This I Believe

Aelin - Irasburg, Vermont
Entered on November 30, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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“I Believe…”

Since the first breath that I ever took, my soul has been bound to horses. When my soul makes contact with a horse, it can’t be pulled away. The horse and I become one, moving together and teaching each other with every aid and every feeling. The horses take me away from my life here on earth and take me to a place where everything is perfect. My body and mind relax allowing me to sort out thoughts and think about my life. As I relax an unexplainable feeling comes over me. I guess you can call it happiness, but it’s more than that, it’s a combination of feelings that makes me smile. The longer that I ride the more that I think, and the more I believe that horses and humans were united for a reason.

My first horse was a five year old thoroughbred mare that was hardly broke. She had recently recovered from neglect and had very little trust in people. For years I struggled to gain her trust and her friendship and simultaneously my horse worked to help me learn important qualities for living life. The problem was that neither my horse nor I knew each other’s intentions.

For four years, my horse and I trained to learn the discipline of Eventing and persisted on helping each other. Every day, we rode figures together in the arena, me trying to teach her balance and coordination, my horse trying to teach me that success is only a result with patience and partnership. My communication to my horse was progressing faster than my horse’s communication to me until one day during the summer of 2003 when the communication became equally mutual. I was becoming frustrated while I was teaching my horse how to accomplish yet another figure because she wasn’t doing it correctly. I became more aggressive with my aids because I knew she knew how to do it and I was determined to find success before dark, which was approaching quickly.

I finally just stopped, dropped the reins, and cried with frustration. I sat in the middle of the arena wanting to give up, but there was a nagging voice that said, “Success is only a result with patience and partnership”, and for some reason I listened. I sat up, dried my eyes, picked up the reins and started over. This time, though, I softened everything; my aids and my mind allowing that voice to continue to communicate to me. As I began working the figure once more, I relaxed everything and allowed the horse to move freely beneath me, and soon there was success.

Every day since that first day that I heard that nagging voice, I have allowed the horse beneath me to communicate and teach me. Today, I am a trainer breaking and teaching young horses the discipline of riding and every time that I sit astride a horse I carry a simple phrase with me in the back of my mind, “Success is only a result with patience and partnership.” Horses and humans weren’t united out of coincidence, but for a purpose. They were united in order to teach each other what each other didn’t already know or realize. They just need to learn to listen to each other.