Friday, April 15, 2016

An Open Letter to Riders Before the Upcoming Show Season

Dear Rider,

The show season is just about to begin, and I know you are jittery with anticipation.  The world seems to glitter before your eyes, and your dreams are grand and gorgeous.   Your clothes are neatly pressed, waiting for the first ride.   You’ve peeked at them at least a thousand times, and tried them on “just to see” a thousand times more.   
You expect success--that is what all of those winter rides were for.   Those winter rides when you couldn’t feel your fingers and your breath loomed over your head in puffy clouds of exhaustion.   You imagined the warm rays of summer.   You imagined the freshly bathed horses and shiny tack and polished boots.  They seemed so far away, then.  But now, they are just on the edge, like the dreams that hang on the tip of your tongue like sweet candies.  
And so, on this eve of a show season, you dream big, beautiful dreams.   You dream of victory passes and the traditional organ music.  You dream of funnel cakes and cotton candy fingers.   You dream of friendships.   You dream of your favorite horse and the perfect class.   You dream of a cheering section that erupts into thunderous applause whenever you pass.    You dream of all of these things, and much more.   
And you will have those moments.  You will bounce around the showgrounds sporting your newly-acquired ribbons.  You’ll huddle around the dark screens of the photographer’s booths, trying to catch a glimpse of that perfect ride.  You’ll think about these moments for hours, days, or even weeks after.  You will be elated to see the smiles in your instructors’ faces as they congratulate you afterwards.   You’ll swarm social media with positive, dreamy posts.  
But sometimes you will forget.  Not everything can glitter forever, and it sometimes needs polishing.   You will cry.  You will feel defeated.  You will make mistakes.   You will avoid eye contact as you leave the show ring with nothing but yourself and your horse.   
But you, rider, will not give in.  You will not give up.  You will work harder, stronger, smarter than ever before.  You will know that defeat is not temporary.   You will know that defeat will not define you.    And so you will continue on, despite your hardships... And you will rise again.   
So on this evening, rider, cherish this moment.  Sit in the silence and think about those big, beautiful dreams.    Let your mind have a chance to imagine these dreams rich in color because you have no room for doubt.   You have no room for fear.   You are capable of great, wonderful things.

Sincerely (and good luck),
An adult who has big, beautiful dreams, too.