Guest Blog – Changing Dreams: when life changes the rules

Welcome to another guest blog, written by my friend Alli Parker-McPhee. We were chatting recently and she was talking about how sad she felt in having to, temporarily I hope, give up some riding goals. I work with many people whose goals may seem small in comparison to Olympic or WEG aims. It’s so important for us to realise these goals are just as important to those above to those who’ve set them  and when they are achieved I’m as excited for them as if they HAD won a gold medal! I’d love to hear your own thoughts and comments on this topic….

Horses? What is it about them that moves us so much? Sure, we see the Olympics; we see the world beaters and their medals, wow. It’s inspiring, it makes us dream. But they are the peak athletes, the driven, the hardworking, lucky few who reach those awe-inspiring heights. Then there are us. Real people, who dream, who wish, who want to feel that same elation. We work hard towards our goals and dreams too. These dreams are no less important or meaningful to us as to those Olympic riders.

And then, life gets in the way. Our horse gets injured. Our kids have to come first. Work crops up. Stuff happens. And like any of those top riders, giving up our dreams, or putting them on hold hurts. It doesn’t matter what our goals and dreams are, and just because we are everyday people, it doesn’t mean giving up or having to change our dreams doesn’t hurt every bit as much as those elite riders. If your goal was to jump a cavaletti at Pony Club this week, or just get on your horse alone and go for a walk, it’s the same pain when you fail as anyone else. Every single one of us has our own goals and dreams, and like any dream, when life or stuff, or even our own fears, get in the way, it’s hard.

I had my dream. I was working towards preliminary eventing with my gorgeous 8 year-old thoroughbred. He was specially bought as a school master to teach me, an adult beginner, to jump (and hence event) safely. My first horse had got me going, and he is very special, but this new one, he was going to take me places. Reach that dream. I could almost taste it, it was so close. Then, bam, life came along and a lot got in the way. My marriage ended. I had a child on my own, and my health took a big hit too. Basically everything in my life changed. Some of these changes were positive, they needed to happen, and I cherish my child like nothing I have ever known. However, the health issues, and the lack of time, have certainly impacted on my ability to reach those goals I had. Right now, I still have my dreams, they’ve just changed. It hurt having to change them, to move on and accept it but I have. Well, most days anyway 🙂

I don’t have any answers, I can’t make it not hurt when we fall down. All I can do is try to remind myself that we all fall down (or off), big or small, Olympic team or trail riding our ponies. And all we can do is feel the pain, accept it’s there. Don’t compare ourselves to others and judge ourselves as lacking because our dreams are, perhaps, smaller than someone else’s, or perhaps that those dreams and goals need to change with us, as our lives do. We just have to accept that sometimes we fail, and then never stop picking ourselves up and keep striving towards the dream. Never let it go, and the horses won’t either. They will keep inspiring us to dream.



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