Small Fish, Big Ocean: An Irrelevant Girl’s Take On The Equestrian Lifestyle

No matter how hard I may try not to be, I am incredibly irrelevant. No number of followers, designer belt buckles, or WEF tricolors will get me there either. This chick is a nobody from a built-up cornfield in Indiana.

A little over 3 years ago, I made my first trip to the ever so prestigious Wellington, Florida Some might even call it ‘Horsey Mecca’. With many big name barns and riders walking around can make it easy to be overwhelmed. Hundreds of names and faces to get to know can be tough, especially if you have a hard time remembering those kinds of things. Making connections in the Wellington culture is no easy task to take on. But, I was lucky enough to have found a great trainer that helped to set me on a path for making Wellington a regular, comfortable destination for me. Over time, a great foundation was laid for a network that I continue to grow every time I’m down. While I might not be besties with George Morris or Beezie Madden, we’re getting there. I’m a small fish in an ever-evolving, ever-growing ocean.


I took this just a few moments before Mclain sat down next to me!

It wasn’t until WEF 2018 that I really started to feel like the total nobody I was. Strolling past big name riders with such admiration because I could never be like them. I spent my days ringside, snapping photos of my camera and phone of those big name riders, trying to portray that stereotypical equestrian Instagram aesthetic everybody loves so dearly. My irrelevancy was totally on display as I sat alone in the boxes to watch rounds at a height I will never jump. But, as life does, it threw me a curveball. Something that I never dreamed would happen to me, happened… Mclain Ward (yes, THE Mclain Ward) talked to me. I was sitting and watching the 2* Grand Prix when he sat down in the chair one over from me. When he first started talking, I didn’t think he was talking to ME. But when I realized he was, I freaked out a little and put on my cool girl face to answer his question. Essentially, I kept myself together like the badass I’m not. Don’t worry though, the freakout moment came after he was far far away from me.


Those feelings of irrelevancy hit once more after the shock of my encounter with Mclain wore off. Did he ask my name? No. Did he really have any interest in the answer I gave him? Probably not. I was still the same old girl from Indiana with a camera and an Instagram; An itty bitty fish trying to swim upstream. Nobody was asking me to catch ride their sales horses like other juniors my age and no coach was pursuing me because I was talented or showed promise. The most honest and true word to describe my situation was: nobody.

Getting lost in all the glitz and glam of the lifestyle is easy. At first, I just went along to wherever the current took me. Now, I am slowly trying to make an effort to form myself into the horsewoman that I want to be. Though I am still small in the grand scheme of things, I hope that I am able to grow my presence and make an impact someday. Wellington is just one step and here’s to more.


Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & The Ponies

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