This I Believe

Kristen - Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30


In seventh grade, I was a horse back riding fanatic. I enjoyed jumping horses, galloping through fields and leaping over fallen trees while riding. During one of my weekly lessons, I experienced the single most terrifying experience to date in my life. I was trotting around the indoor ring, at the farm I rode at, when the horse I was riding got spooked and began to race around the indoor ring. As hard as I tried pulling the reins tighter, yelling for him to slow down it was fruitless. Tears began to stream down my face as the horse continued to gallop around the ring uncontrollably. After what seemed like an eternity I was able to run the horse into a corner of the ring where he finally stopped. I slid off the horse terrified. I looked at my instructor and said I would never ride that horse again. My instructor looked at me and said, “Never say, never again.”

Naturally, I was forced to ride that horse, his name being Garth, again. I was petrified to mount an animal I felt almost killed me the previous week. I was scared to go over a jump let alone push myself to let the horse go faster then a trot. The thing was, the more tentative I was with the horse the more the horse could tell I was scared and wouldn’t do anything I would try to get him to do. My instructor was frustrated with me, and I was frustrated with myself. Why was I so scared, it was not unusual for horses to get spooked, you just had to know how to react and handle the situation. It was hard for me to recover from the situation.

After a few more weeks of persistence from my instructor I was riding Garth like the incident had never happened. In my next riding competition I took home the champion of the show ribbon, for my age and skill class, riding Garth. It was a proud accomplishment for me. I learned that to be successful you have to keep working at it, or you will never accomplish anything. If my instructor had not stuck with me, I never would have realized the potential that can be reached with persistence. I take that lesson with me everywhere I go. Never be afraid to get back up and try again.