Monday, June 23, 2008
Dream a little dream
So that is me, about 11 years ago on my horse Pete. Riding horses was so much a part of my life that I basically had no life. Every day after school and on the weekends (except Monday) I was riding. When I was little, another older rider Karen would pick me up from school in her little Audi, with a sandwich from the deli she worked at (roast beef on Dutch crunch) and she'd drive me to the barn, which was up by Skyline. I'd be there, riding, from 4pm to about 7pm, every day after school and even longer on the weekends. During show season, I'd be out at least two weeks out of each month, Thursday thru Sunday, competing. And so it went from ages 7-13, when I was forcefully displaced to the Philippines by my then-evil father.
In the Philippines, I did not have the gang of kids I grew up riding with. I did not have the security of my trainers, who were also like my second parents. I did not have my horses. We shipped the B team over, Liberty and Muffin. I participated in random, sporadic clinics with different trainers, which may seem like a lucky thing because they were quite famous, until you realize that all their different teaching styles sometimes canceled each other out...and made for some very confused riders. I thought of it as a joke. Couple that with the owner of the riding school basically acting like I should have BEGGED her for help, after making me wander around the ring for hours while she gave the lesson that I was supposed to be in and I guess you could say I pretty much hated riding in the Philippines. I would come back to California every summer to try to catch up to my peers, who were already starting to qualify for the Young Riders back east. And just as I started to get going again, I had to go back to the Philippines. To school. I couldn't try out for track, I couldn't try out for basketball. Because I had to ride. But with nothing and no one to ride for, what was the point? I missed my trainers, and I missed my horses. I missed the competition and traveling. True, I did get to travel as a member of the Philippine Equestrian Team: Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India, Australia... But these competitions were always on borrowed horses and it wasn't the same.
I ended up quitting when I went to college because by then I felt like I couldn't do anymore. For one, because I would be on the east coast, away from my trainers again. And the bigger reason - it is fucking expensive!
That said, I have many many recurring dreams that I am riding again. Always, I am riding my horse Mickey. And always, we are going off-course. IE: I forget the order in which I am supposed to jump the obstacles, and instead I am riding around the ring searching for jump numbers and flags, all the while listening for my trainer to shout instructions to me but I can never hear him. Or sometimes, we are flying high above the clouds and we come down for a crash landing in a tree. This morning I had an especially horrible one in which someone else was riding my horse, who was so angry it took off at a flat gallop, jumping fences and barriers that were much too big to clear. Eventually she tried to clear this high cyclone fence and her front legs never left the ground, back legs propelling her into the fence. Her forearms crashed into the fence, and she fell on the ground with her eyes closed and my trainer cradling her head.
What a Monday to wake up to.