When Miley Cyrus sang that song, McKenna, she was singing it about you. Go McKenna and Dorito, and Go Riding.
For someone who has high hopes and dreams, my riding career didn’t start out so great. I was the worst at riding when I first started. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Everyone is bad when they first start something.” But I was not bad, I was awful. Specifically at trotting–I was called the aerobics rider for a reason. You would swear I started riding a week ago when in actuality, it’d been months! My mom and others didn’t have the heart to take away riding just because I was so darn happy whenever I was up there! Guess it’s a good thing they didn’t eh?!
When its come to my “horse,” I’ve heard just about everything. We were both green when we started out, so my first few years of eventing were a bit rough. I didn’t mind (well… to a certain degree) and looking back on my experiences it has for sure made me a better rider. But to some, it seems silly, and to several at the time, puzzling. I can’t count on one hand the number of times my family and I got asked if we were going to sell Dorito or get rid of him. Why? Just because we, as a team, failed at a task? I was mortified and even more determined to prove EVERYONE wrong. Throughout our road, we’ve had bumps, ditches (no pun intended), and sinkholes. But we’ve overcome them. As a team, we’ve proved every person who asked me, “When are you going to get a real horse that can take you places?” and every person that doubted us, wrong.
I know I won’t go out and score a 29 in dressage and I know I won’t be in the lead after our test. But what I know is that I can go out and expect my pony’s heart to be there for me, and at the end of the day, is winning more important or is having a safe, good round with a happy horse and a happy rider? Of course we all like to win and coming home with ribbons is nice, but is why we do it really just for a rosette?
Of course, everyone would love to have a perfect horse. You know, the one that could score a 0 in dressage, show jump flawlessly and then eat up XC. But the reality is, few of us have it. While I can only speak for myself, I can say I’m glad I have what I have. I won’t be out there scoring 10s but I will be flying around the XC course like a kid with candy. And I will have a smile on my face like I just won a million dollars.
After this weekend, I’m really optimistic for my season with Dorito this year. We were spot on, with me riding the best I ever have in competition and D being his usual, superstar self–I really have an extra boost of confidence. I’m starting to really feel ready for training level. While sometimes things might not always go your way, or you have a rough competition or few days, maybe things are just starting to look up.
Just remember, sometimes the journey is the best part.
Picture: Dear Dubarry, aren’t I a great model? I wish I had my own pair of boots so I didn’t have to take someone else’s while they ride… Love, McKenna the Boot Snatcher
From Horse Nation to McKenna, with love: