One of the most satisfying things for me as a horseback rider is when I make a breakthrough with the horse I’m riding.

Over the past four years, I’ve constantly ridden the same horse. Though I would never give up riding that horse until graduation comes, there wasn’t that much I could continue learning on him. One, he was too perfect of a horse and, two, I already knew every little aid, tick, and everything else there was to know about him, good and bad.

Photo Credit:

But, in November, 2018, I took up the opportunity to ride a second horse, one completely opposite from my slow and steady, older horse I’ve been riding all throughout high school.

And riding him has been a pain, but also I’ve become such a better rider in the process learning to ride a horse completely different.

There were days when I’d get off with sore muscles and complete frustration and dissatisfaction. Days when I had to fight with him just to get him to walk.

Last Saturday, however, I had a breakthrough. Though there were the moments when I had to fight him through the walk, there were only two of them versus ten or twenty. It was the best ride I ever had on him. I got him to easily canter from a halt, canter over ground poles, and do most of those things without any protest.

I hope I’m not jinxing my improvement with him by writing this, but I hope all the future rides are just as successful as this one or else I’ll just keep learning.

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.

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.

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 »

Harley, My Partner in Crime

Most of you know the wonderful dog that can always be found on campus- Harley. Harley  is one of my favorite pets on campus, but there is another animal at OVS that I treasure very much, Harley. The horse Harley of course, but most of you probably had no idea that there were two Harley’s on campus.  Well my Harley is quite adorable (just saying).
Harley after a good day of riding
Almost everyday, I go down to the barn and ride Harley. He always pops his head up out of this stall when I walk by. He always has his tongue sticking out a little (last year he had to have some teeth pulled out after I found one in his stall). I love to hug Harley. I don’t know why, but I just love to hug him. He is such a sweetheart. Read More »

The might of Horses

Today, I finally did something that I have been wanting to do at OVS for almost a year. I went Horse Back riding.

Upon arriving I was told I would be riding Lexi, the gentlest and easiest of all the horses.  That’s good of course, except she is HUGE.  Well not huge but pretty big.

While in the stall with the horse, brushing it and picking its hooves it really donned on me as to how big they are.  Although we claim to control them once you are on them or in the stalls with them, they can do whatever they want and you can’t stop them.

Once in the Arena and all mounted up it was time to walk.  Luckily Lexi IS the gentlest horse there so with a “HIGH HO SILVER AWAYYY” we were off at slow walk.

There really is something special about horse back riding.  For one only a hundred years ago or so they were the only means of fast transportation, and back then everyone knew how to ride.  Now its such a small part of our lives its quite sad.

It is wonderful that OVS still puts so much time and consideration into these powerful animals and offers such an incredible program to learn how to ride.