How many ten-year-olds say they're going to ride for their country and mean it? Not many. Most don't even know what they're going to do the next day. However, some know exactly what they're working towards and where they're going.
That ten-year-old was Sarah Lockman - who told her trainer she would become a professional rider, train horses, and someday be a team rider, because when you're ten, anything is possible.
Sarah's shared a dream that many young athletes have, but the difference between her and the average elementary-aged kid was while they were onto the next big aspiration, Sarah's was busy putting her words into motion and getting serious.
PC USA Dressage
Can you imagine committing to a career you're passionate about before middle school, then using that passion for staying motivated through all the sacrifices? Most of us can't.
From an early age, Sarah learned one of those sacrifices would be her lifestyle - because once she put her words into motion, it became anything but "normal."
Moreover, it didn't change just for her, the lifestyle of the entire family shifted because the career she fixated on demanded a high level of time and energy from everyone.
Her parents poured themselves into her passion and talent by deciding to homeschool Sarah from elementary school until she graduated high school. Why? Because it allowed Sarah to condense her schoolwork into the most effective time possible so she could continue working with her trainers and traveling to horse shows.
That also meant missing out on school events, spending time with friends under the Friday night lights, and spending long summer days doing nothing but soaking up the sun.
However, when you're crazy passionate about something, what some people might view as a sacrifice, Sarah and her parents saw as the necessary next step towards reaching their ultimate goals.
If you asked her today, Sarah would say her most significant 'sacrifice' would be time and 'normal' life, but really, she doesn't even consider that a sacrifice.
"To me, it's a privilege that I can do this and make a living doing it." - Sarah
It all comes back to priority. From a young age, Sarah focused on things that don't cross the average girl's mind. She thought about her career in riding, what she was learning from her coach, and continuing her education. Even when she had a spare minute, she spent it sitting in the arena, watching her coach teach other riders, read articles, and more time in the saddle.
Its passion that's spurred her success and a phenomenal work ethic that's helped her achieve so much.
Her drive to be the hardest worker in the room is why she's a successful trainer, rides professionally for Summit Farms, and competes all over the world with First Apple, a KWPN Stallion owned by Gerry Ibanez of Summit Farms.
Dressage isn't about the seconds you spend competing; it's about the struggle & sacrifice you made to get there.
Sharing some of her hardest moments, Sarah pointed out just how differently she spent her twenties compared to her peers'. While they were landing their first corporate job, hitting up happy hour after a 9-5 job or spending weekends on a beach, Sarah was juggling multiple clients and their personalities, managing employees and keeping track of 50 horses in training. She was working 16-18 hour days and often didn't have the energy to go home at the end of the day. Instead, she seriously considered finding a comfortable place in the barn to sleep.
She was exhausted, and it was during those years she asked herself, "Is this really worth it?"
But in her heart, she knew it was and made it a point to work for it. She knew if she could survive another day at the demanding pace of a professional equestrian, it would someday pay off.
Through it all, she never lost touch with who she was. There are many industries, especially when you're a top athlete, that try to force people into a mold. Sarah began to notice how the industry expected riders to dress and act a certain way - but that wasn't for her.
She's still the girl next door you see cleaning a horse stall, waking up at 3 am to take her horse to a show, pulling the horse trailer with her giant truck and staying back to help her groom pack up at the end of the day.
She's also still the girly girl who loves getting her nails and hair done, takes looking nice to an entirely new level, and has a fabulous fashion model side.
Sarah is far from basic.
Doing things her way made her the confident woman she is today and that confidence directly translates into her work as a rider and trainer.
Sarah explained, "... having confidence in your training style, what you're doing and really believing in yourself [is incredibly important] because some days you can be on top of the world, but the next day you can't make a 20-meter circle."
When talking about dressage, she said: "It's a very humbling sport, and I think it's really important to have those core values and your core self and believe in yourself no matter what's happening on the outside."
We couldn't agree more.
From Sarah's perspective, the world is her runway, and she's living proof that there's more than one way to achieve your goals. Youcan do things your way and still do very well.
After winning individual gold and team silver medals this summer at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Sarah returned home to get ready for her next big career move. She and Apple are gearing up to train and compete in Wellington, Florida for a total of six weeks this winter.
For a short time, she's going to slow down to enjoy the little things, such as spending quality time with all of her animals, including two adorable tiny dogs and visiting with her friends.
At Anique, we're honored to support hundreds of exceptional female athletes, who, like Sarah, not only dominate in their sport but take ownership of their individuality and use it to spur their career forward.