Today kicks off the first day of The Challenge. I wish I could put in words how magical The Challenge is. I know I’ve posted about it on this blog before and have fallen short of being able to capture why it is so special.
I believe a big piece of why it is special, is that so many people come together in support and motivation of one another to achieve a common goal. It is the people themselves and their passion for riding, their honesty about their journeys, their fun times and adventures with their horses. It is a fantastic space to be in for the first 12 weeks of the year.
And this year, for me, it is about a little bit more. Losing Mom suddenly two days before The Challenge began, it represents finding the light of hope in a dark time. It provides a joyful distraction from the tiring journey that grief can be. It opens my heart to people full of excitement and intention at a time that I’d rather just be closed and self absorbed.
This year I am not setting any secondary goals for The Challenge like I usually do. I’m not worrying about leads or how much lighter we can get our yields, I don’t care if he places his foot perfectly where I ask or if he could’ve changed gaits a little bit snappier. This year, it is about things that are much more important. It is about being in the moment, taking it all in and NOT taking it for granted. This year it is about loving my pony and enjoying this with my husband (for his first time). It is about riding with my local friends and virtually sharing the rides of others.
It is all about showing up and putting the time in during the most difficult season of the year, even when it is hard, even when it is cold, even when it is dark. Out of that showing up, beauty will emerge, progress will be made, relationships with our horses will develop and love will be found.
The Challenge is really a symbol for life. Is there a more difficult season than grief? But I still have to show up to the hard, and the cold and the dark of it. And I know that beauty will emerge, progress will be made, relationships with myself and with others will develop and most importantly love will be found.