Feeling the wind whip across your face as you race along an open field. Your friends and horses racing to see who can reach the finish line first. Only equestrians know and understand this feeling. It is the feeling of freedom and the power of a partnership forged on trust.
Horses can be large creatures, made up of muscle, bones, and big hearts. It only takes one ride to fall in love. For me, it started with a pony ride at the community Easter celebration. One of the local farmers brought a pony and two of their horses for the kids to ride. After my parents waited in line for hours, watching child after child get down crying, their first thought was “Oh no… Is she going to cry like that too?” What they didn’t know is that putting an 18-month old me on the back of a horse would change my life, and theirs!
When my turn came up, the pony was standing there waiting for me to walk forward. Instead, I let the child behind me go first. Why? I wanted to ride the big horse! The pony hadn’t taken 5 steps from the rope before the other horse came around with a small child crying hysterically. They took the helmet and put it on my head. Of course it didn’t fit at all, so they stuffed it with paper towels.
After hoisting me up into the saddle, my parents held their breath. We went around once, and then twice, and then around again before coming to a stop right where we began. The woman running the pony rides looked at me smiling in the saddle, she looked back at my parents with a solemn face and said, “Oh… You’re in trouble… She’s got it bad!”
After that, if there was a chance to get on a pony, I took it! My mother and I always took trips to Pennsylvania together. During one trip, we paid for a horse and buggy ride. The horse I chose looked just like Black Beauty. About halfway through the ride, the gentleman driving handed the reins to me. He gave me basic instructions on how to drive a buggy, but other than that we just sat in peace enjoying the ride. Every time we went to the Amish auctions, I managed to drag my parents to the horse tent where I would pet every horse that lowered their head enough.
I was so horse obsessed, that when I turned 7, my parents bought a small farmette next to a horse farm. It turned out that the owner of that farm, gave riding lessons. I learned to ride and before I knew it, I was entering in the local 4-H horse shows. I watched all the big girls with their horses ride around the ring while I sat on Gator, the bay Tobiano paint pony I rode, just waiting for my turn. It was a leadline class and there were a lot of other girls in the ring.
We went around, and around before the announcer asked us to line up in front of the booth. We must have sat only been sitting for 5 minutes but it felt like forever! The started with 6th place and went up to 1st place. After reaching 2nd and not hearing my number, I assumed that it was over until the next time. Boy was I wrong!!! They read out my number and we walked up to receive my ribbon. It was only the start of my horse showing career, but more important than that was the start of my passion for the outdoors!
Until next time!!!
-Kat & Beni