Horses Are the Gateway to Happiness

Kirsten - Lexington, Kentucky
Entered on December 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Horses Are the Gateway to Happiness

Boom, boom, boom, the sound of horses hooves hit the ground, while dirt soars into the air behind them. The horses body moves in a majestic way, their front feet reach for the ground as their back legs thrush their body forward. Their colorful saddle pads blow in the wind as their rider smacks them with a crop, urging them to move faster. The horses round the last turn, the crowd begins to cheer in excitement as the announcers voice booms over the speaker. As the horses cross the finish line mingled together, some of the crowd cheers for their winnings others look saddened by their losses, but what the winners and losers have in common is the reason why they come to the racetrack to watch theses beautiful animal race; money. Unlike most spectators however, I go Keeneland because of my love of horses. Sure, I love to win money but I mainly enjoy the sport purely because I believe that horses are the gateway to happiness.

Ever since I was a little girl I have always had a love of horses. When I was younger, every year my father would take me to the carnival. When we got there my father would always ask me, “What would you like to do first?” I would always reply, “Pony rides!” I remember how exultant I was when my father would raise me up onto the pony. My eyes would glow in excitement as the pony walked around and around while my father held onto me tightly. The feeling of riding was breathtaking to me. It was reminiscent of standing on top of a vast mountain admiring the view below. When it was time to dismount I was saddened, but then I would always ask my daddy, “Can we do that again? Please!” and he would always reply, “One more time, sweetie. I never understood though why I was found of horses. To this day, I am still not completely sure, but I have grasp some insight to the question and one special horse named Lance has helped me.

He stood out like giraffe among a pack of lions in the midst of the other horses. His body was consumed with thick, smooth, black hair with little spots of white around his hooves. He stood around 14 hands, not much taller than an automobile. His mane stood straight up on his neck almost mowhawk like and it always had burrs matted into it. His eyes a light shade of brown almost almond like. When he cantered, his strides were short and choppy not long and drawn out like what is accepted. Even with all of his imperfections, something still drew me to Lance. He seemed like a started art project, he was trained but nowhere near complete. I knew that I had much to teach Lance but at the same time Lance had much to teach me about the magical reason why horses bring joy to my life.

The first time I ever rode Lance , he threw his head down, tripped numerous amounts of times, and refused jumps. All I could think to myself was, “What have I gotten myself into?” Horses have always brought me happiness and this horse is just causing me frustration. I knew that Lance would need a great deal of work. Every day during the summer I would drive out to the barn to ride Lance. We would spend about an hour working on countless boring exercises to kick his bad habits. After a couple of weeks he started showing improvements. By the end of the summer, he was a entirely different horse. It felt amazing to see hard work paying off. Lance taught me a very important lesson. With hard work and perseverance, success and happiness will come. Horses challenge a person every day. They test to see if someone is strong enough and persistent enough to handle them. And if the person is they will be estatic.

One day back in September life didn’t seem as though it was going well for me. I received a B on a paper I had spent a week on, my friend was angry at me, and the list went on and on. So, I decided to go ride my horse Lance. Riding Lance was even worse than my day. He refused jumps left and right, he ran me into a fence post, and even tried to buck me off. I was so furious, I jumped off him and started screaming at him. It was as though all of my frustrations that I had bottled up inside were being released, on poor Lance. After I had turned him out to pasture, in disgust he turned around as I was leaving and nuzzled me. I just stood there dumbfounded. I thought to myself , “I just yelled at this horse and he is not mad at me? If I were him I would never speak to me again.” It was like the whole incident hadn’t even happened. From that point on I knew another reason why I enjoy spending time with horses. They have beautiful, forgiving, unconditional love that will never stop working. Unlike most humans, horses will never stop loving a person no matter what happens. I feel as though once a horses love is gained, it can never be lost.

I often find myself sitting at my desk stressing out over school, my job, or other countless worries I have. For me im always worrying. But the moment I put my foot in the stirrup, every worry that I had fades into dust. Whenever Im feeling overwhelmed with my life, the moment I step into the saddle, I feel as if I don’t have a care in the world. My anxiety turns to joy, my pain and sorrow into happiness and delight. Lance has the unexplainable way of making me feel like P!nk’s song Sober, “I’m safe, Up High, Nothing can touch me.” I feel as if I am ontop of the Empire State Building, looking down over the edge at all my fears and saying, “Not now.” For me this is the main why horse bring so much joy to my life.

My life today would not be complete without horses. They have brought bliss to my life from changeling me to strive for my goals to allotting me unconditional love, to sweeping away all of my fears. Horses are truly the gateway to happiness.