Year’s ago, I was eight years old and reading my favorite book, “A Very Young Rider.” The book tells the story of a young girl and her riding life. I wanted to be that girl. I decided then and there I would become her.
My life soon became filled with everything horse related. My room was covered in horse pictures. My bookshelves filled with horse books. My journals full of horse stories. My Christmas list had one request, a pony.
The pony never came, but riding lessons, jodhpurs and paddock boots did. I was elated. I started out riding once a week and counted the days until the next riding lesson. Birthday requests were always the same, more riding lessons and riding attire. My Christmas list stayed the same, a pony. A pony never came.
I turned twelve and was eager to work at a nearby stable. I was hired to clean stalls and fill water buckets. In exchange for my work, I was given a daily riding lesson and enrolled in the summer horse camp. I was so happy and worked every day after school and on weekends. The work was hard, but I didn’t want to be anywhere else. My childhood was spent horse happy.
My Christmas list wish never came true until I was much older and able to bear the financial responsibility of owning a horse. And own one I did. He was my best friend and daily companion. My other best friends were my barn family. We shared countless riding adventures and memories. A beautiful way to spend my teenage years.
As I look back, I smile. I am older now and horses continue to be a major part of my life. I look forward to riding with the same excitement I had at eight. My home continues to be filled with everything horses. I am blessed to share the wonderful gift of riding with my daughter and sister. I grew up dreaming about becoming that very young rider and did just that. I wouldn’t change a thing.