BY TORI WEED
Two years ago, my trainer asked me if I would like to travel with her to Thermal, California for HITS Coachella, to groom, ride, learn, help, and experience. I’d groomed and showed at local shows before, but this would be my very first out of state competition. As a new “A show kid,” I had yet to really learn the ropes of this lifestyle and was nervous and excited about the opportunity.
Excited, because it was an open door to the world of horses I so badly wanted to be a part of. Nervous, because I would be on my own with only my trainer, in a different state, missing school and working with little prior experience. This opportunity was either going to be a recipe for booming success, or a complete disaster. To find out, all I had to do was say yes when my trainer asked for my final decision. And that’s what I did.
Two years ago, I was a very different person than who I am today and all of that is because of what I have experienced. I’ve experienced success, failure, growth, and setbacks. I’ve experienced happiness, tragedy, once in a lifetime opportunities, and memories I’ll never forget.
But most importantly, I’ve experienced.
I owe everything that I am to what I have been through. Not to sound cliché but I wouldn’t change it for a thing. In these past two years, I have grown into a person who values the importance of growing. I’ve learned growth comes from trying new things and working outside of your comfort zone, and the only way that will all ever happen is if you say yes. How will you ever be able to try new things if you constantly close the door on new opportunities? You never know what you might get out of an experience until you do it — so do it.
I’m not saying don’t be scared or nervous or afraid of so called failure. I’m saying don’t let those feelings stop you from experiencing. Don’t let the fear of “what if’s” keep you from saying yes. Keep the voices in your head whispering no at bay, and try it. Because even though it doesn’t hurt to try, it does hurt to regret.
Here I am two years later writing this, again in California for yet another horse show, trying to live my life without regret. I’ve learned to say yes, and I’m still learning the best possible ways to grow and experience… not only in the horse world.
Saying yes has gotten me leadership positions in my school and my community, my internship with The Plaid Horse, and to experiences I never could have dreamed of. Life is made of experiences, so I urge you to go after them. Next time you’re faced with an alien opportunity, try saying yes and see what happens. It might just surprise you, and inspire you to say yes again.