In my center desk drawer in my office at the farm, I keep a rejection letter from The Dressage Foundation. It was from the first time that I’d applied for the Carol Lavell Prize, and it went to two other people that year. I keep it because of the handwritten note from Carol herself on the letter: “High performance means never give up, never give in.” I’ve applied for her grant three times, and for other grants ranging from small to $25,000 at least 10 times at this point, and I have yet to receive one.

I celebrate each rejection.

Not because I wouldn’t like the money. Of course I would; it would be awfully nice to get a little help in this expensive sport. But each time I am told no, each time I am told that I am not good enough, that I lack the qualities they’re looking for, it only strengthens my resolve to prove them wrong.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!