Is your dream part of your identity?Â My dream is to become an accomplished equestrian.
The phrases horse lover, horseback rider, equestrian, horse owner have been part of my identity since I was a little girl.
This is partly why I can’t change my dream from what it is to having something to do with the LaCanada Rose Parade float (which was suggested to me at our last 8 Women Dream meeting).
But, it goes deeper than that.
When I was about 14, my Mom finally gave in and bought me a horse.
His name was Tori.
I kept Tori at Eaton Canyon StablesÂ and rode with Kathy Meyer.
RidingÂ and hanging out with Tori got me throughÂ thoseÂ difficult high school years.
Through all the moves and changes in my life, he was there with me.
When I moved to Northern California, I brought him.Â When I went toÂ college in Colorado, Tori came along too.Â Â Then, when I was 25 and Tori was 20, he began to get sick.Â All of a sudden, his legs would buckleÂ and he would stumble and fall.
My wondeful vet couldn’t figure it out.
The experts at Colorado State University vet hospital couldn’t solve it.Â Â My kind vetÂ told me of what IÂ knew in my heartÂ – it was time to put him down.Â I could no longer ride him.Â It was becoming unsafe to even be around him because of the danger he posed in potentially falling on me.Â It was getting harder for him to run around and play when he was turned out.
I was heartbroken.
My husband to be (our wedding was in a month) and I were moving back to California.Â We were planning on buying a place where my horses could be at home.Â I had been dreaming of going out and starting each day with Tori.Â My life was going to be perfect; it was everything I had ever wanted.
Then suddenly, it wasn’t to be.
My vet told me there was no wayÂ ToriÂ could make the long trip to California.Â Â I spent countless hours sitting in the corner of his stall, crying.
I’m still crying as I write this now.Â It’s like it was yesterday.
So, I made the hardest phone call of my life and set the date.Â September 3.Â I know it by heart.
I had Tori cremated.
His ashes are in the cupboard of my bedside table.Â (Now you think I’m crazy, right?)Â His picture is on my computer mouse pad.Â But I can’t look at my photo album of him and our days at Eaton Canyon and the photos I took in the last month of his life.
I still feel him with me.Â One evening, while standing quietly in my barn aisle, I felt him blow on my shoulder, just like he used to do.
When I look back over the past 12 years, I realize that I really haven’t ridden consistently (or well) since IÂ lost Tori.Â I’ve had two other horses (not counting Stormy, my dear retired horse), both ofÂ whom haveÂ deterioratedÂ in their training under me.Â Â I gave up and sold Smitty.
Now, I’ve been close to selling Nikki.
I know I have the skill to ride Nikki.Â Tori and Kathy gave me that.Â I feel like if IÂ abandoned my dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian, I’d be giving up on Tori.
Is that silly?
But, also, “equestrian” has been part of my identity for too long to turn my back now. Â Catherine gave us one year to accomplish our dream.Â I have to stick with it at least that much longer.Â I stated my goal of riding in 4 shows next season.Â I have to put forth a concerted effort to make that happen.Â Tori would have expected that.
So, while you’ll probably be hearing more about the Rose Parade float in my posts (especially when its raining and my arena is un-ride-able), with the support of 8 Women Dream and my beloved Tori from above, I’m going to go back to riding.
‘Til next week,
(Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still workingÂ on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian)