I posted a photo on my Facebook page a week ago, and promised I would explain it on the blog post and here’s the explanation, and the photo — and hopefully it will resonate with you, too.

Keep the things that are precious to you out where you can be reminded of the journey every day.

Those of us who write for HJU often “bare our souls” for you, our readers, because we are all in the same disease — we’re horse junkies. What we do is easy for some, who tend to write well and often. For others, myself included, I have to think about it for a couple of days, research, write a draft, trash it, start over, try again. This piece is meant to inspire but also to remind us that we have all worked hard for what we have, and sometimes you have to assess your place, give yourself a pat on the back, and gird your loins to go forward.

While I have won several prizes for writing over the years, including recognition by a U.S. president, an interview for a prestigious equestrian magazine that made its best ten stories of the year, being published in three books, and articles printed in the biggest equestrian publications in the world, it’s my own horses’ accomplishments that always seem to bring me the most satisfaction and inspiration going forward.

I have a completion ribbon from the American Eventing Championships hanging in my tack room that is seven years old. It’s there to remind me that the astonishing achievement — qualifying for, and competing in, a national championship — is achievable. And I did it. Not without a lot of help from a lot of people along the way, and a lot of sacrifice, but I did it. And when I take a look at a barnful of dirty stalls every morning, and look at my watch, and sigh with frustration and weariness of my everyday life, I gain strength from my own personal “support group”.

My support group:

My horses. My tack room. My computer. My phone. (Well, sometimes I’d like to purposely dunk it in a water tub.) My horse trailer. My track around my farm. My jumps. My 1986 faded green extra long 6th place ribbon from preliminary at Whidbey Island Horse Trials, in Washington. And my 2006 black and white completion ribbon from the AEC’s at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, NC. And my pitchfork.

If you ever have a chance to go to the top of the mountain, max out your credit cards, fill up the truck, load your horse, and go for it. You will never be sorry for the eternal inspiration you will have the rest of your life.

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