Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Time in Wellington

I can’t believe there are only a few weeks left in the Wellington season.  Time seems to both drag and fly by here.  I have learned so much and had so many amazing new experiences.  I also feel I started the road to the change from youth competitor into something else.  Sometimes I am not sure what; but I know I am changing, or that I have to change.  The steps from the youth divisions into the open divisions at the FEI levels are sometimes big chasms, and sometimes strangely small baby steps.  A lot of the change this year has been a mental battle more than anything else.  I can hardly begin to tell you how many times I have had debates with myself this season.  Perhaps part of those debates are the lures of Wellington; the Friday night freestyles, the guests who come to see the beach and the Sunday polo matches. Part of the debates were about the realities of adulthood and independence.  Independence is great in some ways but scary and demanding in others.  Part of the debates in my mind havebeen about taking big risks and perhaps falling flat on my face!  For example, a big diversion for me this season has beensinging for the AEGT.  Here was the big quandary.  I want to help my sport in every way that I am able.  I feel very adamant that everyone needs to give back in any and all the ways they can.  I write about this all the time! It is unfair to have only a few people carry the load of so many to move our sport forward.  I look at Lendon and I get exhausted at just imagining her daily schedule.  She needs a secretary and an assistant (and her secretary needs an assistant).  I look at Robert, Debbie, Charlotte, George, and Christine and so many others who seem to live tirelessly to help our sport and all of us in it.  I see individuals helping in every way they can. We all should try to help in whatever way we can.  What if we all did all that we could? 
I know that giving to the sport can be a tough call.  Because as a competitive sport we want to win and to increase our own chances of winning.  So giving our valuable time, resources or secrets away could in the short term seem a conflict of interest. But I learned this season that being first in a class of 2 is not as rewarding as coming in 10th in a class of 60.  So if we grow the sport we grow our own competitive long term success.
Well for example, all this season I have had almost weekly bouts of fear that distracted me a bit.  I initially sang in the AEGT the first week as I have told you because I wanted to step outside my box.  I wanted to face my biggest fear (seriously this is my paralyzing fear) and I thought it would make me a better competitor.  Now, I believe it has not only made me a better competitor but a better person in a lot of ways.  What I didn’t know that first week was that I would have to come back week after week and face that same fear over and over.  I didn’t know I would have to learn new songs and have new music every week.  UGH!  Several times I wanted to call Robert and break down and say, “I just can’t do it.”  It really effected my sense of security about myself and distracted me. But I didn’t quit. I wanted to continue on the road to overcoming this fear.  I knew the finale was looming in a few weeks and the stage would be bigger, the audience overwhelming and I needed to be ready to face the bigger fear by facing littler ones.  Just like in our sport, and anything in life, it gets easier the more you do it.  So I pushed through those tough weeks believing it would make the finale easier. Finally, I wanted to do something to help dressage, even if I did make a big fool of myself. In the end I learned, I didn’t die and the USET Foundation made money and I got to try.  Trying whether you win or lose makes you grow.  I have learned so much this roller coaster season and I realize that the little bit of distraction in the short term, even the great fear of facing my anxieties in the end is more than worth the lessons about myself that I have gained.