My goals were lofty. I had no concept of money, no idea the financial burden horses placed on my family. I had no idea someday that financial burden would be mine. That’s an ugly truth I haven’t been ready to talk about before. I’ve had a very hard time accepting that my goals have been lofty, and after the day my parents handed me a checkbook with my name on it, said goals needed to be set in a safe place. At that time, I wasn’t ready to accept my goals might need to change.

Someday, I’ll have a horse who can jump around a meter 1.30 course at a prestigious horse show. It’s in the cards, I swear. And if it isn’t, I’m planning on finding a way to deal myself another hand. Someday, I’ll have a list of notable horse shows I’ve judged at. Someday.

But for now, I’ve had to put those goals aside. They’re lofty, like I said. They are things I want, yet I need to employ patience to reach. But for now, I’ve had to give myself permission to want something else.

What seemed possible, probable doesn’t have the same feeling now. It feels far away. On one hand, I feel like I have gentle contact with them. They’re there; I can feel them. On the other hand, I simply want a horse to ride. I want the comfort of knowing there’s a velvet nose to kiss, a coat to brush, and a soul to connect with. Though I have it in the form of a regular, weekly ride… it isn’t always enough.

I’ve had to give myself the permission to lower my once seemingly-reasonable goals. If I want less than a reputation for being a fair judge, a good rider, and a notable horse person, am I still a rider? Is the competitor inside me any less determined?

It’s easy to be uncomfortable watching other people do something you’ve wanted to do. I wish, oh I wish, but wishes don’t pay bills and comfort changing desires.

Things have changed. I want a horse who will greet me over the stall door with a soft nicker and softer eyes. I want a horse I can let my boyfriend ride. I want a horse close to my heart, instead of a distinct competitor who knows their job. What a 180 from a girl who dreamed of riding in the Verizon center in Washington D.C. during the Washington International Horse Show.

Things have changed. I’m less uncomfortable releasing my goals. It’s easier to separate my dreams from goals, and gently categorize my desires into one of these two lists. Dreams do come true. But goals? You work on your goals every day.

At some point, I’ll re-categorize. I’ll be able to reorganize my dreams into goals, and reevaluate who I want to be as an equestrian.

But for now, I want a quiet horse. I want to share trail rides and memories that don’t include an empty wallet. There will be a time and a place for checks written to show offices and paychecks spent on board. I’ve finally given myself permission to want what I want, instead of what I thought I wanted. Re-evaluation is necessary.

Give yourself permission to change your mind.