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Where you are, versus where you thought you'd be?

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  • #61
    My goal has always been to complete a T3D - and it seems to get further and further away from my reality.

    I thought I would have done that by now. But everytime it seemed like it might be a realistic goal, something would happen with the horse I was riding - first horse I took Novice was not an easy ride and did not like cross country.

    The second horse had already completed and won a 1* with his previous owner, and I spent our savings to buy him. I thought for sure he was going to take me there! By the time I got comfortable at Novice with him, with a goal to move to training, he then he went lame and had to be retired.

    After him and his vet bills, I had no money to buy another made horse. So the dream to do a T3D has faded and I hope it's still in my future...but who knows.

    I've had three OTTB's - first one was too much horse for me and we never made it to a competition - but today he is getting ready to go Advanced with his current rider. The 2nd one has been my heart horse, took a long time to get to BN with him due to uveitis and losing sight in one eye, I had plans to move him to Novice this season, but he has an injury and due to his eyes, his eventing career is now over. So now I am starting over again, and focusing on another OTTB but we are not even schooling solid at BN for x/c:-(. By no fault of his, I struggle with confidence issues.

    With all of these horses I've had on-going large vet bills, it's been on issue after another.

    I am at times envious of those who have the made horses, and the riders that start the young/green ones that are brave/fearless, don't worry and over analyze everything!

    I get frustrated that my journey has been a constant of starts and stops - but I try to remind myself that 10 years go I said I would never jump or own a TB - and now I have jumped, owned 4 TB's, and restarted 3 OTTB's (with the help of a good trainer)!

    So nope, I am not where I thought I would be! But I am pretty lucky to have had horses in my life!
    Last edited by Hollywood; Jul. 21, 2012, 05:59 PM.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
      I love Denny Emerson, but the constant harping on how riders aren't really serious or potentially any good at all unless they sacrifice every single facet of their lives to ride all day, every day is sort of disheartening.
      thank you for vocalizing this. It drives me NUTS!

      I did the Denny way of life for 5 years.
      You know what I was left with? No money, no horse, no friends and a broken heart...basically no life.

      *I bought an unbroke 3 year old--broke it with a little help but basically alone (because I have no money)
      *Rode every odd horse I could for extra cash or free lessons.
      *Moved to a facility [that I could afford] to take care of the horse in a more "sport horse" like manner. (this means--horse gets proper amount of food/turn out and isnt' skimped on hay)
      *Rode odd jobs after work everyday.
      *Rode 5-8 horses all year long on the weekends (even in 110* texas heat)
      *Got overly talented horse to prelim and then kaboom (pardon the pun) he broke.
      Yay life is awesome.
      There goes 15K rehabbing said horse.

      I'd rather not put myself through that type of heart break ever again.

      I'm thankful to those who have made it all work because we have a great bunch of riders for the Team.

      And to answer the thread in a more serious manner--I expected to be loping around some Advanced courses on a lovely grey TB who is now livin it up in a show hunter barn down south.
      and yup, I know it's pathetic but I sit around weekly and dream about a horse who is no longer mine.

      thankfully I have a lovely white snipped nosed filly in my yard to smooch on every day.
      http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8560.jpg

      maybe the greatest things come later in life. Though I feel like I've missed my prime. : /
      Last edited by purplnurpl; Jul. 21, 2012, 07:50 PM.
      http://kaboomeventing.com/
      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        It is so cool to read between the lines here and get a sense of what makes people tick by how they describe what really floats their lifeboat. Even if it is (ESPECIALLY if it is) smelling horse poop.
        I totally agree! I LOFF the horse poop (even though that makes me sound deranged!!!).

        At law school in fancy-schmancy Back Bay Boston I had a law student pal over to my apartment. She said I should consider collecting some artwork with more diverse subject matter. Not just... **ahem**... horses.

        My mother told me I needed to find a new friend.
        "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

        Comment


        • #64
          Such an interesting thread.

          I just said to somebody on Tuesday who asked me how my ride was, "I'm sitting on a horse. It is a good day."

          Honestly that is how I feel. I had so many days where I thought I may never be able to ride again that just being able to ride is a blessing.

          I'm thankful that after a craptastic divorce, I can still afford to pay for my beloved old guy's retirement many states away from where I live. I had to retire him before I was ready because it was the only way I knew to keep him safe and afford his care. He's happy and I'm sure he will be one of those cantankerous old horses who live to be a million years old. I never get to see him but I look at his photo on the table next to my bed every night before I go to sleep.

          I didn't ride for years after I retired him. No horse, no money and no time.

          I just started up again. I ride once every two weeks. I searched and found the most qualified instructor with the best schoolmasters with in an hour and half of where I live.
          Heaven.

          My goal is to have horses in my life.
          Go for a good gallop occasionally.
          Jump some fences and maybe if the stars align head out to an event or be invited out with the hounds.
          All the rest is gravy.

          Comment


          • #65
            Great thread!
            Started taking riding lessons at age 6 like every other girl and was lucky enough that my parents bought me a green $500 pony when I was 10. Fell off that pony every time I rode for the next six months and because lessons were no longer in the works, took several years to learn to canter again . outgrew her, and we sold her for the same $500 and got a mare from a dealer who turned out to be pregnant.
            Broke and trained that filly to four , sold her and then moved my way up to an $800 2 yr old that I broke and trained and did lower level pony club with. Never got beyond a C because I was had something that was three or four or younger to ride. Did some local hunter shows, but never jumped over 3 ft.

            Primary goal for me was always vet school .Was my dream since I was about 10 and that was what I always worked for. During college and vet school, didn't ride much but was able to lease my horse out until I got done.
            Got out of vet school and started again with another youngster and then started breeding because I could I could now afford to do my own vet work and then started raising and training my own homebreds.

            Took 5 of them through training, three of him up through prelim ,one through 2 long format CCI*'and even up to intermediate .(terrifying stuff, that Intermediate). Never , ever thought that I would be able to do that in my wildest dreams

            Horses got injured, I got scared (can i say how really high Intermediate is again?)and here I am again with another set of homebred youngsters .
            ( 5,4,3,2 yr olds). I enjoy bringing them up through novice and training and don't know if I'll ever go prelim again .That's okay - I'm 53 now and just had my hip replaced last week and I'm okay with it. I'd like to get my bronze medal next year and hopefully my mare will stay sound enough to do so.

            I wouldn't trade the journey for anything
            http://www.cngsporthorses.com

            Comment


            • #66
              I never expected anything... No real plans or dreams or whatever. I'm only 21 though I started to have plans and dreams when my thoroughbred started doing really well but when he had his big liver issues I put those dreams on hold so really at the moment I still have no expectations.

              Actually, I always had one dream, which was to train a horse from scratch, from teaching it to lunge on up, with no help, and I've actually done that now. Started a fantastic 3yo Percheron cross for the owners of my thoroughbred. 7 walk only rides on Christmas break, 3 w/t/c rides on spring break (she was more than ready, hadn't forgotten anything, and we did do a little trotting on Christmas break, so we cantered a few strides on spring break), she lunges quite nicely and responds to voice commands, stops off just a verbal whoa, and since she's only 3 I'm really only riding her 1-2x a week lightly, and she'll go back out in the field til I graduate (with maybe the occasional ride on breaks). Her owners want her to be a trail horse, and I think she will be a nice one once she's older. I've ridden her on the roads twice now and she's done well.

              So... Expectations met, trying to figure out where to go from here? Ideally I'll graduate, get a real job, the thoroughbred will make a full recovery and go back into training, and once I have gotten as far as I know how without help, getting lessons from a real trainer. These are ideals. I could just as easily be jobless, with a horse whose internal organs won't stand up to heavy work, and not riding at all (ok, that won't happen if I can help it, even if I'm just riding draft cross trail horses).

              So for my senior year of college it'll be riding iHSA, twiddling my thumbs hoping the year off is good for my poor 8yo OTTB, and hoping he really does recover because he's the biggest hearted horse I've ever sat on. He even comes trotting in from the field when I call him, when I visit him in his retirement pasture (ok, he's out with the percheron filly, who is happy because she is THE BOSS of her little herd). Not that that has anything to do with his dressage, showjumping, or eventing potential, but he's seriously attached to me, poor guy. I like him too.
              RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012

              Comment


              • #67
                I can't look back too far, since I changed disciplines and my old dreams involved making it into the working hunters. These days, my dreams have a bit more speed in them.

                As to my plans with Fiona? We're right on track. We're doing very well at Novice and enjoying ourselves immensely. We're starting to school the Training questions and I'm hopeful that next year we'll be ready for our next move up.

                More holistically, I'm exactly where I wanted to be. I own my own horse, we get to compete in a variety of things, we trail ride, and I'm completely comfortable riding her. That's what I wanted as a kid, and that's where I am right now.

                My long term dream is to do a Training 3-Day or, if I've had a bit of wine, a Preliminary 3-Day. I consider myself to be heading toward that goal at a nice, safe speed and it feels achievable. When I'm not panicking over triple bars, climbing up my mare's neck, and making her hit rails. Ugh.
                http://thoughtfulequestrian.blogspot.com - My Ventures Into Eventing

                Comment


                • #68
                  The "Denny" Attitude revisited . . .

                  The monomaniacal focus on riding as espoused by Denny Emerson, which several people have mentioned in this thread, I've seen plenty of; as well as the fallout one person mentioned when it becomes an equally epic "fail," as it does sooner or later for most people who go that route. If you put all your eggs in that basket, you better have some deep pockets backing you because otherwise you are more than likely to end up in mid-life with nothing but a box of dusty ribbons.

                  I see even more of this attitude in my other passion, which is martial arts. "Desperate Effort" and utterly severely disciplined commitment is the watchword, and people frequently seem to compete in going to extremes, as though that guarantees the greatest return; it is routine to drop out of school, drop out of American society, and fly out to the far side of the earth to live on ramen noodles in an unheated 3-mat apartment somewhere in Japan, teaching English to pay for dorm-like subsistence and lessons with the "Master" of their choice. Little do they know 99% of them will accomplish something with meaning only within their own minds. Like riders, a few injuries and dashed expectations later, they're back at 35 years old and have officially done nothing that anyone not as monomaniacally involved with it as them can even understand.

                  All things being equal, it's better to have one's chosen "self-perfection" discipline in balance with the rest of one's life. I think long-term sustainability is going to bear greater fruit that way in the long run, whatever the Dennys of this world may think. It's the difference between a guy I know who spent 30 years out in Asia doing Kendo, who can really swing a Kendo stick, and that's about it; vs. another guy who swings a kendo stick with the best in the world, and at the same time worked his way up to owning a large piece of lower Manhattan.

                  Just my 2000 yen.
                  Last edited by SwampYankee; Jul. 22, 2012, 10:44 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    I'm starting over at the beginning, literally.

                    By this time I should have been sailing thru TL with my previous horse. Our size differences changed all that.

                    My new boy will be a pasture puff/jogging partner for me for the next two years until I can back him and start our dressage career. Jump school will follow a year or so later...
                    ******************************
                    www.trying2event.blogspot.com
                    www.facebook.com/UltimateStormLARigsby

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Those who are doing it and criticise others that arent and wish they could - as if they are not dedicated...... truth is - we CAN dedicate ourselves and succeed but to succeed where some do - BESIDES the talent and the good horse(s) - there is a level of being in the right place - right time - knowing the right people - a point at which they are blessed with Heaven's kiss and just like top actors and athletes sometimes say - they need to say Thank You God for I am Blessed.

                      Hard work + talent doesnt automatically mean the Olympics.

                      But without that - forget it! =) I think we have to enjoy our personal journey just like in life.

                      For me, I have to battle that - during a time when I worked for some big trainers - I wanted to be in control more and so I worked on the side training exracers and then became the trainer for an exracehorse group and was on their board and on staff etc etc. And I spent a lot of time training OTTBs that other trainers thought were not worth the amount of work they would need. I got good working with the ones that needed out of the box thinking and patience. It was very gratifying but I learned a lot of bad habits - defensive riding and working for a rehab - made no money at all and now have a fixation for the rescue horse.

                      In the meantime I got married and have two small kids. At one point we moved and I have 10K to go buy a young prospect and train to compete again - but that was when I got pregnant and a bunch of local kids talked me into taking them in - boarding their horses and giving them lessons. Now I fight for the time to ride my horses between kids, life, house, husband and riding lessons - oh and feeding and cleaning up after 14 horses.

                      But its my journey and I have learned a lot and am pretty sure I will continue to ride for 30-40 years! =) I just need to be a bit of a pitt bull and bite down hard on disciplining myself to make the time to advance because if I am not growing - I am not happy.

                      I would be much happier competing at a higher level but I think as long as I see progress, even if it is small, I feel happy. Just life - having kids in particular, gives priority check.

                      When I was a kid - I wanted to do GP jumping. As an adult, I want to be able to do high level dressage and mid level eventing.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        I was never allowed, in the context of my family, to devote myself to anything that was not academic. Even though I would have liked to become steeped in things equestrian (tho I was nowhere near mature enough to do it well), it was just never an option, and I was raised not to question that. My bad, I guess.

                        Anyhow, I did the academic thing and kept the horse stuff on the side. When my then-husband, also an academic, and I landed at a small, somewhat rural state-affiliated school in NC, I told my mother I'd be happy with him being the breadwinner and me having a farm. Mom said no, I'd never be happy with that, must keep the academic side fueled, that's what's important and satisfying.

                        Fast forward many years, after the inheritance from Mom, divorce from the academic guy, and me still in the small rural town ... living on the small farm and having a somewhat marginal academic job to support it.

                        I should have followed my bliss all of those years ago, family be damned, but I also see that it would have been difficult. I was one of those thick-headed types who would not have learned well and would have been hard pressed to admit how much I didn't know. It would have been ugly.

                        But over the years, the horses have taught me well, in spite of myself (and the ghost of Mom). I'm working with an older horse now who has a plethora of emotional and physical issues--why I'm spending my time on this fellow is another story, but ... BUT--it is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done, giving this good horse back a decent life and a chance to honor his good work ethic in comfort and my best effort at correctness. I'm learning with every ride, and find it deeply satisfying. I just wish I had the 25-year-old body back (and I would *love* to have met this horse as a youngster), absent the arrogance and resistance to learn, and could do it right this time.

                        As the saying goes, we are too soon old, and too late smart.
                        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                        Spay and neuter. Please.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          My take on the Denny Attitude
                          I worked with Denny. I bought a 2 year old and a 5 year old TB. I got a job I never liked that paid well and had very good benefits. I rode with the likes of Denny and others. I was successful enough, and had money and friends.
                          If you choose to do the horses and can't afford it, that is your decision. I don't really get what you are trying to say there.
                          Denny believes if you are going to event, or other serious sports, you should be fit and cross train. The end. He is not telling people they can't have a life.
                          WHF did that come from.
                          Signing my name to this one,
                          Kathi Hines
                          www.ncsporthorse.com

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            I don't let other people's beliefs dictate what I enjoy. I enjoy my horse, and have no goals. My goals are to have fun. I don't care what other people think at all. LOL, lately I toodle around the ring listening to my ipod. My horse is happy and well fed.

                            I'm not a Denny rider. But then I think the people Denny is speaking to are people who have competitive and professional goals in a tough, dangerous sport. You can't ride like me and aim to get your OTTB to prelim. You'd die. I don't need crazy jumping skills to get my horse packaged to step over a cross rail or log. If that log is 3'6 around, you sure as hell do.

                            Anyone who wants to be at the top of anything needs very sharp discipline and focus and at times, that might mean you are very one minded. Watching my brother train for an Ironman- his life was programmed, his diet was strict, he was no fun. Heck, when I trained for a marathon, I was in bed by 9pm every Saturday to get up early for my long run.

                            I think the young pro wannabes need Denny's message. I know of several who want to be big time riders that "need horses to ride" yet have zero interest in helping with mine. LOL. They seem to have little interest in learning around the barn..... I think they are Denny's targets.

                            Making a good living off of horses is hard work. Competing at the upper levels of eventing is hard work. IMO, the people doing prelim and up need the dedication to riding that Ironman participants have. It must be really rewarding.

                            I think you can totally enjoy horses as a hobby and not have it consume you, but the more you want to acheive, the more you will sacrifice in other aspects of life.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by shea'smom View Post
                              My take on the Denny Attitude
                              I worked with Denny. I bought a 2 year old and a 5 year old TB. I got a job I never liked that paid well and had very good benefits. I rode with the likes of Denny and others. I was successful enough, and had money and friends.
                              If you choose to do the horses and can't afford it, that is your decision. I don't really get what you are trying to say there.
                              Denny believes if you are going to event, or other serious sports, you should be fit and cross train. The end. He is not telling people they can't have a life.
                              WHF did that come from.
                              Signing my name to this one,
                              Kathi Hines
                              I don't want to de-rail a fantastic thread (it has really helped me see that I am not alone in my life balances), but The last part of that comment stuck in my craw.

                              I really respect Denny Emerson. From his overall riding experience, to his overcoming recent physical trauma and riding again, this guy has got it!!

                              He also speaks his mind and sometimes those thoughts, on the surface, seem to belittle or reduce the effort of many who call themselves Eventers. I've read posts where he made it seem that anything below training was not really eventing. He's been very blunt about fitness and cross training. It may be that he has valid points, but they are lost in the dismissive attitude wrapped around them. You may be correct that Denny is saying "have a life", but life is not wrapped completely around one thing.

                              By your own statement you accomplished this by having deep pockets. Good for you. Many others, many I read about here do not and yet the joy they express, the hopes and dreams shared, without out all the money and time, are priceless. They reflect what is best about horses, about eventing. They may be out of shape, they may not be able to cross train as they struggle to train for even one sport, but as to taking it seriously? I doubt any one who has posted on this thread takes lightly the moment they sit in the saddle and consider going over any solid jump. I know I do.

                              Denny, like Jimmy, gnep are a boon to Eventing. We need more of these guys to help push us to grow and achieve more then we thought. I've just learned to put Denny in context to his history, the people he's trained, and his vision of Eventing (which, conceptually, is not far from mine).

                              If Denny does not want me in eventing; a 51 yo software developer who sits in a cube too many hours of the day, who has less time to ride then desired, and less money then able to really go to shows....if he doesn't want a guy so dedicated to horses that he bought a farm just so he could keep his retired eventer and his new eventer even as it sucks his social life away...if he doesn't want a Rider who sets up lights in the winter to keep riding/training, gets up at 6 am to ride to beat the heat before going to a 9 hour cube , who trailers 1 hour each week to get lessons from a trainer that has taken this guy from nothing to BN on a broken horse and a green horse (after a bad fall)...If Denny doesn't understand that I have dreams, desires, and hopes as an eventer, no matter what level....

                              Then I don't want him in my Eventing world. However, I bet he understands all that and more. His comment to me would be, ya got game kid, stop typing, start riding...Go Eventing!

                              (If I did have time, and money, and experience I would be first in line for his 3DBN long format show in VT.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                THREE CHEEERS for this post!!! You've got the true Eventing Spirit!

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  I think this thread meshes well with something I have been pondering lately and that is:

                                  Which world view to have as my base line starting point....

                                  A) "Things Happen for a reason"

                                  OR

                                  B) "Do what it takes to get where you want to go?"

                                  I have been coasting along with the first as my motto - but I think that now I am changing my goal plan to be more of the second.

                                  The question is though: how do you calculate when it is time to change your "plan” if something is difficult to attain?

                                  Back to the OP: no, I am not where I thought I would be! Sometimes I am sad about that, but mostly it pisses me off and that has motivated me to change my world view/method/etc to a more determined mind set! ~ lol!

                                  My goal was to show my lovely WB mare PSG by the time she was 10....
                                  The reality is that she is standing in a field percolating a baby and I am riding a 4 yo PONY for Pete’s sake!

                                  gotta love life lol!
                                  Last edited by mbm; Jul. 23, 2012, 12:26 PM. Reason: posting before morning caffeine - not a good idea ;)

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                                  • #77
                                    lol! i just want to add after reading a lot of posts i missed, that a lot of my inspiration comes from Denny Emmerson!

                                    Anyone who can ride as he does at 70 has my respect - and admiration. We need MORE educated, knowledgeable, outspoken people in the horse world, not less.

                                    And he is right: if you want to ride well: Ride more! Be dedicated! work on your seat! only a very few can do well with inborn talent - the rest of us need to work hard to get good.

                                    and that my friends, is what i struggle with every day as i get "older" (altho if i use Denny as an example i have at least 20 more years to perfect my riding!) .... my inborn talent (whatever small amount i had) no longer works as it used to and NOW i have to learn to ride - and it is difficult after 40 years of "just being able to do it"

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                                    • #78
                                      Deep pockets?Where did you get that? My job was decent, that's all. And I hated it and went every day for 5 years to pay to event.
                                      In the second part of my life, after I pulverized my leg in an accident, I also worked with Denny, as do many low level riders. i have only been BN since then. I don't know why someone would think Denny only works with upper levels because that is not true at all and I've never heard him say anything like that.
                                      www.ncsporthorse.com

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                                      • #79
                                        As a LL eventer, I have always found Denny VERY supportive. He teaches many of us (I have only been lucky enough to ride with him once). He runs camps for many AAs. I have always considered him one of the greatest champions of the Adult Lower Level (now to be called the ALL) rider.
                                        Last edited by IFG; Jul. 23, 2012, 02:41 PM.

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                                        • #80
                                          Fascinating thread.

                                          I can honestly say that my horse life has simultaneously fallen short and way exceeded any and all expectations I have ever had.

                                          On the one hand, competitvely speaking, I have yet to achieve all my goals. I was going to go to NAYRC, and instead represented my area at a prelim horse trials YR challnege thingy (back in the dark ages kids, YR was only the two star) AND was the drop score, LOL. But I finished dammit. I was going to go to Rolex. I was going to be "a star". On the other hand, I'm a professional trainer, with an amazing life and farm. Wowzers!

                                          I've gotten to prelim on several horses (all but one of them made from scratch--and when I bought that one, I was told he was "dangerous"), only to have something befall either them or me which prevented continuing forward. One of the "somethings" was a very serious injury to me, which has in it's own way ended up shaping the rest of my horse career.

                                          I was schooling XC in prep for an upcoming prelim horse trials, and my horse slipped on take off at a large corner, chesting it, and somersaulting with me. As we rolled, he stepped on the back of my neck, crushing my helmet. He also stepped on my knee, and the studs punctured through my patella and in to the joint.

                                          Very long story very short, I ended up not being able to ride for two years, and having to put myself back together physically and emotionally (with the help of my wonderful husband, and the aforementioned genius and general superhero, Sharon White). I had to really evaluate how important riding and horses was to me, and if I could live with the limitations the permanent physical defecits I'd acquired were going to put on me. I will never, physically, be the rider I once was. Somedays, I'm in constant pain.

                                          But the process of coming back. Of being so scared to get on that your hands are shaking. Of feeling like throwing up because a horse throws a buck in the corner. Of working through that and finding my way back to myself, has made me in to the person I am today. A lot of my students have come to me because they are dealing with fear issues. And I can help them because I've been there. I can sympathize, and know when to go easy, and when to push them through it. And helping these folks find their joy again with horses has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

                                          I also have discovered that one of my talents with the horses is really being able to evaluate each individual and figure out what they need. Mr. PF and I have a rep for the quirky ones. I think that's because I've learned how to really evaluate each individual and hear what they tell us. And that came from two years of not being able to do anything but watch them.

                                          So competitively, I'm still behind my bell curve, LOL.

                                          But the rest of it?

                                          I have a beautiful farm, and some of the best horses I've ever owned (and I bred most of them, how cool is that??). I've got a wonderful barn full of students and their horses, and I'm am so enjoying being on the journey with them.

                                          I've filled almost every role in this sport: competitor, groom, coach, trainer, volunteer, even UL horse owner. The only thing I haven't done is officiate, and I'd love to get there someday. I've been on the front side and back side of Rolex, Fair Hill, Olympic Games, WEG's and PanAm's.

                                          I know the best of this sport, and the worst of this sport. Most days the former outweighs the latter. But not every day. THose are the tough ones.

                                          I don't know what my future holds. Maybe I'll do a classic one star on one of my youngsters coming up. Maybe I won't. I find these days I'm less invested in the journey as a competitor, and more interested in the journey as a trainer. Though when I won a HT on a catch ride last fall, that was pretty damn fun.

                                          I never dreamed I'd be my age and never have competed past prelim. I also never dreamed I'd be living the life I have right now. It's a trade off I've made peace with.

                                          Finally, re: Denny's comments. Here's the thing folks. If you want to ride at the top levels and contend for a team, he's absolutely 100% right. Have you folks honestly spent much time around the folks at that level? That single minded focus, to the exclusion of everything else IS what is required. I've had many close friends at that level, and I can tell you the one thing they all had in common was that they were generally unreliable dinner companions, LOL. (As in they were always late, or wouldn't make it at all, because something at the barn always caught them up.)

                                          There is a choice to be made between having the things which encompass a normal life and having an upper level career. Sorry, but it's true. Where I think people misunderstand him is when they think he makes a judgement on those who don't chose the upper level career. I've found Denny to be one of the most humble, down to earth, and hard working folks in this sport. He doesn't judge anybody. He does tell it like it is. If you want a social life, and a family, and a regular paycheck, AND an upper level career, you better be planning on making the team for the Republic of Fairyland on a rare Rainbow Unicorn, because here in the real world it's not possible. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur, lower-level rider, and I KNOW he feels that way. But if you want to be a "contender" it will require you sacrificing all the trappings of normalcy.

                                          I think he gets tired though of hearing people who aren't willing to make those sacrifices, saying that their struggles are only because of money. His point that if you want it bad enough, to the point of sacrificing everything else, it can be done. That is not the same as saying everybody who isn't willing to do that is a sucky whiny weenie pants. ;-)

                                          Everyone's journey is their own. That's the beauty of it all.
                                          Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                                          Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
                                          www.phoenixsporthorses.com
                                          Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com

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