I have been asked numerous times why going to NAJYRC is so important to me. Everyone says, “Young Riders shouldn’t be your end goal, a 4* should be what you really want to accomplish”, “It’s not that important”, “Half the people that make it to young riders fall off the grid and are nobodys now.” Those people are correct. In the grand scheme of things no one is going to remember me for my performance at young riders. In 10 years the only person that will still recount the events that unfolded will most likely be me. But honestly? That’s fine with me. I want to show myself if I work as hard as I can for something I truly want, then I can accomplish it. I want to show everyone how amazing my horse is and how you can take a horse that knows nothing to a horse who consistently does well. I want to show kids like me that just because you don’t come from money, and can’t go buy a Rolex horse to run a 1* on, that you can still make it.
Money determines a lot of things in this sport, but what it can’t buy you, is passion. It can’t buy you the long hours, the blood, sweat, and tears of sheer determination and hard work. It can buy you a seasoned event horse who can go on auto-pilot, but it can’t buy you the talent to ride said horse. Yes, I know, even the most experienced horses aren’t easy to ride, and I’m not saying they are. But when you go out of the startbox knowing your horse has jumped around the upper levels there has to be an added confidence.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the riders who are on horses they’ve had since the start. Horses they had no idea would be capable of upper level competition. I suppose there’s an added confidence there too, knowing a horse inside and out. But there is also that small voice saying, “They have never seen something like this, they have never done a course this long, will they make it?”.
I want to make the team to further prove the value of starting a horse from the beginning. I want to be proof you shouldn’t have to send your horse to training every other week just to keep it going properly. You can learn how to be the rider your horse needs if you just work at it. I’m not perfect by any means, my trainer sits on my horse every now and then to show me how my leg yields should look, how I should ask and what I’m doing wrong. My stadium is a work in progress, but I’m not willing to give up and let someone else fix it.
I’m aware there is a possibility I won’t make the team, but I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I did everything I could. I don’t want to regret not working harder, or giving up. I just want to know Reba and I were the best we could be and we simply didn’t make it because there was someone better. I’m not prepared to give up this dream without a fight.
To everyone that is being told your dreams aren’t important enough, let those words be your driving force. Let those people fire your passion and don’t let it die. If my journey can inspire one kid to not give up due to their financial situation, or their lack of support, I’ve accomplished something.
So yeah, maybe NAJYRC isn’t Rolex. But when Reba leaves in August next year, I want to be able to say we made it to our Rolex. I want her to have her moment.