My Kind Of Sport This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   "Wow, you're tall! Do you play basketball?" That is something I hear almost every day, And no, I don't play basketball. Being almost six feet tall, one would think I am the perfect ball player, but things aren't always what they seem. I am involved in another sport - or what I think should be considered a sport.

I ride quarter horses. When I tell people, they answer with a casual "Oh, that's nice." People are either interested in what riding quarter horses is about, or don't care at all. Most haven't been to a horse show. "You mean, you ride in rodeos?" they ask. Nope, not even close. A rodeo has bulls, broncos, and steers. Horse shows only involve horses, people, and calves. What I do in a show may sound simple: I ride my horse. Only it isn't as simple as one would think. It involves a lot of work to be successful.

I never thought I would end up riding horses. They are my life. The first time I got on a horse was when I was 9. I am 15 now. My mom got me into riding, because she rode when she was little, and she wanted me to get involved, too. She thought it would be a once-a-week summer thing, but a year later, I had my own horse, saddle, bridle, and supplies. Believe me, it isn't as cheap as basketball. I rode every day of the summer and showed in 4-H shows.

Lately things have changed. I have a new horse. I still ride every day in the summer, and twice a week in the winter, even though my horse is 30 minutes from home. In the summer I show every weekend, not just 4-H shows, but Quarter Horse Association shows, which are a higher level. When I'm not showing, I'm taking lessons to improve my skills.

There are many reasons I think horse riding is a sport. Sportsmanship, teamwork, practice and training are all involved. Having sportsmanship is important in showing, because it is not all about winning. If I don't win, I don't get angry, but shrug it off and work on what I need to improve. I meet many people, and become good friends with some, so we don't ever try to "compete" against each other. A lot of practice and training goes into showing. There is constantly something that needs improvement, and takes hard work. After I have an English/jumping lesson, I feel like I have just run five miles; my legs ache. But it gives me confidence. Unlike playing the piano or violin, or dancing, I have continued with riding. When I succeed, it makes me feel great to know that by working hard and being dedicated, I was the one who made it happen. l

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 10:10 pm
i love this so much!
riyaliz123 said...
May 31, 2009 at 11:46 pm
this story is very touching!!
blinkingandbreathing said...
Dec. 3, 2008 at 3:10 am
hi!! i also have ridden horses since i was nine and im now fifteen... and when ppl go, "wut sport do you do?" and I say I ride horses, they scoff it off as not being a sport. it most certainly is and a wonderful one at that!! great piece you wrote, there! congrats! :D
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