Hello again! Before I start documenting the rides I have gotten over the past few days, I think it would be wise to give you all a little background on where I have been up to this point. So here we go!
I started riding about five years ago, but really I have been into horses my whole life. My first horse was a hobby horse named Cocoa.
my grandmother used to have miniature horses that I loved so much as a tiny tot. Their names were Marble, Feather and Sugar.
In fact, I loved the minis so much that I had them come to my front yard for my fourth birthday party. That’s when I had my first fall: Breaking my arm because the girth wasn’t fastened when I got on (And that kids is why you always fasten your girth). We’ll come back to that later.
A few good years later, I went for my first real ride with my mom’s old friend and a humble bay mare named Annie.
I remember my grandmother cheering when I got into the saddle. It was going through my mind that when I sat in the saddle, that I was an official equestrian and I had just transitioned from wannabe to rider.
After that day I didn’t get to ride for a long, long while, but I was convinced that I was now a part of the horse world. I was horse-obsessed more than ever.
I actually started taking lessons when I was in sixth grade at Feather Run Farm. The first horse I ever rode there was Thasia. Mama took me there because she decided to take a drive one day and she drove past my future home away from home. She had heard about it from a saddle fitter who lived down the street from our house in the suburbs.
I believe this photo is from my first lesson. My trainer to this day, Bethany, is holding on to Thasia for me. The funny thing is that the saddle i’m in is the saddle I actually use to teach my six year old brother…
I progressed and rode at Feather Run Farm for about a year. I even got my brother into it. Tia, a Pintabian, and my brother, Robert (there are two bros). Becky is helping him pick Tia’s foot. I made so many memories when I was there that first year. Only one thing was wrong: I lacked confidence and never cantered once when I was there.
After a full year, Feather Run Farm moved. I was devastated.
Luckily, my friend Elizabeth hooked me right up with her instructor, Erika. I started by riding a little Welsh mountain pony called Maggie. Elizabeth is on her bay mare, Ice, in this picture.
At this point I had little to no confidence, even though no fall had happened to me since that fourth birthday party. I guess I was just naturally that way. I hated being scared and it only got worse.
I had always wanted to compete in a horse show my entire life. I was riding a bay Dutch Warmblood named Callie at the time, and I was very excited to try a walk/trot flat class. But I was also dreadfully nervous. On my first show day, I was so nervous I wanted to cry. I got squeezed in between a pony, a jump and the rail, a truck drove down the road, Callie started cantering, and I fell off. At my first horse show. (You can tell by my face.) This is before it happened.
Of course, that only made things worse. I dreaded every lesson, and when I trotted the only thing that would go through my brain was “Don’t fall off, Don’t fall off.” Even trotting was a scary, scary thing for me. I even almost cried when I rode Maggie down a hill at a walk. I was a hot mess.
And yet, I stayed with it. That’s what amazes me. I could have quit at any time, but in my mind that was not an option. I made it through a couple more shows with Callie, a schooling show and a show at Clemson. I had just bought a new show coat and was very proud of it. But I was so nervous during one of my trot-pole rounds, I quit it. I was always overcome in a fit of jealousy for my fellow students who won literally everything.everything’s cool here, except for my face. I can tell the judges are super thrilled.
After Callie, there was a disagreement between my instructor and the owner of the barn, so she agreed to move to Elizabeth’s house, where I began riding her appaloosa, Jeffrey. I was still a nervous wreck, except I was cantering and jumping. Of course, I didn’t want to do that, and I still dreaded lessons, but I did it anyway.
The shows that I did with Jeffrey were good. In fact, I ended up raking in the ribbons. I guess the schooling show judges liked his cute spotty booty.The only problem was that even after a couple years of riding, my nerves limited me to the walk-trot class, competing and often losing to kids that were more than five years younger than me. I always let my age get to me. I hated that I was competing in a class with five year olds but didn’t have enough courage to move up. I was still a nervous wreck in general.he’s so adowwable though.
The worst lesson of my entire life took place in Elizabeth’s small arena, doing a crossrail at a canter that was situated on the short side. I mistaked the turn. I ended up falling off three times. Surprisingly, I was left unhurt, although I got sick afterwards. As we pulled out, there was still sand in my mouth and even my voice had been knocked out of whack.
one day, my mother told me that she heard through Facebook that Feather Run Farm was coming back. I was surprised beyond belief, but I never thought I would be going back.
I was in eighth grade at the time. When they turned us out to the track at school, I sat alone on the bleachers (like I usually did), tore out a spare piece of sketchbook paper and wrote a long, heartfelt letter to Bethany and Becky. I sent her pictures of me riding Jeffrey. I sent it, and I waited. Eventually, mama reached out to them through social media, and I went to go visit. Here I am on Thasia, in the same arena, three years later.
The rest of the story is simple. I have been back at Feather Run Farm for over a year, and my confidence went from complete and total rock-bottom to the best it has ever been. I am riding and owning a green thoroughbred with ease, and jumping verticals…for fun! I know it sounds super easy for most riders, but personally I am very, very happy with where I am at. I will start going over fences next show season, and I will do it proudly and calmly. I have even been completely calm at recent shows, even after taking a spill with Finn. Nerves do not exist anymore, even when I am learning something new.
a ride that I had a couple weeks ago
That’s why I am taking the next step. I am watching myself progress by cataloging my rides. I know that i’m ready to tackle something new and exciting. It’s been, well, a ride, but I would not have missed a single minute! I’m ready to share my riding adventures of the past and future to anyone who wants to listen. I am ready to get started!