Wake up Horse Nation!! We like to use lots of exclamation points around here early in the morning to disguise that fact that we’re still half asleep!!!
Ah, that’s better.
So, one of the things that’s really important to John and I about this project is that Horse Nation be a site for “the rest of us”–you know, the folks who may never experience the cold, beautiful weight of a medal hanging around their neck, and who are totally OK with that.
Growing up and throughout my early 20s, I devoted plenty of face-time to my own “Olympics or Bust” ambitions–putting off college to bum around horses full-time, going off to train with the best of the best, inflating my dreams bigger with every success and crying myself to sleep every time I bombed.
Eventually, though, it became painfully clear that horses don’t give a flying manure-ball about our ambitions. They’ve got their own agenda. And even if a horse is right there beside you giving you its all, so many factors remain completely beyond your control: soundness, athletic ability… did I mention soundness?
Anyway, it took me a while to come to terms with the fact that my place in the sport might not be the top of a podium. That maybe it was standing in the ring in a cloud of dust, chanting “Up! Down! Up! Down!” Or on the back of a problem horse that nobody else wants to ride, or on a step stool braiding a young horse at its very first show. While daydreams of getting counted down in the Rolex start-box still motivate me to improve, these days I’m not going to be crushed if I don’t quite make it. To quote that wise sage Miley Cyrus, “It’s not about how fast we get there/ It’s not about what’s waiting on the other side/ It’s the climb.”
Horse Nation is about the climb. It’s about finding joy in the everyday experience of having horses in our lives, in whatever capacity that may be. That’s why we’re committed to bringing you columns like “The Riding School,” about the challenges and pleasures of being a local riding instructor; “The Secret Life of McKenna & Dorito,” a weekly reminder of what it felt like to be a horse-crazy teenager; and “Your Turn,” a collection of reader-submitted essays exploring the various roles that horses play in our lives.
Here at Horse Nation, we’re not necessarily writing to the Olympic Team–although they’re certainly welcome here. We’re writing to the adult amateurs who sneak peaks at HN when the boss isn’t looking, the junior riders who doodle horses in their school notebooks, the young adults who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. At Horse Nation, we’re writing to you.