I arrived in Germany on a full moon in October of 1993, and I am leaving Germany on a full moon in October of 2012. Full circles seem to be a theme in my life, Rita, but this has been one long circle! After a stop at the Global Dressage Forum in Hooge Mierde, the Netherlands, I am flying with my horses to Miami on Oct. 31.
Leaving Vechta is sad and hard. I grew up here (not sure “grew up” is the right term, but I did learn a lot) and became the person I wanted to be. I made good friends, learned a lot about people, and I will miss this place.
Many people have wondered about my motivation in writing this particular blog about the future of American dressage as I envision it. Some people have labeled it as self-promotion, although most have viewed it as political suicide to speak out against the old, established way of doing things. Some people think I’m interested in coaching or managing the team. However, none of these assumptions is correct from my own perspective.
I’ve given much thought to the state of our sport in the USA since the London Olympics in August. Many people have offered their opinions about why the U.S. teams didn’t medal in London. I don’t believe that winning makes you right and losing makes you wrong. Sport is not that black and white. But I do believe in learning from past mistakes and in stealing every last bit of helpful information that you can from the people who out-perform you in competition.
All my life I have believed in excellence. Not in perfection, but in excellence. If you are pursuing perfection, you have already failed, for perfection exists all around us all of the time. Achieving perfection is simply a matter of perception.
Excellence, on the other hand, is something for which we should strive. It’s definitely worth pursuing and is defined both by the moments that bring us to now and by the moments that we can envision in our future.
Occasionally dressage trainers get together to do something fun and a little less serious than the circles in the sand that fascinate us nearly every day.
If you are so lucky as to be a member of the International Dressage Trainers Club, you have the opportunity to do something fun with your fellow trainers at least once a year during the annual meeting in April. This year’s meeting was held in the famous little town of Newmarket in Great Britain.
It seems we have some catching up to do. This winter in Germany has been long and dark, more so than any other I have experienced. We’ve had no snow, the days were incredibly short, and gray skies were the norm. Fortunately, the last few weeks have brought the scent of spring and better days to come.
This evening in Vechta the fog is so thick you could eat it with a spoon. I have heard fog described as a cloud that touches the ground. With all this moisture suspended in the air, I wonder if this cloud is formed by the tears we have all shed for Cadillac.
Thank you to everyone who has been so kind to contact me by email or Facebook and to those few of you who actually got through on the phone or came by to see me. I have guarded my privacy this week, but I am also thankful for all the good wishes from friends, family and fans.