Horse stables have a smell about them that nothing else can mimic. Slightly sweet from the hay, a dry dustiness from the arena, and a certain horse-iness that can’t be described. Its one of my favorite scents in the world. Nothing relaxes me more than stepping into a barn and spending time with horses. It wasn’t always like that, though. There were a few years where I avoided going to Saturday morning lesson religiously. Honestly, it was showing that distanced me from my love of riding.
Comparing myself to others has never ended well for me. I always look at the grade distribution in my classes and proceed to beat myself up about the grades that were higher than mine, regardless if I had improved my own score or not. I did the same thing at horse shows when I was little. A second or third place ribbon was painful because it wasn’t blue. I stopped showing because it was expensive, but I found that I didn’t mind. I started riding for myself, watching myself improve every week, and enjoying the time that I spent at the barn because of my love for the horses.
When I got to Princeton and started showing again, I found myself falling into the same trap of never being satisfied. Regardless of the fact that my riding had improved exponentially, I was consistently unhappy. There were girls in my class who were better than I was, girls on my team who had more experience, and I felt like I wasn’t enough. I had to stop riding for most of the last semester to recover from an injury, so I haven’t ridden in a while. The picture is from a few days ago, I went to ride and got covered in horse smell, dog fur, and dirt. I haven’t been happier in a long time.
Not comparing myself to others is something I’m still working on. Focusing on progress, measured against my past self, is a lifestyle that I want to embrace this year. I can’t wait to focus on what makes me happy and work to get better at it!