Our parents all tell us that we’re going to miss being kids when we grow up. Why don’t we listen?
I think the junior eventers these days are in such a hurry to be known and be “professionals” that we forget what we really are, kids. Sure, I’d love to hopefully someday be able to call myself a professional, but it’s not today and it for sure isn’t in the near future. Get used to not being recognized for now. Accept that you aren’t yet an accomplished upper level rider, and don’t try to be one.
For right now, enjoy being that unrecognized kid. Make all of your mistakes before you’re in the spotlight. This is the process. You have a lot to do and improve before you can call yourself an equal to the professionals. I personally find it disrespectful to all the pros when juniors consider themselves equals. Even though we do work very hard for what we want, they did it too, and they’ve done it longer. It doesn’t matter if you are on a first name basis, or have never seen them in person, you have to treat the accomplished riders with the respect they deserve. They have already earned it, some of us just think we’re “that good” that we expect the same respect. Even if you’re a riding prodigy, you still aren’t an equal.
Somehow someway, all of us already have our destiny’s chosen. If you were born to be a professional rider, it will happen. There is no reason to try to weasel your way to the top so young. Let things happen on there own, because they will. If you weren’t born to ride, there is something out there for you. It isn’t the end of your life if this doesn’t work out. Truthfully, for many of us it won’t. So it isn’t worth faking and pushing your way up to the top if you aren’t supposed to be there.
Age limits are set on things for a reason. Not just in eventing, but everywhere. The age on Advanced is 18. That’s because until you’re around that age, you aren’t big enough, strong enough, experienced enough, or mature enough to be going at such an extreme level. Once you get to that level, you have to be mature and intelligent enough to make good and quick decisions, some life deciding. So why go to fast and be way ahead if you’re now trapped at a certain level due to age? The answer is because a lot of us just want to be better than everyone else. That’s a good thing, if you use that drive in the right way. Don’t look at it as “I need to make everyone think I’m the best and I need to do it now.” Think of it as “I eventually want to be the best I can be.” That way you still want to be the best, but your only competition is you.
Don’t rush the process because the point is, you still need a certain amount of practice to be the best. The level your competing at doesn’t matter if you aren’t doing well. Stay young for as long as you can, get all the practice you need, and never talk yourself up to be more than you are.
Just remember that this journey that you chose is lifelong.