adventure |adˈven ch ər|noun: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory.
*Sappy Personal Story Below. Be Forewarned*
On Wednesday/Thursday, March 24/25 of this year, my world kind of turned on its head. Details are not important, but two of the things I knew best and loved dearly and had counted on were suddenly no longer a part of my day to day existence. It is a range of emotions I wish for no one to feel, but most of us will experience at some point in our lives.
As painful as that day was, it was also quite liberating. For many years I joked that I would like to go ride in England but never seriously considered the idea. As I attempted to understand my new world, I approached good friend, mentor and former champion steeplechase jockey Arch Kingsley, with an idea that had sprung to my mind of moving to England and riding for several months. The idea was not to run away from the pain but rather find the “new” me, become a better rider, get an experience some people only dream of and do something so completely different from what most of my other classmates would be doing after graduation.
So here I am! In 4 hours, I will be getting on a plane and flying to London Gatwick where I will board another plane for Yorkshire, where a good family friend has offered to put me up for the time being in their home near Richmond. Through the generous and unending support of the steeplechasing community, a wealth of contacts and an expansive network in horse racing, I have opportunities to ride thoroughbred race horses across ‘the pond.’ The hope and goal will be to maybe get a few race rides during my stay there. Maybe over the hurdles, maybe just on the flat. But ultimately, I just want to come home a better, more confident steeplechase jockey.
Naturally, I could just have stayed in the United States and ridden and become a better rider, but the opportunity to do so in a part of the world that actually understands, values and loves steeplechasing was too great to pass up.
I am so fortunate to have the love and support of my family, friends, and other loved ones in my change of address. No one has thought this a bad idea, and the overwhelming majority have been astounded at how exciting and challenging this adventure would be for me.
I have a great deal of exciting travel plans to look forward to including spending time with a really good friend and teammate also studying abroad in the UK, the Italian Formula One Grand Prix and the British World Rally Championship. Who knows what else I’ll do and see.
It would be foolish for a professional sports photographer not to have his camera, so of course I will be shooting my entire experience for your enjoyment and that of myself many years down the road. Who knows what will come of this but I know it is what I need to do for me. As our “great” President preached during his campaigning months, this is the “Change we need.” Well this is the change I need.
Thanks for all the support, help and love I have received in the build up to this. I’d be lying if I wasn’t nervous, but I’m also excited beyond words.