I just don’t have the heart for this.
The first few times I jumped, it was not a pretty thing. Here’s my first (very tiny) oxer:
My calves were weak, my elbows were locked, and my gut was twisted with fear. Whenever I jumped, I had to talk myself into every crossrail and oftentimes it was only my trainer’s demand that I “do it anyways” that pushed me to the other side of the fence.
I wish I was more brave.
When I was younger, I was brave—or maybe I was just stupidly optimistic; sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. I believed that the Universe had blessed me and that my karma was unshakably skewed towards happiness and joy. The world watched over me like a sheepdog might watch over a lamb fumbling through its first steps, while I meandered through life with a stalwart faith that things would always work out.
As an adult, I still believe that the stars will align themselves for me and that my cosmic scale will always tip more towards the good than the bad, but I also recognize that sometimes the Universe works in unorthodox ways. It breaks bones so that they can grow back stronger. It puts you in a position to make mistakes so that you can learn from them. It gives a teenager a horse that teaches her hubris and then it finds her another horse that builds her back up as an adult. It opens doors and it closes them, brings you opportunities that turn out well and opportunities that make you question where you’re headed.
Maybe I’m not cut out to jump.
But the more I learn about myself, the easier it is to recognize moments where the Universe’s plan is unfolding; sometimes I can see the strings of fate knitting themselves together.
“We should find you a nice little schoolmaster.” – Trainer M
“This is what you meant, right?” – me
I don’t know if I’m ready, but I know that I’m sick of being something fragile and afraid. It’s time to think less with my brain, which is an anxious and self-sabotaging thing, and more with my heart.
I went to see Raglan with cash in hand, because I already knew what path I’d be walking next.
$1000 and thirty minutes later, I had a horse delivered right to my doorstep.
My dreams aren’t abstract, amorphous thoughts about strength and wisdom and courage anymore. That chapter of my life is closing, and as I start to go through the process of drawing up the paperwork for Ezhno’s eventual sale, I can see my dreams congealing into a recognizable form. They’re shaped like water features and coffins and halting on X. They’re tangible things that can be measured in meters and seconds and percentages. They’ve got a rhythm to them—the lofty beats of a jump-worthy canter and the count down of three, two, one, HAVE A GREAT RIDE.
I’m starting to learn that riding is a two heart sport and the best way to combat my irrational fears is to make the conscious decision to trust that, despite being large and inherently dangerous, these creatures are filled with an undeniable good will—I truly believe that they do their best to work with us and keep us safe.