For the last few weeks I’ve been negotiating my work life for 2017. Since my daughter was born in February of 2014, I have generally worked from home. I go into the office once or twice a week, but the rest of the time I spend in my home office, working for a wide range of folks. All that will change in 2017.

I’ve gained a position with Freedman’s Harness. I’ll be building their marketing department up from the ground, which is both exciting and (if I’m being realistic) a serious challenge. I am looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to prove myself in a whole new endeavor, and thrilled that it will put me even deeper into the world of horses.

It’s worth it to mention that I will miss some of what I’m leaving behind. There are some pretty spectacular people that I’ve met and gotten to know over the years. I will miss them, and I sincerely hope that my not being as easily accessible won’t mean I completely lose those contacts.

Sometimes you have the best of intentions, but it just doesn’t work out. Days turn to weeks turn to years, and you haven’t seen or spoken to people that before would have been a daily part of your life. It’s the human condition, I suppose. We are present creatures, and it’s difficult to constantly dredge back into the past. Sometimes, though, it works out, and the people from your past walk with you to the present.

Recently, Star and I have been on fire. We’ve started to do a few things differently, but one of the biggest things is I’m finding myself letting go of my past. I can’t ride Star like every other horse I’ve been on. The years and years of trials and triumphs don’t matter when I’m on my little rocket. The past barely matters.

This time last year, I was having to constantly keep Star clipped. The end of every lesson saw her literally dripping with sweat. She was still playing the 3 weeks on 1 week off game. Sometimes we had progress, and sometimes I went home wondering why we couldn’t seem to move on.

Fast forward to last night. We don’t canter in a group any more. It does weird things to her brain, she doesn’t need it to fully warm and she’s happier doing her own thing. When possible, we trot the first jump of a course. At the very least we trot around to the first jump. We often canter a stride or to before we get there, but Star gets to set the tempo. She likes it. Over the last week, I kept hearing the same thing from different people: “She’s so happy.”

And she is. There’s no more stress, no more ending lessons exhausted and dripping. I gave her an Irish clip in October and haven’t touched anything but her bridlepath since. I felt my heart grow a’la the Grinch as I walked her back to her paddock last night, and stopped to snap a picture of her in the darkness surrounded by snow. I don’t think Star’s ever going to be an easy horse, but she’s doing her best to be exactly the horse I need.

Sometimes progress feels a lot more like perfection then you were expecting. Sometimes bad years end with a blazing excitement and hope. Sometimes the stars aline and riding Star feels unlike anything I’ve known before. Sometimes life throws you challenges purely to prove to you that you can meet them. Sometimes easy isn’t best, and the darkness brings the light. Sometimes you have to let go, to finally get control.

Sometimes progress is perfection, and you can’t help but feel so proud of where you are and how far you’ve come.

Happy holidays to those who celebrate them, and happy new year to all. Looking forward to chatting with you in 2017!

Christine Sharpe is a Canadian who grew up riding Hunter/Jumper in the Southern USA. Now living in Toronto, she is a thirty-something who is back to riding after four years off and having her first child. Christine is aiming her Thoroughbred mare, Star, toward the Jumper Circuit and Warmblood Breed Inspections. She struggles daily to juggle family, work, and her equine lifestyle, with occasional success.

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