Annise Montplaisir reflects on the first half of her AQHA internship.
By Annise Montplaisir, spring 2015 AQHA intern
I always marvel at how quickly time flies by. When I first moved to Amarillo for my AQHA communications and publications internship, I was keenly aware of the five- month committment that stretched out before me. Becoming homesick was a concern, as this was the farthest I’ve ever been away from home for a significant amount of time. With that in mind, I was already looking forward to the first weekend in March, when I would have the opportunity to visit home and compete with the North Dakota State University hunt seat team at an IHSA show in Crookston, Minnesota. I couldn’t wait to see my family, friends, dogs, beloved equine pals and teammates again.
But I needn’t have worried. During what felt like the blink of an eye, 55 days have passed, and my brief trip home lies a mere eight days from now.
On my very first day of work here at AQHA, the song, “These Are the Days” by Keith Urban popped into my head. One of the verses goes like this:
These are the days we will remember
These are the times that won’t come again
The highest of flames become an ember
And you gotta live ‘em while you can
Internships are a time to discover yourself – what and who you want to be, and how you’ll get there. Not only do they offer extensive real-world work experience, but they teach you to stand on your own two feet and test how you handle the world by yourself.
With that being said, it’s easy to focus on where you want to go rather than living in the moment. I’m often guilty of this, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a planner. I have a vision of where I see myself in the future and the path I will take to get me there. This can be a blessing and a curse. Without goals, dreams and vision, a person remains static. But if you kick yourself into overdrive and think of nothing but where you strive to be, you’ll never be satisfied with where you are in the present.
Most horse people can relate to this. As children riding our first horse or pony, we aspire to grow up and be like the “big kids” at the horse show. We want to jump from A to Z without going through the entire alphabet of learning experiences. But suddenly, you are the big kid, and you realize that life isn’t about being the top dog at shows. It’s the moments that got you to where you are – the new equine partners, milestone training achievements, days you hit the dirt, success and even defeat in the show ring.
Reflecting on the past 55 days, it blows my mind how much I’ve learned in such a short period of time. Aside from the practical career experience gained from interning with AQHA, I know a lot more about myself. I’ve realized the importance of savoring every moment, whether it’s meeting a new friend, learning a new skill at work or taking a lesson from a different riding instructor.
As the date for my short visit home approaches, I’m still extremely excited. I’ve been working hard on my riding and I’m going to represent my team to the best of my ability at the horse show. And absence really does make the heart grow fonder – I’ve never appreciated the support of my family and friends quite as much as I do now when they’re 1,000 miles away.
However this is just another event that will come and go, just as these past 55 days have, and the next eight days that stand between me and my visit home. And who knows what can happen in those eight days. It’s all about what you make of it.
“Take ‘em by the hand and live your life… don’t let ‘em all fly by.”