While scrolling through Facebook tonight, I stumbled upon a post sharing something I wrote two years ago on a blogging site known as Pucker Mob. Reading it brought a smile to my face as it reminds me of all of the great memories that I share with my first horse and first love, Diablo. I couldn’t help but share it here with you all! Enjoy!
An Open Letter to My First Horse
Horseback riding is such an all-consuming sport – in fact, it’s addicting. Riding is as addicting to a rider as heroine is to a drug addict or a cigarette is to a smoker. You just can’t get enough of it. The feeling of being in the saddle is so thrilling – especially when you’re competing at a show. This sport just takes over your life.
However, it isn’t just the sport itself that is addicting – it is the bond and partnerships you form with the horses who you have been blessed to ride. Over the past five years, God has blessed me with the opportunity to form a partnership with you that has changed me as both a rider and a person, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Thank you for teaching me that the color or quantity of ribbons you receive doesn’t define your success. Over the past five years that we have been together, there were plenty of shows where we didn’t place. At first, I was so frustrated and discouraged because it made me feel as though I wasn’t good enough – that we weren’t good enough. Then, I began to realize that you were teaching me one of the most valuable lessons you could have ever taught me – that ribbons don’t define your success. Success for me may not be a blue ribbon. It may just be jumping a clean round or getting that lead change we always seem to forget and that’s ok. You don’t have to be winning blue ribbons at every show to be successful. After all, we don’t pay hundreds of dollars just for the ribbons – we pay for the experience that comes from showing.
Thank you for teaching me to be tough and fearless while staying humble. There have been plenty of times where we have disagreed – whether that was on how many strides we should get down a line or if we should even jump the jump in the first place. Many of those disagreements ended up with me on the ground wondering where I went wrong, but those falls served an important purpose. By challenging me as a rider, you taught me how to be tough and get back in the saddle – even when I am afraid – and how to stay humble. After all, what is more humbling than eating dust?
Thank you for showing me that hard work pays off. In the beginning, I remember wondering if I was even cut out to be a rider. In fact, the first day I brought you home, you had me in tears when you broke your brand new bridle in the middle of the barn aisle! I spent so many hours in the saddle over the past five years learning your quirks and how to ride through every curveball you threw my way. However, by challenging me, you taught me that the best things in life never come easy. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that I have shed in the saddle have paid off because I have been able to witness you blossom from a horse that I could barely canter without you running away with me to a horse that has taken me around a 3’ course without a blink of an eye. You have become a different horse in every way, shape, and form. You have truly become my once in a lifetime horse.
Most importantly, thank you for the irreplaceable friendship we have formed and the many years of love you have given me so far. You have always given me unconditional love no matter what, been my shoulder to cry on, and have brought a smile to my face every day. You have brought so much joy into my life through the little things you do such as the way you always pose for the camera or the funny way you look at me when you hear the treat bag crinkle behind you. There is no way that I could ever replace you or the joy that you have given me. I am so thankful for our partnership and friendship.