It’s coming up to my 31st birthday, and there isn’t anything I wish for, besides things that I can never have, or things that I would prefer to work hard for…
They say as you get older your wish list gets shorter, because the things you wish for can no longer be bought.
The first thought that comes to my head when I think of turning 31, is 20 years without my father.
It seems like such a long time, but if I picture it, it feels like it happened yesterday.
People talk about missing someone like it’s a thought, but if you truly miss someone it’s a physical thing. It’s as if your whole body gets involved in the feeling, and it’s like you’re breathing, but no air can get in.
People write to me all the time to say that I am very wise for my age, they say I write like I have lived 100 years.
I went from 11 to 50 in a heartbeat, and it’s true that I grew up way too early, and have spent most of my life feeling responsible for other people’s happiness.
It wasn’t until I got to Portugal that I realised that unless you are happy, you are not only not good to other people, but the people who you attract are also unhappy, and the cycle continues.
I have discovered that whatever type of person you are you find comfort in knowing those that feel the same as you do.
If you fear something, your greatest comfort is someone who fears the same thing.
When I wrote about fear in riding, so many riders wrote to me to say that it made them feel better, to know that even international riders go through that.
They weren’t alone.
It’s human nature. We find comfort in being able to relate and share things with others, in seeing our own faults, our fears, our weaknesses, reflected in someone else.
When I was suffering from chronic pain, it reassured me when someone else said they ride in pain also. It didn’t change my pain in any way, and yet it made me feel better.
I used to wish I never broke my hip, because it would make my life now so much easier, with the whole ‘trying to be a top horse rider’ 😉
But deep down I know that if it wasn’t for all that, I would not even be here in Portugal trying to go after my dream in the first place…
A lady wrote to me a while ago and asked if I could recommend a stable for her daughter to work and ride at in Europe. I knew the girl and her character and replied that I can recommend somewhere, but she will last between 2 to 4 weeks.
I was not being unfair, I was being honest. The girl just didn’t have the guts to do it…
There are two options for a rider who arrives without a horse at a good stable in Europe…Either you have to ride crazy young horses who are talented and you get treated well, or you have to ride crazy young horses who are talented and you get treated like shit.
If you refuse to ride the horse that is rearing and has its eyes popping out of its head, then you don’t ride…the end. Even the calmer young horse if it’s talented will have big movement, and if it spooks then the spook will be big, power equals power!
7 out of the 10 horses I rode when I first came to Europe were slightly nuts. I was often on horses that would rear up, or flip out.
When mum first watched me ride 5 year old Batialo, she said “I would “NEVER” get on that horse”…I said compared to what I have ridden he is pretty calm really.
It was the truth.
My point is that often what we wish for to make things easier now, are completely irrelevant, because without that we wouldn’t be here anyway, or we wouldn’t know what we know now.
You appreciate honesty after being lied to, you appreciate love when you lose it. You appreciate and value people that make you happy, far more when they are gone. It’s just how life is.
So I stopped wishing for things that wouldn’t happen and started working harder to be able to cope with the things that happen, when they inevitably do.
I stopped wishing Batialo wouldn’t spin, and starting working so that it wouldn’t hurt me when he did.
I stopped wishing I could still talk to my father, and started appreciating missing him, because even if it hurts, it’s real. He is still my favourite person, because he died before I knew him well enough to be anything but that.
The best thing for me though, when I think about what I want for my birthday, or what I want from my life, is to realise again, that my life is in every way exactly how I would wish for it to be.
I have been told to give Batialo to a rider to get him to Grand Prix and I can just start him when he is already used to everything and mature.
I could not think of anything less rewarding, and I’m sorry to those who buy Grand prix ready horses to compete, but for me it’s in the teaching, and the learning, and the knowing that every step is a step you made together.
So if you are a person who is wishing for something to happen or wishing something didn’t happen, well, I guess you could keep wishing and see how you go… or you could just get on with it, and work hard to make sure it does work out how you would wish it to!