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Jumping off the Pendulum: In Search of a Balanced Life With Horses

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

Posted by Paige Lockton-Wilde on November 13, 2012 at 9:30am

***NOTE: This is an old blog from 2012, lost in Internet history, that I felt worthy of revisiting for new subscribers to have a sense of my history. I will follow up with an update: Woman on a Mission.

I am a 42 year old mother of three boys from the small town of Rutherglen, in Northern Ontario. I grew up on a horse’s back, graduated Pony Club as an ‘A’, brought home a team bronze in Eventing at the NAJYRCs, was a reserve for the 1992 Olympics and a short or long listed member of the Canadian 3-Day Eventing Team from 1990 – 2002. I always assumed I would be a professional in the horse industry at the top end of the sport for life. Well, we all know the funny saying about ‘ass’uming and most of us have learned that life rarely turns out to be the fairy tale we imagined! I have discovered that princes are in the eye of the beholder (I have 4 of them!) and that any life touched by the generosity of horses and surrounded by the good people who love them, is a privileged life indeed!

I recently spent a morning rediscovering treasured belongings that have been mothballed and packed away in an old tack trunk for the past ten years. In the trunk, the custom made show blankets in Lockton Farms navy and royal blue, the immaculate white bandages and the brass fittings turned dull with age, all have stories to tell. They represent some of my greatest memories: striving for excellence, a youthful sense of optimism, camaraderie, a sense of single-minded purpose and a shared direction with my peers. All of these memories feature my mother playing various roles as groom, driver, confidant and later, as Nana chasing my first son Zack around horse trials in the Southern States. And yet this trunk full of beautiful memories has been shelved under a set of stairs for ten long years. Anyone who has lived by Claude Thomas Bissell's motto; "Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible", will not be surprised to learn that my trunk also contains memories of great pain, risk and tumult. If you are a Three Day Event rider you might also expect to find death, catastrophic life-changing injuries and near bankruptcy lurking at the bottom of this musty, old trunk. The fact is, that when you put yourself out on such a long and shaky limb in such a high risk sport, you open yourself up to these things. I have come face to face with different versions of this harsh reality and left the sport twice to seek balance, yet despite all of that, I still found myself excitedly packing my old trunk for another fresh start.