Siena was in her first horseback riding competition yesterday. I was nervous about the whole thing because she is only six and just started riding three months ago and loves horseback riding. I didn’t like the idea of her being in a competition and being judged. What if she didn’t do well and that discouraged her? Especially since she didn’t seem to be buying any of my pep talks about how it’s not whether you win or lose but that you do your personal best. “No, Mom”, she would say. “I don’t want to lose.” I was so afraid that this competition would ruin something that was so near and dear to her heart, especially since we found out that she would be competing in the advanced group with kids who are older then her. Some of them are ten years old!
Well, I need not have worried. Turns out that Siena is a fierce competitor! She feels at home on Amapola (the horse she usually rides) and it shows! It was actually pretty incredible to watch. On a horse, Siena is focused, determined and completely confident in herself. She kicked Amapola with such strength and determination to make her gallop faster that the judges and the audience all gasped in awe and then laughed. As a judge later told me “Wow, that girl has courage and heart.” We were proud and amazed. She also won second place, which is really amazing given how young she is and how recently she began riding.
Siena seemed unfazed by the whole thing. She loved it and wants to compete again as soon as possible. She also said afterwards “I never want to go back to Boston. I want to stay here and ride forever.” I must say, yesterday was one of those days where I felt really good about our decision to bring our kids to Colombia. After only three months here, Siena is a different kid. Her confidence has sky rocketed, not just because of the horseback riding but also because of the Spanish. She is so proud that she can speak Spanish now and she clearly relished her role as the horseback rider. And all the “pretty blond” comments probably don’t hurt either (although they make me cringe). Whatever the reasons, it’s good to see her shine!