A bunch of whiners, I thought to my thirty-something self, as the 50 and Over Amateurs raised quite a bit of commotion. The speaker in the arena had just crackled with the announcer’s voice, relaying the request to combine the two Amateur age divisions, and you would have thought the end of the world was coming.
Fast-forward twenty-odd years, and now that I’m in that age division, I suddenly have a new perspective. My motor skills are slower than when I was a thirty-something know-it-all, my body awakens to a new sore spot each day, and the thought of donning heavy show clothes to run in deep arena sand is almost enough to make me head for the hills.
Step stools and Advil? They are a necessity, and so is stretch fabric, for many reasons…
But something else happened at one of my first shows in this older age group. I had just finished my Showmanship pattern with my green horse. Despite the fact that I was gasping for breath at the end of my pattern, I trotted my horse to the lineup, thinking my performance had sucked, only to hear a chorus of applause- from my competitors.
On that day, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my endeavors to keep reaching for the stars while my arthritis protested. My cohorts were there right alongside me, fighting the same fight, and still achieving their dreams, through all the aches, brain-fog moments, and most of all, the laughs. They are more than willing to share their wisdom, because we’ve learned at our age that a little humility goes a long way.