I’ve discovered, through my freshest bout of soul searching, that my biggest fear of the moment is that I will no longer be relevant. To the professional riders of the world, that means they are no longer considered amongst the best; perhaps that they don’t get the media attention, or high-profile clients, or attend the biggest shows. But to an adult amateur, especially one with kid(s), such as myself, it means something else entirely.

Honestly, I am terrified of not mattering any longer. Without a horse, and without an imminent goal driving me forward, I felt that I was shrinking away into irrelevancy. Irrelevancy at the barn. Irrelevancy to my trainer. And worst of all, I felt like the old me was too far gone, and that maybe I didn’t matter as much as I used to.

There is a huge physical undertaking to actually producing a baby. But mentality is what has taken me longer to acclimate to. In so many ways, what I want matters less now. Her needs are first, and I want it that way. But selling my mare and gaining my daughter in a matter of 3 months has pulled the rug out from underneath my personal identity. Suddenly what I define as a rider means someone who pays a trainer to ride. Not someone chasing a dream on their own horse, with 1000 iPhone pictures and grand plans.

Now my iPhone is filled with more baby pictures and random snaps of food and beverage choices, than it is horses. My car is almost clean. My calf muscles are pretty wimpy. I don’t have the local vet on speed dial. I don’t have reasons to buy new tack, or more schooling gear. When you ride once or twice (maybe) a week, that’s not really a top priority. At first, all of these changes made my throat close, and a full-on panic mode would ensue. I can’t tell you how many times I called my mother, or my husband, or friends on my way home from lessons, upset, crying and totally rattled by my new role.  

I didn’t understand what had happened to Genny circa 2012-2015. The feeling that I no longer know everything going on at the barn, the feeling that I don’t have any long-term goals, and the feeling of having to totally scratch a dream is a mind warp I wish upon no one. I felt irrelevant, that my dreams weren’t important anymore.

Last week I had a moment, and it just felt like a teeny bit of the old me rose to the surface. I had just come home from traveling, to have an awesome lesson on a sweet-as-pie schoolie. I rode well, I laughed, I smiled, I pushed myself. I was high on life when I drove home, and it was then that I realized that maybe right now I do not have a perfect plan in motion, or really even know exactly what’s next for me. I still love every single second I spend with horses, and in the saddle.  

Maybe my definition of a rider has changed a little bit; that’s only proof it can and will change again. I know who I am when I’m in the saddle, and I know that’s where I belong. I want to spend my treasured time with horses grateful for the ride, not sad that I don’t have more. Great things are coming, I’m sure of it…I just suck at being patient.

So for now, I’m going to try out a new identity, instead of trying to resurrect my old one, and see where it leads. I hope to more dreams, shiny new ponies, fabulous rides and happy memories.

Written by HJU Blogging Contestant Genny Macy