Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Editorial: Opportunity (or about thanks)

Karen over at CONTACT recently posted about Boyd Martin's Working Student Position and the unfair's of being charged to work, and the only uber rich/affluent can afford to do that position.

Three years ago I would have been doing the "right on sister!" routine with the crowd, but nowadays, not so much.

Partly, it's due to me coming to realize how the horse business operates, the other part I think comes from now realizing what I have, and being more than grateful for the hand I have now. 

At one point or another roughly three years ago, I was right there, horse rich, cash poor, educationally starved and very, if any, zero to no help in the bank department.

What I had literally scraped together for my lesson money was about a quarter of my paycheque at the time (Starbucks Barista and starting-out free lance writer on limited work hours due to college for those referencing) and if I was frugal enough, I could do it every two weeks. 

I kept my mare at bare-bones minimum with an outdoor and fed what I could afford (grass hay). I had also then stopped competing, and was pretty much languishing about things.

It sucked.

Not just because I couldn't afford to do anything, but I was really stuck in a rut. 

I decided if I wanted what I wanted, and to really bring the potential out in my mare (and me) I needed to do something different.

Problem was I didn't know how or what. Truth is there isn't a heck of a lot of opportunities for training level AA's out there, especially on "alternative breeds". My scores (after looking at what I'm achieving now) were laughable, and I lived with people who didn't think I could even ride anything bigger than 14.2.

Something had to change.

Things didn't begin to change for me until I made a change. Hindsight being what it is, it started with the barn. I switched to a reining barn where dressage, let alone meters, wasn't understood. I had breathing room, and an indoor and life became great.

I also then, after I quit editorial (inconsistent cush job), took a really crappy job that paid consistently so I could take lessons with a local dressage trainer. My schedule also became consistent. It also lead me to pick up a mare, breed her and got very lucky. I got to one point, plateued, and then pushed to another.

When I had started Team EnGaged, all I really wanted was the opportunity to educate myself. I never knew where it would lead. It's lead to something good, and while it will never allow me to retire, it's network and plethora of people that I've come to rely on I'm hugely appreciative of.

You see, no one is obligated to hand out positions to help yourself, employers aren't even obligated to make sure you progress. So when somebody asks you to carry you're fair weight (work wise, financially, ect), you a choice of stepping up or stepping out.

Little by little things have built up to a place where I feel I've actually done something, and the sensation of whining about what I don't have and the inability to take advantage of opportunities is gone.

Does it suck I can't go out on a lark and take three months to do serious intense training?  Yeah, but I can't afford to take three months out of a full time job, keep my life and work towards future goals. So, I figure out what I can afford to do, work my pitute for it and continuously push boundaries.

Are there setbacks? Yes, a lot. But it's the willingness to take what you have and make the best go of it that makes opportunities available to you and your horse.

The lesson inevitably is, sometimes opportunities are more direct than others, and some have better chances, but the ones that are most assured, and appreciated, are the ones you've developed over time, bit by bit.

So don't bemoan those who have the means and capability to do, be thankful, and stay hungry.


Jen said...

What an awesome, refreshing post. I am right there with you on the Boyd Martin's blog saga. It's also really...comforting? to know that you've went through those struggles too.

Kelly said...

Jen, you never walk alone.

HammersArk said...

Thank you for posting that. I really needed to hear that. I'm totally suck in horse-rich, money and time-poor rut right now and I just get tired of thinking of all the work I need to do.

BUT, I think I'm on a good track to get out of these ruts.

Part of that was getting my 12.2hh welsh pony mare to start doing dressage on.

I'm definitely planning on following your blog as it seems like we might have a lot in common.