Picture this: Five-year-old, chubby cheeked Caitlin stuffing her face full of chocolate fondue, watching horses jump in the huge, grass International Ring at Spruce Meadows, and asking her Dad “Can I ride a horse?”
Probably not all that hard to imagine considering it’s pretty much the same scene ninety percent of the time sixteen years later. Little did that little girl know that one day not only would she have ridden a horse, but it would become her biggest passion in life. I sit here today writing in complete awe that I can say I will be riding in that big, grass ring that made me fall in love with the sport for the first time, in three short days.
At the time, I had no idea how incredible Spruce Meadows was, given that I knew absolutely nothing about the sport and it was the first horse show that I had ever attended. As I grew up, eventually had lessons, and fell in love with the horses even more, I realized how big of a deal Spruce Meadows was in the “Equestrian World” and only dreamed of being able to compete there one day.
That dream became a reality the summer after my eighteenth birthday and it was incredible but I knew that I still had a very long way until I would get to compete in the International Ring, if I ever got to that level at all! Last year, when I started the season competing at a level I had not competed in for eight years after a very bumpy start, I thought it was even more of a pipe dream.
But here I am, by the grace of God I somehow have pulled it together enough for Quentin, my trainer, to feel confident enough in me (or my horses more likely!!) that I get to compete for the first time in the International Ring.
Rather than getting caught up in what I get to experience on Friday, I wanted to take a second to put it all into perspective. I don't even know what to expect nor do I know how I am going to react when I walk into that ring, but to be honest, it doesn’t even matter. Okay, it does a little because I’m competitive and want to do well!
BUT, the more important thing to look at is that no matter what happens in that moment I know without a doubt that I have been blessed with an incredible support system, two of the sweetest and most amazing horses to jump, and a God that is going to love me unconditionally. If I screw up and fall flat on my face, literally because I like to do that sometimes, I may forever remember that moment as a failure but you know who won’t? God.
Even though on earth I am more likely than not identified by most as the “crazy horse girl” to God, I am still probably that person but I’m also His whom He created in His image. That means that no matter what I think or anyone else for that matter, He’ll still be proud of me. And to me, that means more than anything. To have someone that no matter what you do, no matter how many times you fail them they will always be right there cheering you on, I mean come on, that’s amazing. He’s amazing.
As you read this, I have already competed in that ring not once but twice and here’s to hoping that it went well, but if it didn’t, that’s okay too because my success in the ring has nothing to do with my success in God’s eyes. Just as it is the same for you. Life on earth is such a small part of the life that God wants all of us to live with Him!
Yes, we are to enjoy it, make the most of it, and honor Him, but I can guarantee that even at the highest of highs that I am currently experiencing for myself, there is something even greater and better waiting for me, just as it is for you, down the road! It's so important to keep that in perspective whether you're experiencing great happiness and success or if you're drowning in feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
So, with that, I walk into my future completely unknowing of most things but one-hundred percent certain of one thing, God’s love for me, and I’ll choose for that to be the most important thing I look forward to each day and then I'll enjoy and be thankful for all the other little blessings along the way!