This I Believe

Lara - Palatine, Illinois
Entered on May 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I have always loved riding horses. There is no doubt about that. When my family would go up to camp during the summer, I would spend the entire time by the barn whether I was signed up for a lesson or not. I knew every horse’s name and I was more than willing to list them off to anyone who would ask me to. Some people may have considered it to be an obsession, but I’ve always thought of it to be my passion.

Finally, at the beginning of my freshman year in high school, I began riding horses at home. From paddock boots, a helmet, brushes and grooming supplies, chaps, breeches and hunter coats, to my very own saddle and horse, my parents spent thousands of dollars just to allow me to follow my passion. With a new horse came more lesson time and the chance to compete in competitions. After about two and a half years of riding on a weekly basis, I was about to compete in my second horse show.

My mom had called my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close friends to invite them to come watch me compete. It was nice know I had been supported by these very important people. Furthermore, knowing this intensified my nerves even more (if it was possible). In addition to my anxiety, the horse I had owned for a year and a half at the time wasn’t necessarily the most well behaved. Adam was known to buck, kick, and run whenever he pleased regardless if I was riding him or not. Doesn’t this sound like a recipe for disaster?

During my round, that disaster occurred. Adam had one of his episodes and I was thrown off of his back like I was in a bull-riding competition rather than a hunter-jumper show. I remember my grandfather having a few choice words to say after being thrown off for the second time that day. I knew it was out of love and care for me, but they may have seemed offensive to everyone else at the show. Nevertheless, it ended up where I had gotten a concussion. Along with not being able to watch TV, stare at a computer screen, or drink caffeine, I wasn’t able to do any physical activity, including horseback riding.

During this time where I had taken a break from riding, my grandfather passed away from a sudden heart attack. Because of this, my physical condition wasn’t the only thing that was keeping me from getting back on a horse again. Now, I was experiencing a mental feud as to whether I should ride again because my grandfather had told me not to. However, after a six-month break from riding, I got back on my horse and immediately believed that my grandpa would have wanted me to continue riding because it was my passion and that I shouldn’t give up on something I truly love because of a small bump in the road.