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  • Karlie Leblanc

Shocking Emotions ...

My chest tightens as I sit outside the arena on a big horse with an inky black mane and tail. His coat glistens under the lights in the main stadium, with the slightest sheen of sweat from our warm up a few minutes prior. I feel a hand on the back of my calf, "Karlie are you ready?" .... Not even a little bit, I hear myself whisper in my head but I look down at my trainer and smile. "Yes Ma'am" I tell her as I hear my name over the loud speaker as next in the arena. My vision immediately narrows to only seeing the ground floor of the arena as I walk in and I take deep breath and close my calf around my horse as the buzzer sounds. He steps out into a forward canter towards the first jump in excitement and I can only hear the sound of my breathing in my ears as we approach the first jump ...


That memory sits heavy on my mind as I sit outside the same arena 15 years later, the show

the pre show jitters are almost worse than I remember. I have a new identity as being a mother, a trainer, and multiple horse owner. "What if I fail, what if this horse I trained turns out to suck, what if I embarrass myself ..." My horse sighs deeply as I look out across the area, in my head I am searching for any excuse to back out. I look to my right and see my daughter, mother, and several students and clients in the stands smiling and waving. "Jesus Karlie, breath!"... I will myself as I stand there. I just keep focusing on my breathing. I hear my best friend say "Karlie are you ready?" I look down at her and tell her "Not even a little bit!" She smiles and laughs knowing me by this stage in our friendship, she realizes I am getting in my feelings and I don't want to be emotional right now. She looks up at me and says, "well, if you don't go now you will never be ready ..." "Shit" I mutter as I stand there. She touches the back of my calf, "Karlie you can do this!" Okay I say quietly and turn to walk in the arena. A familiar feeling washes over me as I step into the arena, my vision narrows to only seeing the floor of the arena. I hear the sound of my shallow breaths in my ears, and when the buzzer sounds I close my calf in and step out into a powerful canter towards our first jump ...


Later that evening after the horses have been tucked in and my daughter has been thoroughly scrubbed and put to bed as well, I sit down to reflect on my day and check my daughters phone. As any parent knows when you provide a child with any electronic device they are given the world at the finger tips and I may be a tad over protective but I like to see what she has been doing and who she has been talking to. In the past she has made choices that I don't approve of so she is fully aware that I check her phone daily and leaves it on the counter every night for me to look through. She has several text message groups that she has with her friends at school and from the farm that she talks school with, horses or general anime stuff which I think is adorable. As I click into one of the conversations and scroll through it I see my face and my horse as a still shot from earlier this morning. My breath immediately caught in my throat, and my brain went blank. "What is this child of mine sending out pictures of me to her friends for ..." Then I read underneath the picture and felt a tear slide down my dirt stained cheek. "Yall look at my mom, and a horse she trained. She was so nervous to be back in the arena today but she killed it and I am so proud ..."


I sat there and silently cried for a moment. Dang this child I thought, she saw the struggle I went through. She saw the whole emotional struggle I went through, the shallow breathing the shaking of my head, the obvious "I am about to throw up" face. I was so embarrassed about not being brave, but she was so proud of me any way. In that one simple text she sent to her friends, I realized that she doesn't need to see me be brave all the time. She doesn't need me to always tell her that "it is okay, it will all be okay." What she needs to see from me is all of it. The raw struggle of over coming, of not being brave all the time but the struggle to get there. Being vulnerable is not pretty, Lord knows that I look a straight up dumpster fire in those moments. However the beauty of finding the bravery makes it so worth the effort.


#leblancladies #jakkfarms #wecandohardthings #justbreath





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