Riding horses and writing are two things that are a very much a part of what makes me who I am. This past year, I took a break from writing while I did some soul searching. Prior to that, I had taken pretty much a complete break from riding since 2016. Honestly, I felt a bit lost not having something to shoot for in front of me, but sometimes that can be a good thing. Breaks can allow you to sit back and re-asses what you’re at, what you really want, and what it’s going to take to get there. Sometimes too, it can change who you are as you reflect on the things you want to discard and the things you want to keep. As I said in my post in Talking In The Barn, I don’t believe in things I once did, and believe in things I use to not believe in.
In order for me to get where I wanted to be, which was running, I had to get a barn built so I could get my horses in the dry and have some hay storage. I finally got that checked off the list around April of last year, along with the start of an arena.
My next goal was to start hauling and running barrels again because it was something that I just couldn’t shake. Fireman & Cool had some soundness issues, and I was still trying to work through those. Willie Bobby was the only option for a sound horse to run.
A lot of folks would have sold their horse and bought something sound and ready to go win on. For me, sometimes things aren’t all about winning. Sometimes it’s about the challenge to see what you can accomplish, and Lord knows I always love an underdog! At 20 years old and still GREEN at barrels, Willie was definitely an underdog. Add to that fact that he’s grade out who knows what, spooks a lot, is barefoot, and trimmed & ridden by his 50 something year old owner that hasn’t seen a can in 5 years. We make quite the underdog pair!
Sometime early July, we ran our first run – no exhibitions – at a little open show that had around 30 entries. We didn’t place, but I didn’t fall off, he didn’t spook, he handled the ground well and his pattern wasn’t too bad. The icing on the cake was that I had an absolute blast! We ran barrels and poles at that same show a couple of months later and had a lot of fun.
Later, we went on to run a night time exhibition at the rodeo, and made a few NBHA shows where we picked up a little money and points. In fact, we won a headstall for district year end, and qualified for the NBHA World. Not too bad for a 5 year break and being underdogs!
This coming year, I’d like to run a little more and that’s what we’re working on. Step by step.
Sitting was hard for me. When you can’t do something that you really do have a passion for, that you can’t go a day without thinking about, it takes the wind out of your sails. As the saying goes, there’s a season for everything. Sometimes that season of feeling like you’re doing nothing really is preparing you for something. Maybe it’s a time to reflect and find your orientation, maybe it’s a time to learn lessons you won’t learn any other way. For me, it was both.
I say all that to say this…..
Don’t feel bad if you’re having to sit right now. Use it to best of your advantage.
Don’t count yourself out just because you think you’re too old, too out of shape, or not talented enough to do something. Go do what you can with what you’ve got, one step at a time, and run your own race.
Life is too short to be afraid of going after those things you love and that give your life vibrancy!
So where are you at right now? Are you sitting or taking those steps?