Last week, I started seeing posts on Facebook of rider’s receiving their USDF awards for 2020. I knew my Bronze medal must be imminent. I was right. On Thursday evening a little package from Kentucky was sitting in my mailbox. My husband knows how much I’ve been waiting for this day, so he kindly stood at the counter with me as I eagerly opened the package.

The congratulatory sticker was much appreciated.

I expected the package to be smallish, but I was a little worried about how small it was, and once I opened the larger envelope to reveal an even smaller bundle, I grew a bit more concerned. Was it even in there?

I loved all the positivity though!

When I peeled off the congratulatory note and opened the bubble wrap, a very small, plastic case rested in my hand. I stared at it for a moment, and then said huh. My husband peeked over my shoulder, looked at me, and raised his eyebrows in a look that duplicated my own. It was not at all what I was expecting a BRONZE MEDAL to look like. Where was the neck ribbon?

About the size of a silver dollar.

I opened the plastic box thinking that the ribbon was somehow folded beneath the medal itself. Nope. I flipped the medal over and saw that not only does it not come with a multicolored neck ribbon, it’s actually just a pin. Like the lapel pin I already bought and affixed to my show coat.

It’s just a pin.

I actually laughed. I spent ten years and many tens of thousands of dollars for this? When I told the story to my trainer and good friend Wendy, they both laughed as well, and at one point, Wendy quipped, It’s like what you get out of a gumball machine. For two quarters do you get a silver? I laughed so hard that if I’d have had a Coke, it would have come out my nose.

U.S. track star Allyson Felix shows off her three Olympic gold medals while posing for photographs.

I could stand here and say I wasn’t expecting much, but I’d be lying. I pretty much anticipated my medal looking a lot like an Olympic medal. I wanted a fancy ribbon, and I wanted to be able to take that see if it’s real bite.

Ultimately, the petite size of the medal doesn’t diminish the pride I feel in having earned it. Even if Speedy can’t wear it around his neck for a photo op, I am still immensely proud to be one of fewer than 10,000 riders to have ever earned one. That I did it with my endurance-turned-dressage Arabian makes me even more proud.

At least now when I get my Silver medal, I’ll know what to expect!