remember that little girl that first sat on a pony? when everything was easy and nothing seemed impossible? in this world, its really easy to get caught up in it. all of a sudden, its more important what color the ribbon is, how fancy your horse is, and what shows you attend, then the riding itself. at this level, you’re not lessoning to learn, you’re training to win. its not for leisure anymore, its to outperform everyone else. you start to realize that there are people out there who will have 5 horses to your 1. people that will spend millions of dollars, for a ribbon you can get for 50 cents at a craft store. people that will show every weekend, just because they can. and once you start to realize this, its really easy to get discouraged, or wish you could change. the hardest part in this sport is wanting something so badly, so badly that you’d give ANYTHING to have it, and knowing you might never get it. at its highest level, this sport is as unfair and unequal as it gets, and its the hard truth. its the stuff we let ourselves get caught up in. we get caught up in who has the fancier horse, who goes to the most shows, and ultimately, who is the best. and there’s people out there who hate anyone that has more than they do. but is this why we started riding? to do whatever it takes to win? no. we started riding because we loved the sport. we loved the simple joy of cantering around, and the absolute thrill that going over a crossrail gave us. it was the best thing in the world when we got to ride once a week, and we loved a backyard school pony with all our heart. we knew nothing of competition, and everyone was our best friend. florida was for disney world, not wef. summers were for the beach, not showing to get more points for finals. we were young, and just loved our pony. it didnt matter if you made a mistake, because there was always another try at it. we knew nothing of grooms, and begged our moms to let us stay just FIVE more minutes with our pony. our one lesson a week meant the world to us, it was what we looked forward to. we rode, because we loved to, not because we felt we had to. now, years later, its time to remember why we started out in this sport, time to just enjoy the ride. focus on the journey, be happy that today you can ride, just like the little girl you once were was happy just to canter for the first time. she didn’t care if she won a big eq final one day, she got to canter! everyone always says that as you grow up, you dont lose friends, you just find out who your real ones are. remember when we were all best friends at the show ring, all those pictures of everyone with their arms wrapped around each other, cheering because one of us got a ribbon in short stirrup? we train day in and day out, thriving for absolute perfection, trying to be have invisible aids. the little girl didn’t care if her leg moved back an inch, or if her elbows poked out just a tad. the jumping picture of her over a crossrail, with her pony’s legs hanging, was what was framed over her bed. its time to get back to that. stop focusing on your destination, enjoy each step of the journey. stop wishing to be be someone else, or trying to outdo them, but do what you can with what you have, and stop trying to be perfect. nothing will ever be perfect, if it was, it wouldn’t be called life. its time to just be happy, and enjoy riding for the sake of riding, not for the sake of the ribbon. being happy doesnt mean that everything is perfect, it means youve decided to look beyond the imperfections.