Three years ago during the summer of 2010, I got bucked off of a horse named Ace. Well, this was surely not the first time I had landed on the ground while riding Ace. He was a challenge so of course, I loved him. He would frustrate me constantly, but it taught me so much. One lesson I had with Ace, I flew over his head three consecutive times as he refused a jump. Each time, I got right back on without hesitation, and tried again. After falling off three times I knew what I had to do: get him over that jump. So I did. My fall in the summer of 2010 was a little different though. Ace and I were beginning to jump a course that was set up on our “air strip” which was all grass. The trees were very scary for Ace so soon after we started going, he went on a bucking spree and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground gasping for my breath. Until this time, I had never fallen off and hesitated getting right back on. As I laid there unable to move or catch my breath, Ace ran away to find a nice snack and my coach ran to me telling me not to move. I remember thinking, wow this is serious, what am I going to do? Being the stubborn person that I am I did the only thing I knew to do, stood up. I began walking down towards the barn to find my coach driving up on the golf cart yelling at me for moving. The rest is slightly blurry, but I remember refusing to go to the doctor until the next day. I woke up and I could not walk so somehow, I was convinced to see a doctor. Doctors are on my list of people I don’t particularly like, simply because they tell me that I cannot do things. One of the worst things anyone can do is tell me that I cannot do something. I went to get X-rays and the doctors found no fractures so I thought I was free! Throughout the coming year, my senior year of high school, I was in constant pain and I barely rode. Finally, I went to see an orthopedic doctor to figure out if something was wrong. The first doctor found that there was an OCD lesion on the talus bone of my left ankle. He said that I needed surgery and he had to break my other bones to get through to it. I think I laughed at the idea of that. So I went to see another orthopedic doctor who specialized in ankles. When I went in on a Friday to review my MRI, they told me I needed to get surgery on my ankle on Monday. The reason I am telling this story is because this injury has left me feeling so broken down. More than three years after the initial fall, I still go to therapy for my ankle. I have had pain on and off ever since the original injury, even after the surgery. As a horseback rider, this experience has been terrible. Horseback riding requires muscles and endurance that you do not use otherwise. When you inconsistently ride for years and have pain while doing so, it is extremely difficult to gain confidence again. After two years going through college lacking the confidence to try out for the equestrian team, I finally did this year. I kept thinking to myself that if I would regret not doing anything in college, it would be not riding for the team. The happy ending to this story is, I made the team.
Yesterday, the Becker College Equestrian Team headed to Brown University at 5:30am for our second show of the season. For the first time in my life, I was showing. Riding has never been a competitive thing for me so I never really wanted to show. It was always about the connection with the horses and the escape from reality it gave me. Also, for the past three years, I would never have been confident enough to walk into a show ring and ride in front of a judge. Yesterday, I put all of my fears aside and got ready to give it a try. Before my class, I told a few of my teammates that I just didn’t want to come in last. My biggest fear was losing the little confidence that I had in myself. I got onto my little mare named Brava, who had been a great ride for everyone all day. By this point, Brava was exhausted and I think done with showing for the day. My time in the show ring went by so fast that I can’t even remember most of it. I remember being so nervous that I could not breathe and getting off thinking I did horribly. As I was talking to some teammates I could vaguely here that announcements were being made. Everyone started screaming and came over telling me that I got FIRST! I finally feel like I am gaining my confidence back and I cannot wait to continue working hard for this.