Lessons Learned: In Search of Greener Pastures
Sometimes, even as life seems to be kicking you down, it also finds a way to boost you up — which is how Ainsley Jacobs and her horse JJ find themselves heading to Florida for a month of training in warmer weather!
I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, and I’m (usually) an incredibly positive, optimistic person. The last two years, however, have been a big mess of “ugh” for me, and life seems to have thoroughly enjoyed kicking me in the butt every chance it had.
From losing a large client with my day job to JJ going lame just after I purchased him, being in a bad car accident and spending several months on bed rest, to a million other really annoying, depressing things, I’ve had a rough time of it and it’s all just worn me down.
Recently, I realized I was sick of the monotony and frustrations and needed a change. Since I work from home, I’m not tied to a specific location. I decided to be a bad adult and escape from life for a little while. Problem was, I couldn’t find a place or situation that was convenient, and I didn’t like the idea of a month away from JJ.
Earlier this year, the lovely Mackenzie Spaes introduced me to 4* event rider extraordinaire, Katie Ruppel. Katie graciously agreed to do an autograph signing session in the Ride Heels Down booth at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event, she and I connected on Facebook, and we’ve kept in touch over the following months.
Katie and I were randomly chatting on Facebook in mid-December and she asked me if I was coming to Florida for the winter. I replied that I didn’t really have plans to do much of anything, since my trainer, Miriam, had just had a baby (congrats, Miriam and Manuel!) and was out for a while enjoying being a new mom. With no events in my future, no goals to work towards, and no trainer to motivate me, I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired lately. Katie surprised me by generously suggested I come down to her place for January, and I said “HECK YES” without hesitation.
When my husband (who was away on a work trip) called to check in that night, I ran the idea by him and he agreed wholeheartedly. He knows I’ve been feeling really down for a while, and he also understands what an amazing opportunity it would be for me and JJ to train with such an incredible rider for a few weeks. He supported the idea completely, and I couldn’t have been more thankful for that. Plus, truth be told, I’m sure he could use a little break from putting up with my crappy attitude, too.
Anyway, one short week later and I had JJ’s transport booked, obtained a health certificate (shout out to Christopher Avery at Beaumont Farm for giving me a heads up that JJ needed one to get into Florida – as a relatively new horse owner, I had no clue), put together a mental check list of things I needed to pack, and started counting down the days.
Christmas came and went, and, ironically, my husband got me the most perfect present – a set of Amigo shipping boots. JJ has always trailered without issue, but when he stepped on himself on the way to our most recent event, I went into panicked-mom-mode and put a set on my wish list. Funny thing is, my husband bought them before we even had any idea that JJ and I would be going on a road trip!
Now, as I hit “publish” on this post, I’m going to hop in my car and drive south for six hours in search of sunshine and adventure. I have no idea what to expect, other than a lot of quality time with my horse, hanging out with Katie and her awesome working students, and drinking probably too much wine. Wish me luck!
NOTE: For anyone interested, Katie offers a “winter in Florida” program – check it out here!
When life presents you with an opportunity, just say YES. You can figure out the details and logistics later.
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