This I Believe

kelly - north bend, Washington
Entered on February 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I have been riding horses for about two years. In that time I have ridden English and western, and learned many things. One of those things is that horse back riding is not for wimps. It requires skill, strength and a special kind of bond. I have acquired all these things from riding.

Why it requires skill is not just as a safety reason, it is to help you perform and look better. You must learn the aids and how to get the horse to do it. If you don’t know what you’re doing something horribly wrong could happen. It’s filled with little mind games. Discipline is essential to over come these mind games. The best mind game is with your horse, you have to get in side their head so they know whose boss. That requires a ton of skill. In English you must look as perfect as possible. Heels down. Sit up. Hands still. Legs still. Look up. Silent signals. Don’t bounce. And don’t forget to smile. These are all the basic skills of English. Now, in western you’ve got a whole new spiel. Heels still have to be down and your legs still, but you can be more relaxed. These are skills not learned over night.

Riding horses in my mind is associated with strength; and for very good reason. When racing against that clock in western you don’t want to get docked points for a bouncy seat. Your legs and rear muscles have to be toned up to the point that you look glued to the saddle. In English you have to have a ton of stomach muscle for jumping and the sitting trot. Dressage is even more, but I won’t even go into that. Without strength you are going to need to work even harder at this sport.

I am a firm believer in people having special bonds with horses. In fact I have a special bond with a horse at my stables. It makes riding all the more better. You want to work with them, and their willing. That bond will get you so far in your horse career. In the ring the bond you have worked for will most definitely shine through. Equitation will be excruciatingly hard to get a good score if you have no bond with your horse.

Did you know that every year more than 100 horses are abused, abandoned or killed. You could help by adopting one into your family. With the right amount of time and enough patience you could gain skill, strength, and a special bond. You also find a little self- confidence along the way. Try it for your self. Remember just because you ride horses does not make you a wimp.