’t get eliminated! My ultimate goal was to make it through, and when all is said and done, that’s what we did. We may have come in dead last, but we didn’t get eliminated!
The thing is, it was an amazing day, but neither Walle nor I were really on our game (although our game isn’t quite developed yet.) And ultimately, I was very disappointed in myself because, well, I was disappointed.
We don’t come into this sport because we lack a competitive drive. Some people are more competitive than others. I, admittedly, am on the lower end of the spectrum with my need to win. This is actually the first year that I’ve committed to even showing more than once. I try very hard to focus on nothing but the love of the sport and trying to make improvements wherever we can. Everyone starts somewhere, right?
By the end of the day I had run through just about every emotion under the sun and was completely exhausted. I started calm and ready, exited the Dressage ring intensely frustrated (not my best moment, but it came and went quickly), exited the Jumper ring with tears streaming down my face because I had convinced myself that I had hurt my pony (there’s a long back story to this), and came out of cross country elated that we finished and jumped everything, but again, frustrated with myself and also Walle’s innate need to focus on everything but the task at hand…which in turn made me feel thoroughly ashamed of myself for being frustrated with him when I know he’s just simply learning and all things take time.
At the end of everything, I gave him lots of pets and peppermints, told him how good he was, and made sure there was no negative connotation on the day. My disappointment doesn’t matter, his happiness does. Because if he loses the ability to enjoy this, then I’ve truly failed. We all want our fairy tale moment of things magically coming together, but that’s just not how life works. And even with my disappointment, I will ALWAYS be grateful for the smallest of victories and swallow my disappointment to focus on the bigger picture.
Photo Credit: Denise Kalfayan, NBOTTB Photography