This I Believe

Emily - West Lafayette, Indiana
Entered on February 23, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

The Equus caballus

I grew up on a farm in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. My farm was filled with many beautiful horses: blacks, bays, sorrels and grays. These magnificent creatures have taught me just how satisfying life can be. Whether I was picking myself up off the ground or mending my tattered confidence, they were there, my horses, my friends. I believe that horses help to develop youths in the areas of mind, body and spirit by teaching their mounts valuable lessons.

When I was a little girl my mom always let me ride her old horse Honey. Honey was a jet black Tennessee Walking Horse. She was as big as a freight train but as gentle and loving as my favorite old teddy. Anywhere that I rode, I was mounted on Honey, big, black, trustworthy Honey.

One fall day, my mom and I went to visit my neighbor Candy. We decided to take a ride while the grown-ups were talking. I picked Classy as my mount. We rode left out of the driveway and followed the gravel road towards the woods. Suddenly, Classy let out three hard bucks and left me lying in the briary ditch. With thorn filled skin and a bruised heart, I picked myself up off the ground and remounted the frisky mare. Before it was finally time to go home, Classy had dropped me in that same ditch three times. I said harshly to my mom, “I hate that horse!”

Three days later, I went to the barn to do my morning chores. As I entered, I spotted a big pink bow on the front of a stall. My family had displayed, “Happy Birthday” above the door. My small eleven year old body stretched to peer over the tall door and tears began to roll down my face; it was Classy. Happily, my mom called out, “It’s your first horse Emmy!” I was so angry at my parents for buying me a horse that I could not even ride! That old mare constantly racked my brain and shattered my self-confidence. As the years passed, I began to figure out how to overcome our obstacles.

As my mare and I grew older we came to realize that all that fighting got old fast. With a new outlook on life, Classy and I grew closer and stronger as a team. We competed in many shows and usually placed in the ribbons. Riding became my escape from the world of stress and anxieties around me. I was a happier, stronger person because no matter what, I always had my horse to see me through.

In my nineteen years with my beloved horses, I have learned so much. Classy showed me that persistence pays off; whether it overcoming my greatest fear or just getting back up after a hard fall. Classy was my first horse, but more important, she was my first friend. She helped me to develop my mind, body and soul; sound, strong and happy. This I believe.