It takes a village to raise a baby, and Murray and I are no exception. This weekend would have been absolutely miserable without my wonderfully supportive team of friends, trainers, fellow competitors, mentors, and even the utter strangers that cheered for me on cross country. The feeling of camaraderie that comes from knowing so many people are on my team definitely brought me to tears itself once or twice.
I know she’s my trainer and it’s technically her job, but that doesn’t make the support I get from Alana any less sincere, meaningful, or that she does not go above and beyond to get her riders in the best possible position she can. Alana is, without a doubt, the coach for me. She knows when to just let me do my thing (Murray bucking around the warm up is one example), when to correct, what exercises to suggest, when to push, when to back off, how to work with me on a warm up plan and routine, and when it’s time to call it. Alana hauled ASS across the XC course to leg me back up on to Murray, and took me back out there at the end of the weekend for some redemption.
In case you didn’t catch it in the comments last week, a lovely lady named Sheryl commented on one of my blogs trying to find out some more about Camelot. We chatted a little in the comments, and Sheryl was kind and clever enough to come and find me on our first day of competition! First of all, it was super cool to meet another person through this blog – so cool, hi Sheryl! Second, Sheryl proved to be so kind and supportive throughout the show! I got to meet Sheryl’s daughter and watch her wonderful rides on an absolutely adorable pony, and this all helped me appreciate the meaning of team a little more. More than that, Sheryl totally celebrated with me for my happy tears, and sympathized with my sad ones. How’s that for making connections on the internet?
Peony texted me all weekend to remind me to keep thuggin’.
RBF and I had detailed texting discussions about my dressage ride and the injustices of dressage scores because obviously little Notorious was spectacular and couldn’t the judge see that?!
Friends from the barn came up to watch on XC day, and after I got Murray hosed off and put away they helped pick up all the tack I had angrily discarded on the ground (I tend to get into a “who the fuck needs a jump saddle when they’re never doing XC again” headspace and throw my shit on the ground when I’m having a tantrum. I’m super proud of it, don’t worry.) and reminded me of all the things that I should be focusing on instead. That Murray hadn’t escaped once that weekend, that our dressage test went really well, that we managed to jump things Alana was standing next to in warm up. Remember, they reminded me, when Murray couldn’t even school in a group because it blew his little mind? Remember when you couldn’t get around a warm up arena and had to go into XC and stadium cold? Remember when he rolled because he was afraid of Camille? Remember when he got his feet tangled up in a ground pole and crumpled in fear? They bought me lemonade, let me cry sob uncontrollably, quietly made some choice words to Murray about growing a brain, and assured me all this was fixable and sometime soon I would be laughing over this cross country ride.
My lesson buddy reminded me to feed my horse after XC because I would never be able to sell a skinny horse. When I responded with “who are you kidding, I can’t sell this horse. I’m killing him!” lesson buddy also reminded me that slaughter buyers pay by the pound*.
Emma emailed to check in and make sure I was okay after she saw my unplanned dismount recorded on StartBox. I was surprised by how touched I was by this gesture; at that point my shattering disappointment had died down and Emma was right there ready to brainstorm solutions with me, including encouraging me to move to the East Coast. So sweet.
And then you guys showed up on here and applauded my dressage ride and helped me problem solve my XC woes! You reminded me that it is not that strange for a baby horse to be scared of unknown things (but I swear I’m the ooonnnnlllyyy one who has ever had this problem!!!!!!) and offered to drive, fly, or apparate out to California to be my chair-occupiers, umbrella holders, and de-spookifiers. You gave me extra ideas to train little Notorious, reminded me that I’m on the right track, and encouraged me to continue on this slow and steady road to get things done right.
You might not know how meaningful your words of encouragement and encouragement were. Of course, everyone’s happy for you when you’re doing well, but I think we know who our real friends are when we’re not doing so well. Especially when we’re not doing so well and it’s probably our own fault. This little blogland community that we have is pretty badass, in its own way.
I’m glad I have you on my team. I’m glad I have everyone on my team.
* Don’t worry, this won’t happen. I don’t know any slaughter buyers anyway.