Sunday, February 22, 2015
My entire life I have been a competitive equestrian rider. I spent 2 full semesters of high school living in Florida where the most elite equestrian competition takes place for 12 weeks of the winter. The division I mainly competed in is called "equitation" it is a judged division for people 18 years and under. It is the most technical, you have to be poised, stay at a steady pace, leave the ground the same distance before each jump, have a certain amount of steps in between certain jumps all while maintaining a perfect position and having a beautiful horse who fits the criteria of what the judge is looking for.
This was something I was naturally very good at. I would compete all year to gain enough points for the 'finals' at the end of the season. There are 4 main ones, the ASPCA Maclay, the USEF Medal, the USET Talent Search and Washington Finals. For the Maclay finals, which is what the following videos are of, you must gain enough points to make it to 'regionals' and then you must place in the top 30 to move on to the final. I was lucky enough to make it through to the final every year I competed. In 2012 I had one of the best rounds of my life, which is what the first video is of. Showing what an equitation class is supposed to look like.
The next video, was the following year, in 2013, which was also my last junior (under 18 equitation rider) year and this was the last final of the year. I had been riding a lot, my horse felt great and I was excited to get in the ring. However, the universe had another plan for me...as I was cantering up to the first jump I thought in my head "phew, I found the distance to the first jump, this is awesome." Finding a distance is how far away you leave the ground from the jump and it has to be the perfect distance, which isn't always easy to find, especially to the first jump because you don't have a lot of time to get your pace set. Needless to say, I was excited that I felt good about the first jump. As my horse went to take off, he took a funny step, and fell through the jump, I fell off, and that was it. Although this happens to everyone, and this was not my first time falling off, it was the definition of an EPIC FAIL. Even the commentators had no idea what happened. There was nothing I could have done, and it wasn't my fault, but I absolutely failed. I was extremely disappointed and upset for weeks after because that was how I had ended my junior riding career. But, I got back on and kept on doing what I love. And in the end I learned that sometimes you have to fail to appreciate your success.