Rider Down | A Lesson In Disappointment, Failure and Crossing That Finishing Line

Cross Country

Rider Down

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you this important message. Yes, I know I promised another installment of my review of The Charge, but this valuable lesson came to mind yesterday and I just have to share it with you.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know my daughter is an avid equestrian. We have been spending a week up at the mountains with an incredible group of riders for two big events in our area. These are called “Three Day Events,” aptly named because each event is three days with each day being a particular part of the event: Dressage one day, Stadium Jumping the next, and Cross Country the last day.

Most of you are probably familiar with Dressage and Stadium jumping, but not everyone has heard of Cross Country where the horse and rider are sent out on a course (the horse never having ridden it before) and they have to jump solid obstacles that are at a certain height for the rider’s level. They jump logs, tables, ditches, run through water, and other mystery obstacles that are pretty scary looking if you ask me.
Cross Country

This is one of the more dangerous events for both horse and rider and there is always an ambulance on site. The eventers are incredible in my eyes, going out on the course with tremendous skill and courage. But very often you will hear “Rider Down” or #Such and Such Down. It is one of the worst feelings as a parent to hear your child’s number be the one called.

Yesterday I watched a girl go through the course (the part I could see) and she was doing some very challenging stuff. She lost a stirrup about half way through yet was able to stay on all the way to the end going over obstacles that were over 3 feet in height. She jumped the very last jump and just couldn’t hold on any longer. She fell off the side where she had lost her stirrup and landed on the ground in a cloud of dirt as the horse dragged her a little until finally she collapsed on the ground as the horse ran off.

It was a very terrifying moment and we all ran over to the rider to see if she was okay as others ran after the horse. It is one of those moments you hold your breath until you see if the person is moving. She was obviously shaken up but she was okay – probably a few bumps and bruises will be her main issue. She was so sad and cried at how cruel it was to have a clean ride so close in her grasp only to lose it right before the finish line.

Personally I felt so sad for her, so I can only imagine how she felt. But then she said “there is always next week…” meaning she will get through the competition next weekend. I had to think how incredible that was, to have such a scary event happen, to fall and fail and then have her attitude be one of …next time I’m going to succeed… What an inspiring message!

That made me think of all of us who have struggled through the ups and downs, the failures, the falls, the devastating incompletes – where we thought we were so close to victory in our business only to have something go wrong.

But one thing is for sure: You will never win, if you don’t get back up and try again.

Being in business for yourself is hard. You have to navigate the course blind very often, you have challenges and scary hurdles you must get over. There are times you want to give up. Times you feel like you can’t do it, that maybe you don’t have what it takes. And then, one day after consistently learning, growing, getting back up, you find yourself crossing the finish line. And oh….victory is so sweet.

Would it be as sweet without all that hardship? I don’t think so.

So embrace your falls, be grateful for your resilience and if you have that moment of “rider down,” get back up and ride again.

Crossing the Finish Line

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
Og Mandino

Bossy Redhead OUT!

Michelle DeMarco
THE Bossy Redhead
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13 thoughts on “Rider Down | A Lesson In Disappointment, Failure and Crossing That Finishing Line”

  1. Very inspiring story, and an awesome lesson for us. How great is it that at such a young age she already gets one of success’ most important principles. As long as she remembers this, she’ll go far!

    1. Thanks Kyle – I agree…I’m so impressed with this girl’s attitude. We all need to be able to get back up after challenges no matter how hard they seem.

    1. Thanks Lisa…this is a scary sport for sure – but nothing good comes without risk right? I learn something new from these awesome girls every day!!!

  2. Great example. I think most of us have told our children or our friends to get up, brush it off, and try again, but it is hard to take this advice. I used to coach high school speech & debate. Every year I told my student they would win some rounds they should have lost and lose some rounds they should have won. It isn’t perfectly fair, but overall it tends to even out. Sometime I feel this is happening in my business. Something that should have gone smoothly or been profitable won’t. But other times I’m surprised when something almost impossible goes well. The difference is that I take the failures personally. I need to be more like the rider you describe and remember there will always be next week.

  3. Wow, very appropriate – you’re injecting life’s lessons of the Charge right here in the blog as you go, I love it! She’s a Winner – because of her attitude. The act of winning that competition didn’t happen today but her defining character of winning did. I’m going through Brendon’s book too – so much comes down to our attitude, not so much about what happens to us – but our attitude in dealing with it 🙂 TY for sharing – she’ll be fine. Maybe a sundae to top the day off?

  4. Hi Michelle,

    Oh boy, what a powerful message, for those of us that have struggled a great deal in our business and those that are still struggling. I know for a fact when I started my own consulting business it was “Rough” (notice a capital R). I felt like I wanted to give up, like I could not do it, but you know what, I was not going to give up, and knew what happened to me “today” will not last forever.

    Just as your story shares, there is always tomorrow, next week, next month and so on, giving up is not an option. Getting better, practicing more, obtaining more knowledge and having a winning attitude is what gets you towards success.

    Great post! Love the story! Keep them coming!

  5. Michelle, thanks so much for sharing this inspiring story! We all fall down in life. It is what you do afterwards that makes the difference. Do we let it stop us, or do we dust ourselves off and keep going? Me, I’m going to shake the dust from my shoes and keep on keepin’ on…

  6. Sometimes when you really enjoy something (such as horse riding) you develop an extra bit of courage that normally isn’t there.

    Partly the reason why people advise you to do something you love.

    She probably will succed the next time.

  7. I think that one thing people constantly miss is that you NEED to fall to grow, and you need to try again. I love reading all the comments on your posts, there are a lot of great people out there with wonderful insights and I love how you spur us all to think.

  8. Very inspiring story. And the moral is: There are always going to be things that come up, get in the way, cause us to stumble; get up, get back on the horse, and preserveer. *If you get knocked down 9 times, get up 10 times and you win*

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