A blast from the past. This photo has huge significance to me….
I remember this day well – the day I decided to step aside from my own fear of failure, low self esteem & judgemental comparisons just for a few minutes even though my own personal self belief was low. This was the day I trusted my sister enough to borrow her strength and courage and certainty because I didn’t have any of my own.
You see, this was my sisters beloved horse Lang Park Aladdin, or Laddy as we called him, he had spent his career in the show ring and performed with the very best at the highest level & had earned his retirement. After a few years of retirement, my sister suggested I take him back into the show ring. Of course I was excited, scared and very nervous. He had a string of accolades & was known to be a top performer at all the big shows, but at the end of the day, you still had to be able to ride will to bring out the best in him.
A very short 3 rides later & we were in the show ring together. I looked at all the great riders and horses around me, their expertise and how confidently they rode & I knew I just wasn’t good enough. But into the ring I rode, making sure I smiled to the judge, listened carefully to the workout, practised it in my head before I rode it out, and to my extreme embarrassment I didn’t perform the moves correctly, I stuffed up even the very simple changes… the first class I failed to place.
My sister gave me the lovely ‘it’s ok’ look, but I knew how disappointed she was. Everyone knew this horse, knew his expertise and was expecting big things. I was so upset, I was letting my sister and her horse down. I rode out of the ring and practised before my next class.
The second class I failed to place….
The third class I failed to place…..
By this time my sister was jumping up and down with frustration – frustrated that I was letting myself down, frustrated that I couldn’t see what she could see, frustrated that I was allowing my own fears & inhibitions to hold me back. She pulled me off her horse, got right in my face and in no uncertain terms said something like….”You are easily the best rider competing in that ring, you have a well educated horse, all you have to do is ride!! Forget the ‘%$*&$’, focus on what you have to do, and that is relax and ride like you know how to ride! You have one more class, you have one more chance and all you have to do is $%#@ ride!” As she threw me back on the horse she breathed confidence into me the whole way….”You can do this, You have perfect posture, You have the perfect horse, This is your Time”.
Now I know better than to argue with my big sister!! So in that moment I decided that if my big sister saw in me a winner, then who was I to disagree! The problem was there was only one class left – the rider class!! Previously I would never dare compete in a rider class before as that’s where all the top riders show off their perfect skills. There was no way I was in that league!!
I summoned all the strength left in me & I borrowed all of her her passion, her love, her belief & her commitment & I RODE. I rode for her, for her horse and for me. Together we performed a perfect WINNING workout & went on to have the coveted purple & gold wide sash presented as Supreme Champion Rider of the Show. From that time onward we created a winning team. Sadly the old boy has now gone to horsey heaven, a box full of ribbons, a few pictures and many great memories & lessons is all that we have left.
I’d spent years riding numerous horses, too many to count, hours perfecting my craft but not once did I think I was good enough. Not once did I see how well I sat on a horse, how well the horses performed under my direction until I was shown the one missing piece to the puzzle. And I had that piece all along, I just needed someone like my sister to show me how to access that self belief, to allow me to stop comparing myself and to just do what I do best….RIDE!
If you have read this all the way to the end, then I hope you allow yourself the freedom and courage to step aside from your fears for long enough to step into all you can become too!!
To my sister Alli, forever grateful xx