Creating the Opportunity of a Lifetime
Have you ever felt like you’ve been going non-stop and working tirelessly towards something important that it seems like you’re running a marathon that never ends? My guess is most of you have at one point or another. Know that you’re in good company. Right now is the first time I have been able to stop, breathe, and reflect on what a whirlwind the past several months have been.
It all started around the holidays (Thanksgiving-ish time 2021) when I decided that I wanted to compete at Badminton in 2022 and stay in the UK through Burghley. For those of you who know me, I’m sure you can attest that once I set my mind to something, it’s full speed ahead on how to make it happen.
After having two successful 5* runs in 2021, I felt confident about where Barry and I were in our partnership. I knew that I wanted to make the most out of the time I have with this special horse and get more experience at the top of the sport by competing at the most prestigious events in the world. That was the easy part.
Next came more complicated matters like how was I going to afford this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and how was I going to figure out all of the other logistics that come with moving overseas for several months? As you can guess, flying a horse across the pond is quite the investment, so I knew that I needed to find a way to cut my ordinary expenses like my mortgage, etc., and that became my priority.
Within 24 hours of hatching this plan, I was on the phone with my realtor to discuss renting out my house for most of the year. I was leaving for Aiken at the end of December and would only be back in PA for a couple of weeks before leaving for the UK for an extended stay through mid-September. So, I figured why not start renting my house ASAP and save some money? It was a leap of faith to do this if something unforeseen happened and I couldn’t go because then I would be “homeless” while someone else occupied my home. I was ready to take that risk anyway, so it went on the market. I was lucky enough to quickly find a renter who needed a place for the exact amount of time I was gone. Some might say this is a coincidence, but I believe there is no such thing as coincidence.
With expenses minimized and putting more emphasis on saving, I felt like I had an excellent start to my grand plan. However, I knew that I would need more help to make it happen. It was time to reach out to my supportive community of friends, family, and Team Barry fans. I decided to offer multiple ways people could support our journey. From creating a Go Fund Me page, giving the option for a tax-deductible donation, ordering Team Barry merch, and sourcing quality products for an online Facebook auction, I raised enough funds to make this dream a reality.
Asking for help has never been easy for me (see previous blog post), but I realized that was the only way I would make this happen. I knew that a fantastic group of people surrounded me both in person and virtually, but I was humbled by the support I received. People were so generous with what they wanted to offer, whether it was financial assistance, a service they could provide, or a connection they could make. It’s hard to say how much every gift of time, effort, or money means to me.
Throughout this process, there have been many ups, downs, twists, and turns, including being put on the waitlist for Badminton, laying down a fantastic showing in the 4*S at Stable View, and having to have knee surgery on April 8, to name a few. More on all of these things in a later blog post. The biggest thing that I’ve learned through it all is that with the right amount of patience, perseverance, and trust in the universe, if it’s meant to be, it will be.
After months of planning, days of packing, and countless hours of anticipation, our journey finally began on April 27 at 2 pm when we were picked up at True Prospect Farm. There’s a lot more I want to share with you about the travel, but I will leave you with one last thing for now.
As I sit here on the plane with my beloved steed below in cargo, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with emotion. It has taken so much to get to this point, and the exciting stuff still lies ahead. I am struck by the realization that few people get to have this experience, and I do not take this privilege lightly. By sharing my story, I hope that I can encourage others to follow their dreams no matter how big they may seem. If you want something enough, aren’t afraid to put in the work, and can put aside your ego to ask for help, you too can create an opportunity of a lifetime!