What do all three of these images have in common, besides being awesome displays of terrible equitation? I’ve posted all three of these images publicly on Instagram and/or Facebook…. and now here.
Now, I know the trend is to post only perfect pictures where you look like some awesome rider who never makes a mistake but I’m not into that. Yes, there are riders who are always perfectly balanced, always have a great release, never get in deep to a jump or never take a long spot. But I’m not one of them, and I’m a-okay with that these days. Partly because I don’t ride all the time anymore, and partly because I’ve just learned to accept that I’m human. I’m going to screw up. Honestly, accepting that lifted a huge load off of my shoulders, I cannot even begin to describe how freeing it was.
Now, riding 2-3 days a week when I’m lucky isn’t necessarily the life I wanted, or thought I was going to have, but this is the life I’m living. I’ve accepted that it’s going to leave me with certain limitations where my riding is concerned. Granted, my seat is re-developing since this spring when I started riding more consistently again. Each picture is at least a month apart and Bella has certainly gotten back into shape, picked up muscle, re-developed key elements. I’m getting my leg back into place about 40 or 50% of the time now rather than not at all. This is what I call progress. This is why I’m okay with sharing pictures that show Bella and I in less than great moments.
There so so many things that are different in each one of these pictures, and while certain things are less than ideal there are other things you can watch slowly click back into place. I could justify what happened in each one of these pictures to cause my horrible riding but I won’t. Because I can promise that in the next picture in a month or so, there will be another set of small improvements.
I’m not a professional and I’m not an enthusiast who rides five to seven days a week. Bella isn’t a push button ride, and that’s how I like it. All of that also means that while I will never stop striving to get better, I must also learn to accept that sometimes I’m going to have moments that don’t come out so great on film.
I know that I am not the only rider out there fighting to do what I love, and I know I’m not the only rider who can’t currently afford a trainer or fancy jumps. I also know that there are enough professionals with posts catered to riders who can afford lots of lessons and personal training. The average everyday-super-broke-equestrian deserves someone who’s totally cool with admitting that it’s (always) a struggle. That things suck sometimes. That there are going to be days where they just fail at riding (me 80% of the time right now). The average-can’t-afford-lessons-still-gotta-train equestrian deserves to feel comfortable sharing their progress and their struggles. So you know what, I’m here for it!
I want to be inspired by people chasing their goals as hard as they can, while juggling a full time job, family, and whatever else. I’m inspired daily by the McLain Ward’s and Charlotte Dujardin’s but I also recognize that they have had certain opportunities that many equestrians will never see. I see a lot of amazing amateur rides who deserve more chances than they’re ever going to get, but at the end of the day I hope they’re just happy riding. Because despite all the hard work and disappointments in my riding career, I still find myself just happy to go out and jump on bareback and plod around without a care in the world, and I couldn’t be happier to do it on Bella.