I realize, being who I am, that I have a tendency to be overly competitive and overly analytical. When I see a problem, I want to fix it immediately. Since my return from the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, these qualities certainly haven’t changed.
My job since I've been back has been to work my horse down from her fitness. To be frank, it isn’t the easiest goal I’ve ever had to achieve. Ginger is holding onto her fire. Trying to suppress this for the time being, after so many months of building it, is hard, to say the least. I realize also that this time is asking me to do the same for myself. As I am working Ginger down, I too am having a hard time suppressing the innate characteristics that drove me to go to Mexico (my competitive, analytical and problem-solving drive). This may be the harder part of working Ginger down.
As I look back at the experiences I have acquired over the past year, I can’t help but overanalyze every detail and see where I need to improve. I could say, like everyone else that rides, that this year had its ups and its downs. It had lessons to learn from and victories that I hope will carry me into the future.
Going to the Pan American Games is something I can’t shake out of my mind. My skin still tingles when I think of the surreal experience I had the fortunate opportunity to be a part of. Every time I think about my dressage test, I get a strong feeling of satisfaction. When I think of cross-country, my blood starts to pump just reliving the cheering of 33,000 people. And when I think of the people I got to meet and spend time with, I can only smile just wishing that I will get a chance to see them all again (maybe with a bit more Spanish under my belt). I find myself overanalyzing my fall in Mexico, and everything in me wants to go back and do it right. I have the strongest desire to rewrite this part of my past year’s story now.
While in Mexico, I learned so much about myself. I used to think these characteristics were part of what makes me a little crazy. While in Mexico, I had the chance to live in the Pan Am Village with 6,000 athletes who possess these identical traits. Our similarities have taught me a huge lesson in hindsight. My peers have rewritten their past mistakes in their future fueled forward by their over-competitive, over-analytical and problem-solving drive. These characteristics are innately part of who I am and have driven me to where I am now. In my haste to fix my past, I too need to push forward and take 2011 for what it was: a year full of huge experiences, which encourage me to push on to bigger victories in the future.
My goals for the future include the 2016 Olympics, a CCI****, and the syndication of a horse, among other things. I know that the plan I set may be ambitious. It may involve failure, it will involve tears, it may involve heartache, but it also may involve victory, joy and happy surprises. So at least I am not going to say I didn’t try. This past year’s experiences have set me on fire. Now it’s time to see if fate will grant me what I have dreamed for.
Here is to 2011: the year of beginnings. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me through this year including the Puerto Rican Federation, which gave me the chance of a lifetime. I anxiously look forward to riding for Puerto Rico in the future. Thank you to my Frances Muñoz and Tata Rojas (my Puerto Rican mothers), Kristin Cook (Ginger’s second mother, one of my best friends and my groom while at the Games), Dhyane Hawkins (who put on my fundraiser), my mom and dad, Grandma Maria, Pacific Crest Equine (who keeps my horse sound), Annadale Equine Center (who has given my horse gills), Bea and Derek di Grazia, Loris and Bill Henry, and everyone who has sent encouraging words and energy my way this year.
I have learned so much, and I am propelled forward off of the many incredible experiences I was blessed with this year.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
Ginger & Lauren