Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sometimes I worry...

I worry that I'm a wanna-be. I worry that I really don't have enough gumption to do the hard stuff. We're planning our outdoor riding ring, and I really, really want it because right now we have to ride in our barely-big enough pasture and that's kind of tough on the grass and the inexperienced riders. Soooo, I'm fired up to get it going. But it also means that I'm going to have to show what I've got...I've never really had total responsibility for training a horse since high school and that didn't really count because he was trained already and it didn't matter what I did with him anyway.

Then I went to college and competed there, which involved absolutely no horse training whatsoever because you draw a horse's name out of an envelope, get on and make the best of it. And I was good at equitation, really good. I started thinking I was pretty hot stuff, actually. And maybe I was, at equitation, which is not horse training.

And then I was a riding instructor at a couple of summer camps and then I was sure I was really something. Because it was pretty obvious that I was the best rider at the WHOLE camp! And they knew it and so did I! I went off to instructor camp to be certified and I got certified as high as is possible until you're 21, which I wasn't, so I KNEW I was something and I had the certificate to prove it!

And then I grew up and got an office job and a sports car and a little rental house. And then I met Handyman and I had enough money to take lessons again and I called the first yellow pages ad that mentioned the word dressage and I met my friend Kate, who'd just had a baby and she needed a part-time instructor. Wasn't that neat? So then I started teaching beginners at a real event barn, for real money. And I had prestige, a little bit.

I didn't have a horse or even a saddle but I had my finger in the pie again. It was great. I stayed with Kate through several locations and years. She came to our wedding; we all went to Rolex; we had kids the same year. I took lessons from her for years, but didn't have a horse, so I was never really "there". I didn't compete. Didn't have a horse, didn't have a trailer, didn't have the money. I had the head knowledge, but no proof. Could I make it around a cross-country course? Do I even want to?

Last summer I was the timer at the finish line of the event put on by Kate's stable. I timed each rider as they crossed the finish, beginner through advanced. I watched each one, young, old, good, bad, strong and weak. And I wondered, do I really do this? Or am I just a pretender? Really??

I have a darling large pony who may be a great...don't know yet. Can I do the right things, the right way and turn her into something wonderful for my kids and other little girls who would like to try? You know those actresses who accept the awards saying, "I keep waiting for everyone to find out that I'm not really that good at it, that this is all just a charade"? That's me. Can I do it?

There was a great quote in the Clarence Thomas book I just read. He said it came from Bobby Knight, former coach of Indiana University. It went something like this, "Everyone has the will to win. But do you have the will to do what it takes to win?" Thomas used this quote to motivate himself to train for a marathon and then to train for his Supreme Court nomination confirmation, which turned into much more than a marathon, as we all remember.

Do I have the will to do what it takes to succeed? Sometimes I worry.


Strawberry Lane said...

I think you've already proven you have the will to succeed.

Love your writing.

Tracey said...

I know what you mean! We go our Walker (Racking Horse) to ride, but I am so green at it that I feel like a fake sometimes. I don't even have nearly as much experience as you do. Now people call us "horse people" and I feel uncomfortable in that skin. BUT I have the gut feeling that you have the guts for this. I know you will succeed!