It’s next to impossible to predict where you’re going to end up, or how happy you’re going to be, or what you need when- until you know. We go so long not appreciating what we have, only to look back and realize what we missed. Sometimes I think that happens for a reason; how else would we be able to learn from experience? There was so many times in NZ that I couldn’t get myself out of what was definitely the darkest place I’ve ever been. But upon drawing from past experience and lessons learnt I didn’t give into that, and low and behold I learned too much to list and was able to turn some brutal times into experience that will help me the rest of my life. It’s taken me awhile to be grateful for all the crap I had to handle over there- and believe me I still have moments where I struggle to see the good in some things. But it’s getting easier to appreciate ‘the gift’ all that bad brought me. Insert typical “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” quote.
I’ve been thinking about NZ a lot lately. To be honest I never really stop thinking about it. Thinking about all the good, and the.. challenging things I experienced in those 6 months away. Thinking about all that’s changed and how I’ve grown. Thinking about what I miss and what I don’t. I remember often being frustrated while I was over there because I couldn’t make progress towards goals that had to do with school, or sport and being anxious to get home for that reason; so I could get back into school and into training. What I didn’t realize then was that I was taking steps towards those goals, just in a different way. During my time there I came to the realization that I wanted to change career paths. Who knows if I would have come to that conclusion as quickly if I’d been here in school. More then that, being away taught me how much I really want to reach those goals. I came home more driven and focused then I’ve ever been in my life. And in order to keep the schedule I do, that is what I needed. There is no way I could have a life like I do right now and not be determined or focused. As it is I could do with a little more focus sometimes.
When I was flying over BC in March, looking at the snow covered mountains, I had to work hard to fight back tears. Mostly tears of excitement over being home after what seemed like a long, hard 6 months. I was ready to be back in the comfort of home. But, as anybody who travels will tell you, its hard to come home after being away for so long. Especially after growing so much as a person. It took about a week of me being home for me to feel a little lost somewhere that is the most familiar to me. But- at the same time- I came back with a different perspective. I came back ready to chase my dreams harder then I ever have before. I don’t get shaken by much anymore because more then once I’ve experienced how far you can fall and then all at once find a way to get back up. I started to realize what my priorities are, and that I can’t wait for people to make decisions about my life- because it’s just that, my life. I know I made the right decision to come home when I did. I love school, and that my horse is going as well as he is so far this season. Neither of those would have been possible without that extra 3 months in the home country. Part of what is sometimes disorientating about being home, still, is trying to fit in as the person I became in the place of the person I left as. If that makes sense. As much as I adore everything about living at home- small town life isn’t quite jamming with where I’m at right now. There really isn’t a better way to describe it.
I think the past few posts have been about my amazing horse. The fact that he has been going so well this year is also partially thanks to all those things I picked up in NZ. The confidence I feel between us lately is spectacular, and I can thank every horse, trainer, and owner that I worked with/under overseas. Riding different horses is such a good way to develop confidence and skills in the saddle. Doing that under the scrutiny of other trainers and in a high stress situation really doesn’t hurt either (well, after the fact anyway). My riding is more instinctual now. It takes less time for me to process decisions. Where I used to hesitate, I now act. All of this is effecting my horse in the most positive way possible. Because horses are such responsive creatures, every ounce of confidence I feel- he picks up too. One of the reasons riders are some of the most focused people I know- without that, there is no partnership, and with no team- you have no success. And as any rider will tell you, what you feel when all there is between you and your horse is pure trust and you feel like you can do anything- is by far the best feeling out there. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to achieve that in almost every ride this season so far.
Our first show will most definitely be Summer Smiles in June at BHP. I’m more then excited, and really hoping all he’s been doing at home is going to come through at the show- otherwise I’ll look like a dick saying all these wonderful things about him haha. To makes things a little more stressful, because that’s what I excel at apparently, my final exams fall approximately 2 days after that show- which means on top of showing I’ll have to be studying in every single spare second I have. As far as the midterm, I’m not going to complain about my mark. It definitely could have been higher- but it also could have been much worse. It’s good enough to keep my average at a place I’m happy with. It’s at the right level to kick my ass in gear to push a little harder next time- which is good. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.