Credit: Louise O’Brien Photography

“๐˜’๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ 80๐˜ค๐˜ฎ ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ด”

“๐˜’๐˜ฎ ๐˜ซ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ”

“๐˜–๐˜ฉ ๐˜’๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ข ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ, ๐˜ ๐˜ซ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ด”

How many of us have said something similar to the above?

I have uttered every single one of these phrases, and then some.

The worst one was when I won a 80cm SJI Championship – I felt so proud, and then this small voice in the back of my head said “๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต, ๐˜ช๐˜ต’๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ญ๐˜บ 80๐˜ด”.

Today I’m here to tell myself and everyone else that we need to stop saying “only” and “just” when we talk about our efforts and achievements.

We work damn hard. We show up in the early mornings, late at night, in rain wind and hail. We worry about our horses’ feed, we get physios vets and farriers to mind and monitor them. We read everything on the internet to better educate ourselves, and we get lessons to become the best we can be.

We care deeply about our horses and work hard to ride them the best we can. We ride and compete at a level that we are capable of, and that is safe for us to have fun and be competitive at.

So no, we are not “just” doing a certain level or class. We worked hard and we have every right to be proud of the journey it took to get there, and of our achievements.

There is no threshold for qualification to be considered a “real” rider or competitor.

If you enter an arena at A and proceed down the centre line, you are doing dressage.

If you enter an arena and jump a course of fences, you are showjumping.

If you do a dressage test, jump a course of fences, and go cross country, you are eventing.

Do not diminish the work, love and care that you put into this sport. Do not minimise your accomplishments, or belittle what it’s taken you to get to where you are today.

When you say “just” or “only”, you don’t just minimise your own accomplishments or put yourself down, you also set an example to others that they too are “just” and “only”.

You are not “just”. You are not “only”.

You are.

So go do it. Enjoy it. Smash itย โค๏ธ

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