You Were Born

I have known you since the second you took your first breath and became a part of this world. I have loved you from that moment on and I am so thankful for every minute I have spent with you so far. In these four years of your life, I have only learned to love you more and more with everything you do.

I know you are “just a horse” and I may sound crazy to some people, but you will always mean the world to me.

IMG_8012
Photo Credit: Me

When I couldn’t ride your mother anymore, a part of my world collapsed. She has been my pony since I was eight years old, she was my best friend. The day we decided to breed with her was the day my world started to come together again. Breeding horses always means taking a risk. There was no way I could have ever expected you to turn out so perfect.

I was there for your first breath, your first step, your first sprint, your first fall. I wasn’t there for your first jump, your first time carrying a saddle, your first ride. I am sorry. I am sorry for all the things I’ve missed out on, because I wasn’t home. I am sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I always have wanted to.

DSC_0579
Photo Credit: Me

But, now you’re coming here. Now, you’re traveling 6,000 miles to get here, where I will see you and love you every single day. You are a piece of home and so much more than that.

Let me correct myself. You are not “just a horse,” you are my horse.

 

Advertisements

The Realization of Equestrian

Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned.

Over the weekend, I went with my school to a Pony Club mega rally for the first show of 2018. I was so excited. I’ve been riding my horse, Time, for weeks in preparation, and every single time I jumped he had been a saint.

This weekend was different. It shattered any self confidence I had in my riding skills when Time threw me off over a simple cross rail in the warm up arena and bruised my back so much that it currently hurts to breathe as I’m sitting here trying to do my homework after waking up at four am every morning this weekend to get to the show grounds.

I had fallen off just the day before when my horse stopped right in front of a jump. Now, I have to admit that it was my fault that I was in two-point way too early, but that’s besides the point. Not a single scratch was on me, and I shook off the dirt from my helmet, got back on, and finished the course I was set out to do.

Photo Credit: Jerry Mohme Photography

However, that was not the case on Saturday. When I hit the ground, I was certain that if I moved even just an inch my body would shatter into pieces and I’d be sent to the hospital in an ambulance. I couldn’t get up for minutes, until I was rolled onto my back, then I stood up, and I slowly walked foot by foot back to my stall without even getting to do that course.

I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to ride the next day either, and that weeks of training would’ve gone to waste. But the next day I ended up getting back on my horse and started jumping, and though my entire body was shaking every time I thought my horse would refuse a jump, we ended up clearing both courses.

But I guess there’s both pain and pleasure in horseback riding. There’s the sense of accomplishment when you jump a new height or when your horse comes to say hi to you and nuzzles his nose into the palm of your hand when he thinks you have treats. But there’s also the hours of pain whenever you fall off or when a horse steps on your foot. There’s the moments of self-degradation whenever you see a person with better position or better clothes, and the constant thoughts that plague your mind thinking that you’ll never be as good as them.

I’m not going to lie and say that my confidence in my jumping is back, because it’s not, and I don’t think it will be anytime soon (or, at least, until all the bruises go away), but it was a learning experience to some extent.

I’m going to fall off, and probably more times than I wish, and I’ll get back up, and fall and get back up, and that’ll keep happening, but I’ll still continue riding until I no longer can.

Pissage off

If I hear just one more person saying that “horseback riding isn’t an actual sport,” I will literally rip out their eyeballs and stuff them in their ignorant mouths. Maybe not literally, okay, but seriously, figuratively.

via i.pinimg.com

I don’t think I can handle another baseball or golf squirt trying to explain to me that “the horse does all the work,” because all I do is “sit on it.” Well okay, Richard, I don’t really see you doing much exercise when you walk along next to your caddie. Have you ever tried even holding a horse, a living being that weighs like a thousand pounds and usually really isn’t in the mood for cooperation? I bet your baseball bat doesn’t step on your feet ten times a day.

via i.pinimg.com

And how about the fact that riding horses literally consists of trying to control a usually gigantic flight animal that could probably kill you if it really wanted to, and to do so you literally have to use every single muscle you posses in your tired, half dead body? Then try doing that for like an hour a day, without getting 100% frustrated, or, you know, dying.

But you’re right. It’s not a sport. My bad.

The Deadly Truth About Love

I’m not necessarily a person who trusts easily. It takes me a long time to open up to someone, to let them know what goes through my mind or what makes me tick, what makes me happy or sad. But somehow, I manage to put all my trust into a creature who could kill me if they truly wanted to.

I don’t consider myself a daredevil. In fact, I have irrational fears of even the smallest spiders in my room. People question how I manage to be brave enough to get on a 1500 pound horse and ride around an arena galloping over jumps with no anxiety, and honestly I don’t know. The sport is dangerous. Just last year, my roommate had broken her back falling off a horse, and I’ve been close to falling onto a boulder when my horse bucked me out of the dressage arena.

Even then, this didn’t phase me at all. I brushed off the dust, laughed it off, and got back on with no problems. My trust with my horse was still secure even though my luck could’ve been way worse.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

For the past year, since my back surgery, I was constantly warned that one wrong fall would potentially break my back and leave me hospitalized for weeks with the chance I wouldn’t be allowed to ride for a long time.

But I still took the risk, and it’s because my love for the sport was stronger than my fear of pain and injury. Every day I still ride, and every day the fact that horseback riding is considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world barely passes through my mind as I work with my horse.

But that’s the thing about anything everyone loves. Everything is deadly to us in some way and form, and that same exact thing gives some of us life. So horseback riding may be dangerous, but I feel like others can agree with me when I say a rider’s love for their horse is worth devoting their time and trust into these animals despite the threat that floats through the air every day someone steps into an arena.

Scapa’s Journey

There are many things I love in life, and one of those happens to be animals, more specifically horses. I’ve grown up around horses since I was young. Horses are amazing, and if anyone knows me, I talk about horses all the time. My aunt had five of her own horses, and her retired off-the-track thoroughbred named Maggie was one of the first horses I ever learned how to ride on.

Horses have always been a very important part of my life. In sixth grade, my uncle told me that he signed me up for horse camp, and at first I thought “Ha. Very funny, not happening.” But I never would’ve thought that that camp would’ve been an open door that led me to one of my true passions. I never thought I’d be owning my own horse.
It was in April of my freshman year. My aunt came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go to an auction to see baby horses. I knew, logically, I should’ve said no, because I knew we were going to fall in love with one of them and then we’d want to buy a new horse. We already had five horses, but you can never have too many horses… right? Well, neither my aunt nor I believed that because when we left the auction, we already had our hearts belonging to one horse.

His name is Scapa. Right now he’s two and a half years old, but he was just a yearling when I got him. It was less than a month before I was getting my back surgery, and I was not sure if I’d have the chance to ride for another year, but I knew I still wanted to work with horses. My aunt got him for $1500, and over the summer before my sophomore year it was my job to help train him for his first halter class, where he won third place.

Though I’ve only had Scapa for a year and a half, I’ve realized several times that Scapa will most likely live into my forties. While I’m in college, going to law school, and even afterwards, my horse will still be there. Horses will always be there for me, and the fact that as I grow up Scapa will be also, it’s something really special that I’m incredibly thankful for.

People who’ve never been around horses are never really able to understand how much of a treasure it is to form a bond with a horse. Horses have always been my best friends in animal form. Any time I’ve had a bad day, I would go down to the barn and my horse would immediately make my mood happier. From horse shows to camping trips to Ireland, the highlights in my life have always involved horses, and it’ll probably be that way for years to come.

Photo Credit: manetail.com

The Pressure of Dreams

For those of you who don’t know, I wrote a blog a little while ago called “My Best Friend.” The subject of the blog is my horse, Time, who is indeed my best friend. He listens to me, whether he wants to or not, and doesn’t pass judgment.

A couple weeks ago, Time and I participated in a Don Sachey clinic. It was extremely fun, and also very frustrating.

My horse does this thing sometimes, where he locks his neck and basically makes it impossible for me to do anything with him.

It makes me want to stomp my feet and scream. Almost like I’m four years old again.

But that’s beside the point. Riding has always been an escape for me, a time when I don’t have to face the reality that is everyday life. I’ve been riding since I was two, and my dream has always been to go the Olympics with it.

WIth those kind of dreams, it’s hard to escape the pressure that accompanies them.

Read More »

My Best Friend

At the age of two, my parents took me to visit my aunt and uncle at their ranch in Montana. We were sitting on the lawn waiting for them to arrive, and I got up and walked into the pasture. Instead of jumping up to save me, my parents decided to stay put and see what would happen.

I eventually began learning to ride, first in a western saddle at Bar 20 Ranch in Montana, but once we moved to London for two years I switched to an English saddle. It’s been 12 years now, and I’ve gone from barely being able to sit on a horse to jumping 3’9″ fences.

I got my first pony when I was eight, and it was the horse I’d been riding for two or three years at the time. I woke up Christmas morning, at the crack of dawn to the disappointment of my parents, and we opened the presents under the tree. Then my mom suggested we go to the barn to give Razz, the horse, some Christmas carrots. When we got there, my trainer led her out of her stall. She had a red bow stuck to her forehead and streamers around her neck. She was my Christmas present.

I rode Razz until she was too old to continue competing, and then we retired her to my aunt and uncle’s ranch. From there came a couple other ponies, all of whom I loved dearly but outgrew quickly. And then finally I graduated to a horse, Time.

Read More »