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.