A LETTER TO ME- Jennifer Wooten
Dear Teenage Jennifer,
Do you remember the day when you decided you were going to be an equestrian professional? I do. Those were big words back then.
You were 12 years old and at the last minute filled in as a horse manager at a pony club C level Combined Training rally in Moorpark. Your eyes were wide open as you discovered the sport.
You studied the horses, the riders, what they wore, how they rode. You tried to understand the dressage, walked the courses but the XC was what really caught your attention. This sparked the match that took fire to your childhood hobby which fueled your passion and will nurture your dream.
This same dream will lead you down the path of wonder, questions and determination. This dream will take shape over time and will not disappoint. It will shape you into an International 5-star competitor!
You will do whatever it takes to do what you love. You will muck 20 stalls before school to help your mom make rent, you will travel the world with some of your best friends and a horse that in so many ways kept you focused, fighting for the right to play the game, and who will ultimately save your life. You can do it, and you will!
Years later, when you are a mother (yes you will become a mother someday and that too will change you) with a successful business, do not doubt you can do it again if you choose.
No matter what, don’t forget where you come from and how hard you have worked to get there. The sacrifices you make along your journey, those are important. Be proud of yourself for making them for what you want. Don’t forget to give yourself time to dream and to be brave. You’ll prove you can make lemonade out of lemons and so much more.
Your skill set includes being tough, smart and strong. You’ll prove you can beat the odds. Now do not be afraid to continue to do it again and again.
You’ll build yourself an amazing business. You’ll surrounded yourself by genuine, loyal people.
You’ll give your all to help make other’s dreams become a reality, but don’t forget about your own. Express them, share them.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Some of the strongest people can also feel the most vulnerable when they share what means the most to them. Share! Share those secrets — own them, give them a chance to breath and become alive.
You are Grit. When someone tells you no, it’s like a challenge to prove them wrong.
Recognize the day it doesn’t need to be a challenge anymore. You will prove yourself over time and build a respectable reputation and become untouchable to some.
Share, dream and ask for help from the ones who truly support you and love you. It will push you to put you first and not to forget who you are.
The long hours will teach you to work, see something thru and be reliable. They will educate you.
Heartache and tears come with being a competitive competitor but don’t beat yourself up. Take ownership of your disappointment, then move on. Don’t focus on the negativity, it’s everywhere and will consume if you let it. Don’t let it.
Poverty, you’ll get past those days, lying awake wondering how you’re going to make ends meet, how you’re going to afford this life, how you’re going to afford your horse’s basic needs, you will figure that all out and put those days behind you. Embrace the fruits of your labor but don’t take it for granted. Continue to be thankful for what you do have and how much more you have to offer.
Tears of frustration, the letdown, being told you’ll never be good enough, you don’t have the financial backing or the bloodlines — it will build your character and you will not let it break you.
Continue to study the riders you respect and admire. There’s free education out there if you’re aware enough to notice, and I know you are. You will continue to develop the self-taught skill throughout your riding career, and I know you will continue with it. A critical eye can be a blessing and a curse, continue to be open, it will give you what you need.
Most importantly, find that special horse to connect with and continue to remind yourself to have fun.
You are such a slave to perfection that you will forget why you chose this path at times. From the time you took off on your first pony, to the moment you leave the start box in your first five-star, you will feel a sense of freedom, oneness with your horse, but most importantly you will feel full of FUN.
Don’t let expectation, results and comments take away your childhood dream. Continue to be you, you have so much more to do, give and offer, but please have fun.