Olympic Dreams

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“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” ~ Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics ~ Photo courtesy of Cheval Photos

I have been saving this post for a few weeks because I thought today would be the perfect day to share this little story.  As you all know, my daughter, Ally, is a little equestrian with very big dreams.  Her dream, she will tell you, is to go to the Olympics one day.  While she is only 10, that dream, should it ever come to fruition could be as soon as 8 years aways.  2020 is the first year she would be eligible (you must be at least 18) for the equestrian Olympic team.  While Ally’s journey to 2020 may or may not take her to the Olympics, I can tell you this, without a doubt, many hours of training and many horse shows will fill the days of her future.  She is beyond horse crazy.  She has a passion that is her driving force.

Ally’s idol is Reed Kessler, who you see in the beautiful photo, above.  Reed Kessler is the youngest person in history to make an Olympic equestrian show jumping team, being selected on June 17 (while still 17) at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.  Reed celebrated her 18th birthday July 9, less than three weeks before the cutoff date to qualify for the Olympics in London.

The photo posted above was taken by my friend and fellow equestrian photographer, Selena Frederick, owner of http://www.ChevalPhotos.com.  Selena photographs many of the top riders in the world and travels to most of the high profile events in North America.  I feel very blessed to know her and call her my friend.  She inspires me artistically and has shown me that even in this small world of equestrians and professionals, there is room for everyone.

Selena was at Spruce Meadows when Reed was named to the Olympic Team.  I called Selena and I asked her if she could possibly ask Reed for an autograph for Ally. A napkin with her name would do.  I hate to ask for these kind of favors and understood completely if she didn’t feel comfortable asking.  Selena said she would see what she could do.  The next day I heard from Selena and she told me she had something to Ally.  Later that week that “something” arrived ~

As you can imagine the small child is beside herself.  A frame has been purchased and a space on the wall selected for the note and one of Selena’s beautiful photos of Reed.  You can check out the rest of Selena’s photos of Reed on her blog http://chevalphotos.com/3129/every-little-girls-dream.

Thank you, Selena for your kindness, your art and your inspiration!  Reed, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note to Ally.  Good luck to you and Cylana this week!  We will be cheering you on every step of the way!   You are a hero and inspiration not only to my little one; but, to many little ones with big dreams.  ♥♥

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The Best Luck I Had Was You

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“Cause the best luck I had was you…and I know one thing, that I love you!” ~ Michael Franti

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since that 3:00 a.m. drive down the mountain to Stanford Hospital to receive what we thought would be a little eye rolling, a few chuckles and advice to go back home and relax for another 3 or 4 weeks.  Ah, the best laid plans.  A year ago my post was a tribute to the Bean, reflecting on the memories of the day she was born. Rereading it today, it still makes me smile and wonder where I drew the creativity to write such an almost humorous post. I’ll probably repost it at some point today; however, for the sake of nostalgia (mine), feel free to check it out at http://www.journeyto2020.com/2011/04/21/she-is-going-to-be-a-handful/

Instead of writing, yet again, about how enamored I am with my child, I’ve decided to switch gears and give her a voice by sharing a poem she wrote for her fourth grade class this week; a little piece of her soul~

MY SOUL

My soul is running free
Like a wild horse
My soul is the drumming
Of hoof beats on the
Burning sand
My soul is the sound of
Ear piercing whinnies
My soul is a bright
Place with the smell
Of thick leather
My soul is the sweat
And blood of a horse.

By: Ally Sinclair

Happy 10th Birthday, sweet Alexandra!  Your love, kindness, courage and beauty (inside and out) is the essence of an unbridled soul!  May you, forever, experience life exactly as you feel it today!!

p.s. And, never forget the best luck I had was you ♥   xoxo!!

Secrets

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“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
― Diane Arbus

I had intentions with the photo.  Frame was set.  I was going to capture a moment.  I think we all know where I was going with this.  Caption would read “When I grow up I want to be just like her”.   However, every good photographer/artist knows you need to make sure the composition is just right.   I knew it was all wrong; but, I went ahead because I love the two beings so much I just had to take the shot.  I would see if I could “weed out” the noise in the background later.

After uploading the photo, I decided, it’s just one of those shots you need to leave “as is”.  DOF is good in the foreground, but, the rest is just a hot mess.  I leave it and share it because every photograph has its own story.  The dude in the background is always by my side at the hunter rings.   We stand together on the same line and our clicks are in sync 99% of the time.  I still have a few fails.  I can see that he is wondering what I’m up to at this moment.  Well, my friend, I have little secret 🙂

Poise and Grace

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Quote of the Day:  “By “guts” I mean, grace under pressure.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

She arrived at Thermal with no expectations other than to do her very best.  She had dreamed of this moment for over a year.  She practiced and she prepared.  Moments before she headed out for her first jumping round, she looked at me and smiled.  It was a smile that spoke a thousand words.

I watched nervously.  I was not nervous about the ride, because I knew she would put everything she had into it, and my trust of the pony never waivers.  Nervous isn’t even the correct word to describe my emotions. The emotions were full of pride, respect and a knowing that it was time to let go.  She did not need to hold my hand for this one.

When it was over, her face said it all.  I think she felt a little like Rocky after he ran the steps in Philadelphia.  The definition of poise is balance; stability; ease and dignity of manner; self-assurance; composure; the condition of being calm or serene.  Today was share day at school and she wanted to share about her experience at Thermal.  I asked her if she wanted to take her ribbons to show her classmates and she said, “no, Momma, I just want to tell my friends about how it felt to ride my pony in the desert”.  It wasn’t about the awards, it was about the experience.  The poise of this small child never ceases to amaze me.

The definition of poise, the transitive verb, is to be balanced or held in suspension; hover.  This is what we get to look forward to in the years to come.  The poise and grace which this lovely 16 year old exemplifies goes beyond measure.

Haley, thank you for being such a beautiful example of poise and grace!  Good luck this week at Thermal!!  I promise many photos next weekend.