This I Believe

Gina - Wyoming, Rhode Island
Entered on May 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: work
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I believe in hard work. I know that I can accomplish anything if I put effort into it and have enough time to do it. Determination and perseverance are my core values. I can’t stand missed opportunity or wasted potential.

Working with horses has taught me the value of dedication. Both of the Appaloosas who I am currently working with are “problem horses”. My mare Jewel used to buck constantly at the canter. She would get extremely nervous and panic over commonplace things. Now, three years later, she is well-mannered and I can ride her around other horses and livestock without incident. Jewel reinforced the lesson I learned from my favorite horse and biggest success thus far, Sampson Delilah’s Delight.

I received Sampson as a free-lease 4-H project horse. When I first got him, he had not been formally trained beyond being saddle-broke. To make matters worse, he was king of the herd of horses and had very little contact with people. Although I adore him, I must admit that he is simply the most bull-headed, impossible beast I have ever ridden. The first month I had him, I ended up on the ground several times and had major battles trying to put his bridle on him. I was just about ready to get rid of him one night after he refused to let me bridle him for over an hour. He reared, spun and tried to charge at me – it was terrifying! I came in from the barn crying and frustrated. All I wanted was a horse that I could ride and show without struggling and feeling like I was a bad horseman. Something told me to go back out there and try once more. I went back to the barn with a more positive attitude and some apple slices for Sampson. This time I was able to get his bridle on after about fifteen minutes. It was no miracle but it was certainly progress. Once I felt like we were actually getting somewhere, I became very enthusiastic about my free horse. He has improved by leaps and bounds since that first breakthrough. We have really become a team over the past five years. We went from having issues tacking up and walking around to being able to jump three foot high jump courses. It makes me feel fantastic when we win classes against $20,000 horses who have been professionally trained and handled all of their lives! I know that every ribbon we get is hard-earned and well-deserved. Sampson had a lot of potential when I got him, but the six years he went without training wasted precious years of his life as a show horse and made him think that he did not have to respect or obey humans. Despite the disadvantages that Sampson and I started off with when I got him, we managed to win two classes at the Eastern States Exposition 4-H Horse Show and have earned over 25 championships at local competitions. Sampson unfortunately suffered a serious hoof injury this winter, but we are working through it and I know that we will continue to be competitive in the show ring.

Although there are difficult obstacles and challenges in life, working through them makes one stronger and wiser. I am confident that I can overcome hardships and achieve all of my goals as long as I don’t give up. I feel better about myself when I know that I am trying my hardest, and my accomplishments have more worth to me because I know that I sacrificed and struggled to achieve them. I have learned the value of hard work and believe it is a key to success and happiness.