The comeback will be greater than the setback. A phrase I thought I understood until I really experienced it myself this week.

Having been through the last 15 or so months that I have lived, these kinds of quiet, seemingly inconsequential victories are the ones I have fought the hardest for and mean the most. I made it to Florida, I decided to compete and it went remarkably well. While that looks like “no big deal” it is important to mention all of the realities happening behind that seemingly innocuous sentence. To get down to Florida I had to leave the restaurant, and test the trust of the team that we have been building there. Meaning I had to trust them to do their jobs and accept that I was stepping away from the building and the business -> which I have not done since the onset of this pandemic. I had to take a deep breath and trust that some catastrophe would not happen. And when you live your life in crisis mode for 9 months consistently you just struggle to believe that a crisis isn’t sitting at every turn waiting for you. Because usually, it is. I had to leave my parents who cannot travel at this time. I actually had to travel.

These were inconsequential realities to me prior to this pandemic. Now they are paralyzing ones. So all in, this was no small feat.

But, my horses are my grandest love, my biggest privilege in life, and are the “why” to each and every one of my days. Why I get up. Why I push forward. Why I fight. They are my heart. Plain + simple.

I know so many fellow equestrians can identify with that. I am hoping that people can see these photos and read this post and see that if I could be in these moments this week that we can all keep going and keep navigating our way through this pandemic. Because believe me when I tell you that I did not see myself here, at all this year.

I dreamt of being here even if it was for a few days. And so quietly in the back of my mind, I worked towards that dream maybe, possibly becoming a reality. I could not give up on it. So I didn’t. I accepted that maybe this year it wasn’t feasible but I still worked for it anyway, just in case. I never stopped working towards it. Hoping that helps someone feel comfort who might be working towards their own dream or goal that right now feels a little bit out of reach.

Giana Terranova Photography, thank you so much for capturing these moments that were a long time coming and really full of so much fun and gratitude.

Now, the logistics behind the journey; there was a TON of mindful planning, rapid testing (both locations), and the plan to quarantine upon my return home (with additional testing). My camper is on the farm where the horses are so no driving anywhere is needed. Groceries are ordered, meals are prepared at home and that’s about that. I was able to make it down to spend a few days with my beloved horses. I absolutely stayed in my own little bubble and really applaud the WEF show grounds for the vigilance with regards to their COVID-19 protocols. (For those non-horse friends, the only time you’ll see us maskless in these photos is when we are riding or have just finished riding). They required security badges, temp checks on horseback or on foot (or vehicle) at every entrance, and have COVID-19 protocol monitors walking the property to ensure social distance among other guidelines are properly adhered to. Once seeing this for myself I felt comfortable knowing that the short walk to the show and the grounds themselves would be included in my bubble.

At first, I wasn’t going to share anything because people have such strong feelings about traveling right now, which I completely respect. But I double-masked at the airport and followed my same protocols here that I do at home. I would never endanger my team at the restaurant, or my parents obviously. And I needed to do this for myself. This was not a beach vacation (not that those are wrong), this was about my physical and mental, and spiritual well-being. This was about bringing myself back to myself for a moment after months of adjusting and calibrating to change.

Right now for me, living life in small steps with mindful and cautious planning is a good thing. My goals and dreams with my horses fuel my soul and give purpose to my life. So when presented with the opportunity to get back in the ring and do something that I love -> and that maybe for a while I took for granted a few years back? Yeah, that was a pretty special thing for me. A sacred thing. And one I am so happy to have done. My horses were so great and the best part of this whole thing was that after 7 weeks of not riding I competed and probably had my most consistent, confident, and well-ridden rounds of any start to winter circuit. And, it was SO fun.

I am really happy that I made the time, grateful to the restaurant team for holding it down (and my husband as well), and incredibly thankful for this equine family that takes such good care of my horses and of me.

Now back to reality. And just in time for Valentine’s day (my quarantine will officially be done by Saturday!).

Sharing a few favorite photos. Hope you enjoy. 💚

And I hope you all never stop dreaming. Because I certainly won’t. 😘

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