Sunday, December 07, 2014

End of Season Notes - JayaMae Gregory - Full Story

December 5 2014

It is difficult to describe the feelings I am feeling right now. There are many who, looking in from the outside, did not see the effort, the trials, the tears, the doubts, and the great fear that I have experienced in the last few years. And there are many more who know little of my life before Asali, for before her, I was a girl searching for a direction, but constantly losing my way. JayaMae is not my given name, you know. It is a name I gave myself. It has great personal meaning and I adopted it at a time when I wanted to leave behind a very painful past and take on a metamorphosis. I shed my skin, picked myself up, and moved my family 500 miles away, to begin a new life. That is when, quite by accident, I found Asali. What I have discovered in the last few years since we have entered into a partnership and taken on a sport I never thought I would endure – endurance – is that I am the same girl, in the same brown skin, that I was years ago. The only difference is that I have found a strength within myself I did not know I had before. I have learned to believe in myself.

Endurance is a sport that stretches beyond just knowing how to ride. It requires a true partnership with an animal ten times your own size. It is a sport that challenges your very core — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Endurance taught me to overcome the elements of the backcountry, to learn to be alone and comfortable in silence, to trust my mount and to trust myself. It taught me to take things as they come, that the best fun in the sport is when, despite a fall or a runaway horse or getting lost on the trail, you can smile through it all and keep riding anyway. The rides we did not complete forced me to reevaluate my training, my riding ability, and my horse’s ability. It was each non-completion that taught me that change is okay. And it was in those failures that I was hit with something very valuable, in the name of humility. Every ride, even those that are successful, somehow humbles me, for it is more than my own talents that get us to the finish line...

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