Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013...The Year of the Do-Over

"I don't really know how I got here
But I'm sure glad that I did
And it's crazy to think that one little thing
Could've changed all of it…

...Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to this"

It has been quite a while since I updated my blog, and with the new year a few hours away the timing felt right. This has been the strangest year I can ever remember. I probably say that every year actually, but 2013 might go down as the year I learned the most in my life.

Growing up I played summer softball. I wasn't very good at it, but I still look back on it as some of my fondest memories. One of the things I remember most was that our coach, Mr. Flansburg, had this great way of giving us a second chance, a do-over as he called it. I always thought it was about him finding a way to make us feel better if we didn't quite succeed, but after this year I look back and wonder if it was his way of making sure we had time to learn the lessons we needed to that we didn't get the first time. This year has been my do-over. Of a journey I hadn't even planned to take at this time last year.

I started out this year focused on an upcoming riding clinic and planning to show Joker. Somewhere around March that plan morphed into planning to buy my own horse. Who knew that decision would change my world so radically.

In April I bought B'sheret. Who I thought was my dream horse. A four year old red roan quarter horse, bred from the famous Invest 'n Vital Signs (a horse I had crushed on for a while). Sadly as I have recounted in earlier posts, he had some stifle issues and we had to return him to his previous owners.

I wont lie, when it happened I felt slighted by the world, I was hurt, I was angry, I felt robbed and seriously considered being done with horses. I thought the journey was ending and that made me really bitter.

What I can only see looking back now is that B' was never where the journey was headed. That he was just in my life for a short time to help me see what truly mattered in my life.

Shopping for B' had been easy, we found him almost immediately, he was local, everything happened very quickly. Shopping for the next horse wasn't quite that simple. If it had been I don't think I would have truly gotten the lessons I needed to out of it.

I shopped from July to November to find my next horse, Jasmine (Iza Cute Cowgirl, a 7 year old Appaloosa mare). Nothing seemed on the surface to go right through the process. We would get close on a horse and it would sell, or something totally unexpected would come up in the vet check, or we would change our minds on what was the right horse. And I cant say I always handled it all gracefully. There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of frustration, but at the same time there was also a ton of support and love around me. Not only were those closest to me helping me search, but by the time I found Jas, a good chunk of the Appaloosa show world was helping me too. People I had never met, people who I knew through friends of friends, they stood up and joined the journey. And to me that is one the greatest gifts of this year, the friends I made that I never would have if I hadn't shopped a second time, and the way friendships I already had were strengthened. I had to let people in and trust people in a way I have never done before.

Anyone who has known me for more than a week knows I am not very good at letting others help me (my first words I learned to speak were "I do it self"). I am skeptical, with reason, of people's motives, of if I am being played, of what the price will be later. So to allow friends and total strangers help me find a horse, to help me bring my horse home, to be on such an emotional journey with me was a challenge, but it was a lesson well traveled. Because when I look back at home Jasmine came to be mine, there is a trail of people who reached out to help for no reason but good hearts and wanting me to find happiness.

Through what started as one of the toughest times of my life ended up restoring a lot of my lost faith in humanity.  I was shown what really great people I have around me, that people can make promises they intend to keep, that we don't have to always handle the world our selves to be safe and that there are good people out there.

I am not going to lie, finding my new horse, wasn't without sadness. In November we said good bye to many of my friends at Woodloch, as my trainer was leaving and I decided to board Jasmine at another facility. Many of the people I showed with the last two years made similar decisions and we have all gone to our new barns. I love, love, love where I am boarding, Jasmine is in the best of hands, and I am very excited to be somewhere where showing Appaloosas is the focus, but it is hard knowing that I wont be in the arena next year with some of my friends as team mates. It makes having not shown this year a little harder to stomach (a lost last chance) but even in that has come lessons. About valuing what we have at the moment, because tomorrow comes with no guarantees, about telling people that you love them and they matter to you, because you don't know how long you have them, about not being caught up in the future and really focusing on how good today is.

I feel, as I often do, like this post should end with something profound. But the best I can come up with right now is a Thank you. Thank you to those people who stood by me this year, who loved me through the tears, who laughed with me through the smiles. Thank you to those people who made me a better person, even when I fought you. Thank you to those who stood by as I stumbled and were there to dust me off when I got back up. Thank you to those who offered help and assistance and who followed through on those offers. Thank you all for being part of my life and for allowing me to be flawed, and impatient, and moody and miserable and still loving me anyway!