The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics are underway! I love the Olympics, and most of all I enjoy watching horses and riders from many countries compete together on the world stage, celebrating the culmination of many years of training and effort.
This weekend, while the world’s best three-day eventing competitors are representing their countries and chasing their dreams of Olympic medals, I’m home in the Pacific Northwest, riding my young horse in the rain at a one-day Pony club sponsored event, trotting my jump courses, chasing down a dream of finishing our first event together on our dressage score.
The last event I competed in was a Hopeful-level one day with Solar in 2013. I’ve taken a hiatus from eventing while waiting for my youngster, Joey, to be ready to compete. So, even though we are so very far removed from dreams of Olympic glory, it meant a lot to me just to be out there with him this weekend.
And, we did achieve our goal: we finished on our dressage score!
Eventing requires grit… The grit to get up really early to be ready for an 8 a.m. ride time, to navigate your cross-country course in the pouring rain, to care for your horse in times of unexpected injury. It also requires patience… Patience to wait for pony club volunteers to tabulate scores late into the evening to see if you get ribbon, patience for yourself and your horse when you make mistakes, patience not to push for the long spot. And also passion… Passion for the horses, for the community of people who make eventing possible, for all the other competitors who come out to test their skills.
You can witness these qualities at the Olympic level, and you can also see the same qualities at your local three-day or one-day event. You see competitors pushing for their personal best, cheering each other on, and reaching for their goals.