what happened to riding? what happened to the love of the sport, the thrill of winning, the pain of defeat but knowing that you love it too god damn much to give up? i had everything that i had and that i sacraficed for ripped out from under me this past summer, and i cant count the number of times that all i wanted to do was sit down, sell all my stuff, get thousands of dollars for it, and quit. but i never forgot that 6 yr old girl that i started out as who’s only love in life was riding, so i didnt give up. i’ve chosen the path that says “fuck everyone else… this is YOUR life. and you will do what makes you happy.” riding makes me happy, and i refuse to give up on that. but then i see people at these big shows who bring 2 grooms with them for 1 horse, show up 10 minutes before they go in the ring to ride their class, and their horse is braided, brushed, tacked up, was fed their breakfast, and cost their parents nearly as much as my house cost mine, and they get on… and they win. but that’s not the heartbreaking part. it’s the fact that before they go in the ring, most of them won’t hug their horses in fear of getting their white shirt a little dirty. they don’t thank their horse when they get off. and i can bet that if someone gave them a 17 year old quarter horse, whos bloodlines wern’t great, they would have no idea what to do with it because it didnt frame perfectly, move off their leg effortlessly, jump 3’6 like there was nothing in front of them, or cost more than most cars. but you know what? that old QH would mean more than anything to a little girl who loved to ride because she loved the feeling of a partnership… not because she loves the feeling of being the best in the country, or cares about different coach’s opinions of her. give a horse crazy middle-class kid a 500 dollar pony that you bought from the auction and it’s like you’ve given them some sort of heaven. why can’t it be like that anymore?
i love riding because it is riding. and i will ride anything that someone puts in front of me, because there is nothing better than looking down and seeing two ears twitch. i will ride a 3 year old OTTB, risk my life for it, but find the minor concussions i get worth it as long as the horse improves. i’ll get on a 26 year old paint and walk/trot because, even though that doesnt benefit my riding skills very much, i know that a working horse is a happy horse. i’ll ride an 11 year old Dutch in the 3’6 junior medals, and win graciously because i know that where i am now is all thanks to the horses i’ve ridden for the past 13 years; horses that cost significantly less than my hand-me-down 2004 Chevy Tahoe.
bring me back to the days where half the fun of showing was getting ready for them, and skipping school on the occasional friday so that you could braid your own horse 8 times before you got it right. my fingers used to bleed by the time i deemed it “perfect.” bring me back to being a “barn rat,” cleaning 8 stalls, riding 4 horses, then going home too tired to eat dinner. bring me back doing your homework on the bus because 10 minutes after you stepped out of the shower, you’d be a starfish on your bed passed out - legs aching, arms tired, feet sore, but heart full. bring me back to what it really means to be an equestrian… too many people in this sport have forgotten.
tagged as: horses, equestrian, equitation, big eq, snobby, rich,
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