PIPER KLEMM, PH.D
This summer in Kentucky was one of the happiest times I’ve had in a long time. There was joy and there was laughter and there was a culmination of many years of work at friendships, relationships, and, of course, horses. There was some success, but we all know success in this sport does not define happiness or content feelings with your life.
The happiness came from the true satisfaction of sustained hard work.
Two full years after my first show with Reuben, also at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, we’re clicking. He’s so solid in so many situations now that I can really amateur—I can focus on my track, and my plan, and not quite as many “what if” scenarios as I used to. I felt at home with him, and he felt like family with me.
Almost a decade since I entered and started training with the vortex that is the Emily Elek experience, I am still in awe of her instinctual calm in all scenarios, her work ethic, and her perspective’s honed moral compass. Her guidance and humility have allowed me the confidence to never dip into all the negative temptations in this sport.
Over half a decade has also passed with Traci and Carleton Brooks, David Vega, and the whole Balmoral team. They have kept me pursuing (at my own pace) the upper end of this sport, and believing that purposeful hard work can materialize over very long timelines.
And, most importantly, happiness came from getting to enjoy a summer with my husband, Adam Hill. With his research schedule, summertime trips are usually rare or cut short, but this year we used the opportunity to spend the time together that we don’t always have. Happiness came from all the work we have put in to create sustainable habits, and to treat ourselves and each other better.
When I discuss how we can make this sport work for ourselves, just like friendships and relationships, I’m always surprised by people’s hurry. The great friendships that we might not have even known a few years in. The great horses—a year is a blink of an eye in trying to figure out what they could be. Allowing your trainer to mold you as a rider does not happen overnight.
Give your partnerships the gift of time to build and play out and see what they will become. This is a lifelong sport. Join me in relishing that we can make decisions in the timeframe of our entirety.
See you at the ring!
*This story was originally published in the September 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!