Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spark of Madness

I grew up incredibly awkward as a child.

Attending public school, I was the odd kid out who did the weird sport and often spent lunches in the library so I can avoid the cafeteria, which was pure terror (they still scare me, never know where to sit). I never attended a party. I went to bed at 10.

My social life was devoted to two things: school and horses. School was alright. I did my work, got reasonable grades, and for the most part, had really wonderful teachers. My second school, the barn, was also pretty cool. I also grew up in an old school professional's barn, where children are seen and not heard- it was tough, but gave me a lot of the essential tools that I still use today.

I was a barn rat ala working student. I spent every possible moment I could there. I read everything about horses, I rode everything I could get my hands on. I researched, participated, volunteered, and I dreamed that someday I would dominate the large European eventing tracks (Badminton was my favorite). I was very cocksure around a horse, around people, not so much.

It took me a long time, and an entire business to learn to reach out to people, even at the fear of rejection. While I don't harbor a single desire for clearing solid obstacles, I still have an overseas ambition. My people skills are vastly improved, and I'm not a wallflower.

When I turned professional, I faced a huge amount of challenges. I felt I wasn't enough.

I wasn't ready enough to impart what I had learned, so I shunned teaching for a long time.  I felt  I wasn't good enough for investment horses or training horses, so I stuck to my basics- quietly buying, breeding and selling for myself. Thinking that I made it to the holy grail of Grand Prix I would finally get fulfillment.

15 years after I graduated high school, I was back at the cafeteria wondering where to sit and debating if there was a quiet corner in the stacks to eat a sandwich while I read a book. Who would want to take a lesson with me, or why would anyone plunk even a dollar down for a nice horse for essentially a no-name can ride? Or who would train me consistently?

I essentially lost my way.

I was begging for a corporate job by mid-year. I wanted to run back to the safety of the doldrum office, comforted by business casual dress and clinging to my stacks of emails, settling for a consistent paycheck, happy weekends off and late nights schooling my herd.  Knowing it would be the death of whatever happiness I built up leaving corporate America to begin with, but still, it was a safety blanket.

I lacked confidence in what I was doing.

Combined with a rough show season, situations happening, being around drama llamas- people who breathed for conflict, and having a blasé routine (wake up, work out, ride) it pushed my perception of my world around.

Then things started to change. I picked up some extra work for another trainer, I have a regular local clinic I teach, the other side of the business of sales, improved, picking up Haiku G and having a drop date for Flair was a relief. Sinari continues to mend, Danzador continues to improve.

So, as I end my first year of living off the corporate grid, and being a professional I find myself again moving and breaking out.

I'm incredibly thankful for my students and clients, but again I find the same fear of settling has started creeping in as winter approaches.

I have one more trip on the docket for this year that will hopefully prove game changing. I feel though that my luck and my time is stretching a tad thin at this point with back to back successful clinics and good investors this year. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Austen Gage said...

Just as an amateur, it's hard for me to claim the successes I've had. I don't like stepping into the light and claiming any sort of praise. I can't imagine how much that feeling must be exacerbated by being a pro. My hat is off to you for continuing to persue your dream. I know you deserve all the success you have and more. Best, I know you aren't an unknown. I've heard your name spoken with respect, both nationally and locally. Can't wait to see what else is in store for you!

emma said...

wishing you the best of luck in this next trip!!