My sister called to ask my perspective on Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic competition. It was not exactly the New York Times calling for my opinion, but at least someone wanted to know my perspective. My sister was asking because although she did not compete as I did, she knew the sacrifice and toll showing horses on the national level took on my family.
There is no way in the world that I would have qualified for the Nationals in Oklahoma City, Louisville or Toronto, gotten there, and then said, “No go, I am not going to compete”. There is just no way. Not with the work, sacrifice, cost, sweat, and tears involved in qualifying and getting there.
As years passed and the competition continued, I never could have or would have said, let’s skip this year. Even in grade school, when I brought my report card home, my dad would look it over and say, “I guess you get to keep the horses for another grading period”. I never wanted to find out if he was serious.
A break would have meant the possibility that my parents would have said if you are not going to show, you don’t need these horses. I never wanted to find out. Maybe I should have. I remain conflicted.
Some might say a balance beam is a more dangerous place than on a horse if you are not mentally there. I would say a horse show ring with 25 horses each weighing 1500 pounds, in an enclosed area, is not the safest place. I saw a driving horse (pulling a buggy) go crazy, running into other horses and buggies, everyone with nowhere to hide. It was a horrible sight.
I am conflicted. The travel, the cost, the ups and downs, took a toll. Maybe I should have said “uncle”.
A client recently cancelled an appointment because her cat had died. Up until that moment, I thought it was a joke like “my dog ate my homework”. Even as an animal lover, I can’t imagine missing an appointment due to an animal’s death. I practically didn’t miss an appointment after a human death. Maybe I should have. I am conflicted.