Out of the Start Box We Go

Six weeks ago I completed my first horse trial in TWO YEARS.

Two. Freaking. Years.

How did two years go by so quickly? It feels like just yesterday I was running Novice around Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials, but it was two freaking years ago? Sheesh time is flying.

When I was going through intensive fertility treatment, I simply didn’t have the energy to ride. I piddled around with the horses, but I was never very serious. I was always exhausted or feeling depressed and not myself. I often wondered if I’d be like this forever or if this was “just the way I am now.”

After moving to North Carolina last August, I started riding again. Not having friends or a community to plug into outside of horses meant riding more often just to bump into people at the barn. I eventually met a new trainer, Amanda Miller, and started taking weekly lessons again.

I told Amanda that I wanted to get back in the start box again, and so we made a plan and started working on the basics. Over the winter I started to feel my confidence coming back. My horse impressed me more with each ride. Slowly I started feeling more and more like myself.

One week Amanda asked me what my goal was and suggested I shoot for Long Leaf HT the next month. Yikes. Would I be ready? Can I do this? I decided to go for it and entered online. I was both nervous and excited, but mostly the latter.

Dressage

Despite dirt bikes revving their motors in the field next to my dressage ring (OMG that was so annoying!), I had a solid dressage test and received the nicest comments from the judge (I still have it hanging on my wall where I can see it every day!). One of those words was WOW!.

Cross Country

Brew was a star in the cross country. He galloped and jumped with ease. I think a toddler could’ve made it around the course on him. It was little work on my part to make it around double clear.

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Tears started to fill my eyes as we rushed across the finish line. We did it. HE did it. He carried me back to the sport that I love. Suddenly, I felt like my old self again. I just kept thinking, “Wow, He did this for me.”

Stadium Jumping

Stadium jumping was a blast. I’d always been the most nervous about stadium, but he was fantastic. I’ve never had a better round. He was very brave to all of the fences and jumped quite well.

We ended up in 5th place. I couldn’t have been more proud of my horse.

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I’m not sure how you can simply stop riding or lose interest in something that makes up so much of your life, but I did. Depression is tough and I felt so much guilt for not pursuing my riding goals while trying to have a family. I often wondered if I would ever get back into horses like I was before all of that.

But I have, and I’m grateful to this horse every day. I’m grateful to Amanda for her time, friendship, and guidance as I continue my journey.

The truth is, I struggle with symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome every day. There are often times where I feel very tired or anxious and making it to the barn to ride seems impossible. There are also times where knowing that I need to ride is my sole motivator for getting my work done or to get out of the house.

No matter how much time it’s been, you can always come back to the horse.

Here I am. Not giving up. Galloping on.

XOXO,

Chelsea