The past few days I have felt pretty emotionally stirred up about the most recent bloody mouth incident. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post my thoughts here on Dapplebay. However, upon some heavy reflection, I realized that by NOT posting anything I would be going against a promise I made to both myself and my followers earlier this year: to make Dapplebay a platform that truly stands for and represents the core values that I founded this company on.
Horsemanship. Sportsmanship. Friendship.
These values come from what my mom modeled for me in the way she honored horses, my experiences growing up in Pony Club learning from instructors who always put the horse first and competition second, and the most amazing and life-giving friendships with women that understand the deep way horses bind our souls.
When I look at my business, I want it to be a reflection of what I believe and also a reflection of who I am. And when I look in the mirror, and look at my life, I am not someone who keeps my mouth shut. In fact, I am quite the opposite, and this has not always served me well. In my past, this trait has gotten me fired from a job I loved, and ruined friendships that I had cherished deeply. In a way, I've come to fear using my voice because I haven't always been careful about it.
But, I know that God gave me a voice and a clear conscience. And I do believe I would be breaking my promise if I did not speak up about what has been on my heart: a true sadness for the state of our sport, and a genuine question....why do I ride?
After a few days of really mulling it over, I don't think riding really matters to me as much as the horses themselves. What I cherish about my horses is the instant connection to truth and spirit that I experience when I place my hand on them. The liquid eyes that see straight into my soul, pull me out of my head and into the moment. There is a quote about how when we ride them, we borrow freedom -- and this is truly how I feel on their backs.
It makes me wonder why other people ride. What about riding a horse could matter more than the simple beauty of the gifts they impart? I may not have a lot of competition goals, but I am not a competitive person. What horses mean to me is probably so different from what they mean to other people. But what remains the same is the authenticity, the love. I can think of so many examples of riders on the international stage that truly embody horsemanship. It doesn't mean their competitive careers go without incident, it means that they own the mistake and learn from it.
None of us are perfect humans, and there is no one way to love or be involved with horses. I just hope that we all ride for reasons that are bigger than our pride.