I love them, but they suck.
They're innately talented and showing us the path to our dreams and then abruptly changing course with a stumble, a kick, a fall, or some other incredibly ridiculous injury. They encourage us to set goals and then make us modify plans.
Horses teach you that in your darkest moment to look for and walk through the open door.
Sometimes the seemingly worst tragedy will launch you into a situation of unparalleled opportunity IF you're willing to open the door.
And sometimes one moment, one split second decision, can literally change your life forever.
Just keep looking for those open doors.
I could spend hours sharing stories about how a tragedy turned into a success. When I was a junior, my horse came up lame before medal finals. The only other horse in the barn to ride was a green but kind five year old. Our expectations were very low for the coming show but the experience was worth going. We won a few medal classes and then ended fourth in the final. Two years later after a couple unfortunate medical incidences, he was gifted to me by a generous man who saw how hard I worked with my difficult animals. That horse and I went on to compete through college in many medal finals, schooled to the upper levels of dressage, took me out on a cross country field for the first time, and trail rode all over Los Angeles.
After a couple difficult accidents with one of my horses, my confidence had taken a big hit. I decided to take on Kiva, not because she was easy, but because she was brave. Fast forward a couple years, and I decided to make a long drive to Los Angeles to clinic with Eddie Macken. The clinic was...interesting. She was quite ill-behaved and because of this, I made friends with another rider who was also on the other most ill-behaved animal at the clinic. Even though we were struggling, I really liked his horse's attitude. He was so kind and willing and had an adorable personality.
Six months later, his life changed and he gifted him to me. Stephanie was looking for a new horse and was brave enough to take him on. He was difficult and I not-so-fondly remember spending two hours one day trying to get him to canter three poles on the ground without adding a lot of unnecessary theatrics.
A turn out accident left Kiva laid up for quite a while and Stephanie was out due to pregnancy. I decided that the B team was now the A team and spent the year riding and showing him. We went from being terrified to do the 1.0m to confidently jumping around the 1.25m. In the same year, he took another amateur rider around the .90m and ended Second and Fourth in the classics at Menlo.
Now he packs around beginners and competes with Stephanie and Lauren in the under 1.0m jumpers.