I titled this post "Living with Integrity". It is something I strive to do in every day, and I have always tried my best to let my ethics be my guide. Sometimes it means making very hard decisions though.
In making the decision to campaign to London 2012, I realized that the Team really needed not just a rider and a horse, but a rider and a horse who could pull down a top international score, which at my grade is in the 68-72% range. I knew I needed to sharpen my test riding, which had gotten a bit sloppy with riding Dylan, and I needed to find a horse that could consistently pull down 7's in the Gr 3 work when ridden accurately. Additionally, I decided that I needed to find a way to take the financial burden off of my own shoulders as much as possible - to find better ways to fundraise, and ensure that as much as possible, my own finances are kept separate from those of this campaign. Lastly, I am on an incredibly short timeframe to pull pull this all together.
I really believed that Neo was "the horse", and honestly, I still do believe that he IS "the horse"...he is talented, kind-hearted, and I cannot think of a horse better suited for the para work. However, Neo has had a quite a few riders in his life in the past 6 years, and it will take an investment of time in order for a relationship to flourish, and for him to be truly brilliant. And time is something I cannot fundraise for, nor do I have.
I am heartbroken, as Neo and I have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, but I have to keep reminding myself about my timeline, and that I need to be ready to ride a test for scores in short order.
I find myself wondering though....to what end? Am I "throwing away" a beautiful partnership in pursuit of medals? Is that truly living with integrity?
I suppose in the end I am hoping for BOTH a beautiful partnership, AND the chance to shine in competition.
In the meantime, Neo and I will just enjoy our rides together as he starts to look for his new "someone", and as I start to look for my new "someone", too.