This I Believe

gabrielle - west greenwhich, Rhode Island
Entered on January 14, 2008

As I have matured, I am beginning to recognize that independent of my parents, I am beginning, to form my own beliefs based upon my own experiences and my own passions. It is no secret that I have a passion, a mania, and a near obsession with horseback riding and horsemanship. It is from horsemanship that I have found guiding principles, which I believe are forming my long-term personality. Therefore, here is what I have come to believe.

I train my horses by using natural methods that replicate a horses existence in the wild. This means that I must put myself in the shoes of the horse so that I can understand how the horse wants to be treated in order for me to get my horse to do perform in they I want it to perform. Horses are not unlike humans. They respond to equality, respect, dedication, responsibility, hope, faith, and love.

I believe in equality and fairness for all, opportunity for all, and freedom for all. In horsemanship, I must give my horse equality so that the horse will respond to me with trust and confidence. If I exhibit superiority, than my horse only becomes my subject and will only respond with resentment. I have learned with training my horses as an equal that that respect is returned with cooperation and a willingness to please. In applying this principal to my life, I believe that in treating each other as equals that this promotes healthy opportunities, friendships, and a unity among us to achieve common and noble goals.

Horsemanship has taught me respect. This respect comes in many forms. I have learned respect for the power of a horse. With respect comes responsibility. Clearly, at my size, I am no match for a 1300-pound horse, but because I have learned to respect and treat my horse with respect , I have earned its trust and confidence. As it relates to everyday experience, the respect we give to others earns cooperation and unity of purpose. In short tolerance for others opinions, others living habits, and others beliefs makes us endure as a society.

Riding teaches me responsibility. I must always be prepared to care for the needs of my horse. This includes, grooming, feeding, exercising, and attending to the hygiene of my horse, which must be done on a daily and routine basis. Further, I must be attentive to expanding my knowledge of the various developments in the horse world in an effort to protect their safety. Horses must eat at the same time each day and their food must be measured. One must be watchful for any signs of distress in a horse on a daily basis. They must be turned out daily and ridden routinely to protect their health. It is easy to see that horse ownership instills responsibility. I apply this principal to my life by being responsible to my parents, my religion and my academics. In addition, it is important to be responsible in our friendships, that means simply looking out for one another.

Finally, I have learned hope, faith, and love. The hope comes from the promise that a horse shows in being responsive to my training. From that, I have learned that hopes and dreams are the fertilizer of my life. By demonstrating faith and trust in my horse, my horses have achieved more than any trainer would have expected. Hope is belief that anything can become reality. Trust is the reliance on the intensions or abilities of another, I know that when I treat my horses respectfully and are responsive to their needs, I can trust in their performance and my hopes for their success can become a reality. The trust I share with my friends has been nurtured from the lessons of trust acquired with daily experiences with my horses.

It is amazing how a simple hobby has given me a foundation and a path filled with moral standards and a set of values, which I believe, will endure life long. I forgot to mention the most important thing that my horses have taught me. They have taught me how to love. From them I have learned tenderness, affection, concern for others, personal attachment, enthusiasm, and kindness. It is those traits that I believe are preparing me for a responsible place in this society.