This week marks 4 years since I judged at the AQHA World Show, 4 years since I stood in a tiny curtain walled room and gave my reasons to one other person, 4 years since I spent a week in Oklahoma City learning the ins and outs of the big show world.
4 years ago today was the middle of the best year of my life.
Being on a judging team was the best decision I ever made. I learned to put my thoughts into words, to do so quickly and to memorize my thoughts so that I may tell others the way that I saw things, the way I wanted one horse to stack up against another and my reasons why. I met the best and brightest people, had teammates that I will never forget, coaches that taught me more than they will ever realize, not just about judging but about life. I learned how to speak in a crowd, to a camera, to another individual. I traveled the US, got to speak with industry greats, and see some of the best horses in the world compete.
None of the things would have been possible if I hadn't decided to take the huge risk of leaving my little town in South Georgia and moving 1300 miles away. In essence it was a quick decision now that I look back on it, one that was the best that I could have ever made. Starting out new in different town where you know absolutely no one is something I would recommend for everyone. You learn about yourself, you learn about who you are and what you want to be. You find your place and you find friends that fit you, ones that aren't just your friends because your parents know their parents. My quick decision to leave Georgia was an easy one, yes there times I was homesick, times I cried, and times I had to make tough decisions all alone. But that was the time I grew up, the time I figured out that this life isn't always easy, but it is beautiful.