"I could feel the adrenaline racing through my veins as I trotted into the final line-up. It was my last chance to advance to the district level, my last chance at victory. My trusty, steady-eddie gelding and I had a flawless ride; we were destined to win. The loudspeaker abruptly came on, and I waited anxiously for my number to be announced. It was never called. Seeing my competitors pick up their ribbons broke my nine-year-old heart. After all the preparation, the lessons, and the nerves, how could I not have qualified?
As a young child, I found it difficult to grasp the idea of failure. What did I do to deserve the rejection and the inferior feelings? As I grew older, I realized the answer to this question was non-existent. We did have an exceptional ride, but so did my competition. From that point on, I knew there was only one solution. Keep my helmet on straight and keep trotting on.
My failures gave me incentive. If I had never failed, what would I have to work for? Hours upon hours were spent at the barn, in the dreaded heat and frigid temperatures, just to perfect my riding skills and to better my horse and me as a team. Each show season we progressed, as our hard work was paying off. The next year I advanced to districts, and I continued to stay motivated. Another year passed and I qualified for states, leading to a shocking state championship.
Reminiscing on that day of failure when I was just a nine-year-old girl could not be sweeter. Advancing from the tears of rejection to the viewpoint of my failure as a triumph instilled a great feeling. I understood that I was growing as an individual. I understood the cause and effect of my actions. In fact, my riding instructor once said to me, "These are not just horse lessons, these are life lessons." She was 100 percent correct. Participating in a 4-H club, competing in horse shows, and working with a large animal taught me so many lessons that I apply to my life everyday. The key lesson I learned, however, deals strictly with failure. No matter what I do in life, I will fail. Failure is inevitable, a necessary evil. But failure does not need to be a negative element. Failure can transpire into a success, depending on how it is received. One can give up in the eye of defeat or continue to trot on, to use that failure as inspiration. I believe that mindset is a success in itself. I will fail, and I will sometimes succeed, but through the failures I will remain invincible."
Everyone, just trot on..