I'll admit, I've been drifting from endurance for some time. Not because I don't love it or feel intense satisfaction or whatever reason people lose connection to things. I'm drifting because I need something new.
I've spent almost half of my riding career as an endurance rider, the longest stint at one discipline I've ever done. It has taught me innumerable things about training, conditioning, perseverance, my horse, and myself, and there's not a second in the saddle I would trade for anything. I won't stop riding endurance, but I am taking some time for myself to chase a dream.
In 7th grade, I drew Olympic rings on my notebooks and told people I would be the youngest rider ever in the Olympics. Granted, I was factoring approximately 0% of reality into that goal; I was already 13, had little to no show experience, money, training, or horse on anywhere near that level. But I wanted it, and that was enough for a 7th grader. Later, in high school and already in endurance, I worked the the Jersey Fresh event for a 4-H fundraiser. As I watched horses bear down on the same fence and make it over together, I knew I wanted to do that. But here I am, a cool 7 years later, with not a single step in that direction but for the starter trial last fall. (I'm not sure that counts as more than fuel on the fire.)
So I had a heart-to-heart with my family about what I want to do after my term with the current job is up. I want to be a working student. I actually need to be a working student, or I'll regret not taking the chance for the rest of my life. Rose gave me a few dressage riders to contact, but I'm really chasing eventing and have applied and had a few bites. But it scares me on multiple levels, those levels being:
I haven't formally jumped in some time.
I have to pay backs student loans.
I am afraid to pursue a career in horses.
Two things have helped me control some of that fear and decide to jump in, though. The first is a book, How Good Riders Get Good by Denny Emerson. Everything I wonder about that exact question is in there, and this is a man who's been eventing for almost 50 years, racking up wins and honors, suggesting the way to learn to jump is to do it until you're bored, then raise the height. That makes me a little less afraid, a little more certain I can try to do this. (He's also an endurance rider on top of being a killer eventer, so that makes him even cooler in my book.)
The second thing is the conversation I had with Robin Groves today. I called her up and asked her if i could use her as a reference, and on top of saying absolutely, she said it was a good way to go "learn how to really ride." And guess who she suggested I contact, if not for a position then for a suggestion of where to go? Her good friend, Denny Emerson.
I'm not counting chickens, other bad cliches, etc. etc., but I think it's a good sign. I'm not going to be an Olympian tomorrow, if I ever am, but I want to be a Good Rider, someone who Does Something about their Dreams. I want this to be real, current, not a thing I talk about for a few more years. I want to know if I can become something more than I am, because if I don't, I'll regret it forever.