I had not ridden a horse in quite some time as of September 23rd, 2014.
September 24th, 2014 was the first time I sat on a horse in years. Literally years.
I went into that lesson planning to walk and trot around for a little while- I knew my muscle memory was likely relatively intact, but my muscle strength was absolutely abysmal.
The stone-cold badass who I now proudly call my trainer had other ideas. She had me jumping a full course in that first lesson and I haven’t looked back since. She’s been kicking my butt around the ring for a full two years now.
In some ways it feels like only a few weeks since that first lesson! And then at other times it feels like I’ve always been at Clairvaux. It’s home to me.
I don’t know that I can fully describe the impact this barn and these people have had on my life over the last two years, but I’ll certainly try:
I had been so unhappy here in Virginia- even though I had some family here, I missed all my friends and was having a really hard time making new ones. Everything seemed very alien and it was just so different from home. To be honest, I was starting to look at jobs in other areas because I simply couldn’t see myself staying another year.
Joining this community is what turned my life around- I know it sounds dramatic, but I mean it. I have gotten to meet and spend time with some AMAZING women- they are driven, interesting, kind, helpful, and straight up fun to be around. I have found a place where I can go to feel centered and welcome, no matter what happens. I have re-found a part of myself that feels such incredible drive and passion for this sport.
And I have gotten to work with trainers that I respect immensely- who I trust with my wellbeing and who I trust to have my best interest at heart. They have demonstrated time and time again that they are not in this to make a quick buck- they are in this to keep us all safe and having fun while learning.
I had never even dared to dream that I might make it to the 1m division. That was so far out of the realm of possibility. But with the support and encouragement and guidance of the Clairvaux family it has all felt not only manageable, but natural. Now my pie-in-the-sky goal is a stepping stone to even bigger and better things.
It’s certainly been a whirlwind two years: I jumped into a half-lease almost immediately, started a horsey blog, re-entered the show ring, moved from 2’3″ to 2’6″ to 2’9″ to 3′ to 3’3″ in height, moved over to the jumpers, spent a week in Ocala, bought a horse. In retrospect, that’s a heck of a lot to fit into two years!
While there have been all sorts of milestones over the past couple years, I’m most thankful for two. First of all, Frankie. He is my unicorn and every day with him is better than the last. Next week we’ll spend our 6 monthiversary at a show and I know it’s going to be amazing. Second of all, you guys. The blog community. Getting back in the saddle gave me my passion back and pushed me to join in and I can’t thank you all enough. I’ve met some of my closest friends through blogging!
I’ll stop talking now. I don’t have pictures from the VERY beginning, but here’s a part of my journey over the last two years:
I thank my lucky stars every day that my random “hunter jumper barns near me” Google search sent me directly to a trainer I trust and respect, and who pushes me to be the best horsewoman and rider I can be.
Cheers to two years at home, and cheers to the future!