I drove 14 hrs by myself, spent more money than I want to know and almost fell off. This screenshot really doesn't do the whole situation justice. I did a couple “air barrels” while hanging off my horses face and got a no time. I looked like a fool and people must think that I can't ride. I do wear a helmet after all so that's obvious. What a waste of time and money and what an embarrassment. This is what happened, but it's a “weak story” not that of a mentally tough person.
That's NOT MY story. My story is that I pushed through the thickest resistance as I walked to my barn to load up Wednesday morning. I was resisting how awesome things could be and the resistance was trying to keep safe and keep me small, it wanted to stay home. I want to grow, I want to test myself I want to do things I've never done before I told myself as I ventured off. I was brave and walking my talk. I drove 14 hrs to the most beautiful place I've ever competed and I had the most enjoyable time. I did no time my first run as I did almost fall off. Thankfully my horse is gracious and she stayed soft in her face and allowed me to get back into position as I balanced off her face. She's a phenomenal athlete and pulled a move that caused me to get off center, but also get back on again. I wasn't expecting to grace the front of Barrel Horse News with this run, but I was expecting a good time!
I laughed at what happened. I couldn't believe it, and it was ridiculous, but I laughed and I was very proud of myself. The old me would have gone back to the trailer and kicked a bucket in shame and cried. There definitely would have been a pity party. As I cooled out my horse I thought about how proud I was of my horse. She's so cool to have pulled the move she did. But I was so proud of how I felt. I felt mentally tough. Despite no timing at the Copper Spring Ranch, how I felt about myself didn't change. I didn't feel less than I did before I ran. Nothing changed about how I felt about myself and that felt cool. We were still awesome. To me, that's mentally tough and I'm so happy to be there in that space. I was proud of how I handled myself.
My eyes did well up though, and it was when a stranger came across the parking lot with a big smile to tell me that I just needed to let that go and my horse was phenomenal. I know she is, but to have a stranger recognize that what she did and how she handled it was special I was proud. I was vulnerable.
That evening ego paid a visit and reminded me I “should” be in better shape and that probably wouldn't have happened to a younger person (who wasn't turning 41 tomorrow). Ego reminded me that my horse is phenomenal and that I'm probably not enough of a rider for her. Can you imagine what “so and so” could get done on her?
Ego shows up for everyone and it's what you do with it that matters most. What is really true?
Yes, the physical evidence in the mirror indicates that I could probably she in better shape. But I'm here now and this is where we're at with that today.
Yes, I'm having a birthday but that hasn't stopped so many people older than me from rocking it in the arena.
Yes, my horse is phenomenal – but I am too and I have her in my life for a reason.
So the next day, I was set up perfectly for a comeback. I was ready to show up and be brave. I really wanted to go fast to first (which, in the past is where I chicken out and I'm not going as fast as I think I am). I did go fast to first, but I got a bit flat and got by it a bit. I didn't let it knock the wind out of my sails. It did set me up for a not so straight line to second which cost me time. I went to the horn this time at second and we got by it by a hair. It wasn't my ideal run, not the lines I wanted to run but we still ran a 17.66 on a standard pattern and I was proud to have stayed on AND go fast AND get a time!
I was quite a ways out of the money because they are blazing fast there, but I accomplished everything I set out to and tied my personal best time. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and ran at a big race with people who've been on barrel horse magazine covers and the NFR. I stayed mentally strong and showed up ready to play despite the setback. I walked my talk. I had fun and had a great experience with my horse in a beautiful setting. How can it get any better than that?
That's my story and I hope it inspires you to be brave and go run wherever your heart is pulled. Show up, and if you fail (or nearly fall) know that you're still awesome and go show up again.