Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Leaving the Nest

Sometimes, you must change your environment in order to grow as a person.

The past two months have been a huge whirlwind of change for me. I have traveled (both by car and plane) over much of the country for my final senior design project, for job interviews, for horse shows, for weddings. I've graduated from college (for the second time!), landed a job, moved temporarily to San Antonio, and purchased a new (to me) truck. In the next month, I look forward to a final vacation, a cross country drive with a pit stop in KY to visit my horse and watch 'my kids' tackle NAJYRC cross country and show jumping, moving into a place around Middleburg (exact address still pending), and starting my new career.

Change is exhilarating and I can't help but feel like my life as an adult is finally beginning after having been in a holding pattern for the past four years.

However, while moving involves meeting new people and having new experiences, it also involves a lot of good-byes.

I'm exceptionally terrible at saying good-bye. I'm that person who gives an awkward hug and mumbles something about seeing you later. Except of course, everyone knows there is no later.

Some of the hardest good-byes I had to give this time were to the wonderful people at Gold Chip, which has been like a second home for me. I have seen so many kids and young riders go through Gold Chip, but the current group of riders is really something special. There's a camaraderie that I am going to greatly miss. Even our trainer is like a second dad to us all, to the point where I actually almost called my own father 'Mike' the other day. Dante has lived at this barn for more than four years, which is by far the longest he has ever lived in one place, and my trainer has brought us from Novice to Advanced. It will be hard to adjust to a trainer who doesn't know every nuance of our partnership like Mike does.

And yet, as much as I love my barn, I really, really hate Texas summers. I hate Texas summers the way many people hate northern winters. If I have my way, I will never again visit Texas between May and September. I loathe the overbearing, choking heat, and generally huddle inside in the A/C all day, every day. Repeatedly I get told that NoVa still gets hot, but usually the person telling me this has never experienced Texas in mid-summer. I cannot wait to escape this oppressive weather.

Luckily, I landed the job in D.C. and I'm lucky enough to be planning a move to Middleburg, VA. I've purchased a used Dodge Ram 2500 (dubbed Casey Jones) so I can finally look forward to hauling my own horse. (I may have been the only Advanced level eventer with neither a truck nor a trailer.) The commute is going to be a bitch, but with no family and no pets to deal with at home, this is the time of my life to make these kind of sacrifices in order to ride and compete.

Dante is currently on vacation at Graystone Stables in Georgetown, KY. Graystone is owned and run by S, my former college roommate who is the most meticulous horseperson I've ever known. I'm very lucky to be able to trust her with my boy while I put my new life in order. Dante is also being seen by her in-house vet, Dr. Newton of Rood and Riddle, who I absolutely already love. His shoes will be pulled shortly, and hopefully we can create a large change in the shape of his hoof.

(Dante hams it up at Graystone.)

In the meantime, I am both excited and melancholy by turns. Saying good-bye is not an easy thing.