It was a much lowlier beginning than that. It started with a used up track horse on Craigslist in a muddy feild. Underweight, distant, mangy looking beast. But under all of that and those 75 race starts you could still see in this horses eye the strength and honor he still possessed. I admit to see it you had to look really closely but it was there.
Coming out the other end and achieving light years beyond what you could have even imagined doesn't feel like one might think. It's not that feeling of standing at the top of the pedestal with flowers draped about your neck, crowds cheering and soaking in your glorious victory. It is much more anticlimactic than that. More like walking through a feild with land mines and bullets whizzing by. Dust and smoke obscuring your view. You fall down many times but at some point you stand up and the smoke has cleared. You look around and realize that as ugly and endless it seemed you are still standing. No one is there to cheer you on. And no one really could because there is no way for one to truly grasp the passion, the strength and pure fight it took to get there.
I saw a shirt the other day that said, "great horses don't just happen". I think that is sometimes how we can judge another fellow rider. "Well they just have a nice horse." But we never really know their story. Yes there are those that buy that made horse but mostly I think we are all in the trenches together. Knocking it out one schooling ride at a time for what can seem like an eternity. Walking away more days than not with bumps, bruises and scars, physically and figuratively. Ask the greats and even they will say these horses aren't made in a day, a month or even a year. It is years upon years. For us it's been 5 1/2 so far and we are just now starting to make headway but with so much more to go. I write this as reminder to myself that we deserve a little bit of our moment in the sun because we sure as hell worked for it. I also write this for those that have been working on that one thing, whether it be that transition or fear or soundness for forever and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were days I felt like cutting my losses. Days I felt I was just too old. Many days that there wasn't enough money for the training we needed or saddle he had to have or time was slipping away and whats the point. If There ever was an obstacle we have probably faced it. Saddle fit, trailering, bucking, rearing, soreness, soundness. If I have one word of advice for anyone bringing along a horse it would be to, put the clock away. Better yet destroy it. Pretend time doesn't exist. Just let it go. And the other would be stop comparing. Stop comparing your
horse, yourself. Don't compare your one year with another's 4 years.
When you've worked on that canter transition for 101 days just show up to day 102. THAT is all it takes. Just keep showing up.