A Missed Shot

By: Barbara Aitken Jenkins

Well, that didn’t go as planned.
“A strong start, followed by a penalty, with a mediocre finish,” is how I would describe last Friday’s run in the L1 Ranch Riding Stakes.
After realizing the L1 Stakes was NOT an amateur class, instead a money-added OPEN class, I decided Miss Shiney, and I were going to relax and have a good time. I would use it as a practice run for the Amateur Ranch Riding.
I felt confident we would have a quality run, and might even sneak in a good score against the pros.
Miss Shiney and I marked a +1 under 2 judges and a +1/2 under the other on our first maneuver, which was an extended trot down the center of the pen. Then we hit a bobble. She came out flat after her rollback and trotted out. That’s a three-point penalty. The rest of the pattern was clean but not wow-worthy.
After taking care of Miss Shiney for the night, my dad and I ate supper at Denny’s with sporadic conversation every few minutes. We mostly sat in silence, contemplating what had happened. I honestly can’t remember a time she had ever trotted out of a rollback before. It baffled me.
On our way back to the hotel, I aimlessly scrolled on my phone and saw where Baylor University (my alma mater), men’s basketball team lost their Friday night game by three points. I always feel for the team who loses. I know that there’s a player in the locker room staring at the wall, replaying the game in his head, wondering which missed basket lost the game.
He knows that nine times out of ten, he makes that shot. He also knows that tomorrow, he’ll walk in the gym, pick up the ball and shoot again.
And then it when it hit me.
I realized that I am like that ballplayer. I felt like I did everything right to successfully show Miss Shiney. We warmed up, she felt great, and I was relaxed walking into the pen.
Miss Shiney’s and my run was a fundamentally correct basketball shot that hit the backboard, bounced around, and fell out, causing us to lose the game.
But that one loss doesn’t define us as players.
Keeping everything in perspective is easier said than done at times, and of course, I am sad we didn’t have the ride I imagined in my head.
But I am more convinced than ever before that Miss Shiney is a talented, athletic, beautiful mare that deserves to be competing at the AQHA World Championship Show. I also know that like athletes worldwide, sometimes you take a good shot and you miss. But you’ve got to be confident enough to take another shot.
I’m looking forward to taking that shot with Miss Shiney.
See y’all at the back gate.

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