As we enter into the final weeks of the WEF show series, I find myself anxiously awaiting this coming week (week 10). This is the week that Chamonix and I will compete at a level that I had only dreamed of doing before her illness. I am dedicating this blog post to Chamonix and all of the amazing things this incredible creature has taught me. It may sound "weird", a horse "teaching" a rider?? well, this is no ordinary "horse", and yes, most of who I am as a rider and as a person is because of Chamonix. She has been my teacher, my mentor, and especially my best friend both inside and outside of the show ring.
Our journey together has had many highs as well as many lows. It is the low moments that make this week so incredibly meaningful. The times when there were no blue ribbons or press conferences, just Chamonix and I, together in a stall wondering what the outcome of the next surgery would be and me, praying to God to just let her survive... the thought of her EVER coming back to competition during those moments was absolutely inconceivable and yet, here we are, 18 months later preparing to compete in our first FEI 3* competition with the blessing and support of all of Chamonix's doctors and of course Chamonix proving once again that she has the heart and Courage of a Lion.
Lesson Number 1 from Chamonix:
Fight To Win Like Your Life Depends On It.
In the world of equestrian disciplines, show jumping is very cut and dry. If you are faster than everyone else and you don't knock anything down, you are the winner. There is no subjectivity, no judges opinions, no revisions, just fast and clear and you win. What most of the top riders and horses know however, is that although it sounds very cut and dry, there is an incredible amount of strategy, preparation, technique and most of all... LUCK that goes into the culmination of that one perfect moment that everything just seems to go your way. This sport is not for the faint hearted, it is an aggressive, competitive world with an enormous amount of very talented and dedicated horses and riders. Not a single one of those competitors at the top level is ever, never ever, going to "slow down" and "let" you win. So, as I've been told many times, its time to put your "big girl panties" on and ride to win. Having a partner like Chamonix is extra ordinary because somehow, somewhere in her life, Cham developed a sense of competition, a sense of fighting to win. (Talk about big girl panties... Cham has the biggest pair ever... lol) Every single time I walk in the ring with Chamonix she is pushing me to think faster, ride better, take more chances... to fight to win like my life depends on it...
Chamonix constantly pushes me outside of my comfort zone and when I don't react fast enough or I make a mistake she shakes her head as if to say... "REALLY??", "Oh come on Kelli, what was that?"
She teaches me lessons in the ring that not even a coach or a trainer could possibly put into words. She pushes me to be an equal, contributing member of our partnership not just a passenger.
Her life has been about fighting, not only to win classes, but as I have seen first hand, fighting to survive... Hence the phrase Fight to win like your life depends on it. The "winning" is only relative to the "fight" that is ahead of you. SO whether you are fighting to survive or fighting an emotional battle, or fighting in competition, Fight to win!
The lessons that Chamonix has taught me in the past and continues to teach me in and out of the show ring apply to every aspect of my life. If you are going to do something, do it to the very best of your ability or as Chamonix constantly is reminding, fight to win like your life depends on it!!