Three, two, one ... I counted as Scout and I cantered toward the vertical. I knew I had judged my distance incorrectly because as we landed I was in front of the saddle hanging onto Scout’s neck for dear life. Somehow, I managed to heave myself back into the saddle and slow him to a walk. Debbie Danner, my riding instructor, was laughing as I made my way to her. She is the nicest riding instructor I have ever had. She wasn’t annoyed but instead let me try again, after pointing out what I had done wrong. This time, Scout and I sailed over the jump beautifully. Debbie is my hero because she is always nice to her students, and is almost never in a bad mood. She enjoys her work and also finds time to go out and live a little.
Although Debbie is very serious about her job, she also has fun and jokes around. Once at a show, she spilled water on her pants making it look like she wet them. We joked about how she got “too excited” about the show, and she laughed and joked right along with us. Debbie also schedules a day for adult women to go out and ride. For her students, she offers a riding camp where you play games and ride for three hours in one continuous lesson. This gives you the opportunity to learn more and watch others. This really makes my life special: being able to ride horses all day!
Debbie always understands, no matter the circumstances. One of the girls was disqualified because her horse kept refusing the same jump. Debbie reassured her it was okay, explaining that the horse was scared of the jump.
Debbie is very patient with beginner riders and really gives them confidence which is why I liked her when I started my lessons with her. She will constantly give constructive criticism, as well as compliments. When you do something she likes she will say, “That is excellent!” or “That looks really nice.”
Debbie is quiet and hard-working, thus bringing forward her “Debbieisms.” Debbie explained that one of her funny quirks is that (and I quote), “I’m quiet and tend not to react to things. It takes a while to process what has happened.” She says this is one of her “Debbieisms.” She is always bright and funny, and that’s why she is my hero.
According to Debbie, her greatest accomplishment is turning her passion into a business. She knows she will always go to work in high spirits because she loves what she does. Not many people can say that about their job, but Debbie can. When I asked her why she started giving riding lessons, she replied, “To share the passion.” If you love what you do, nothing can keep you from teaching others what you love. When I asked her if she liked horses when she was little, she exclaimed, “Oh, I loved horses!” She sounds just like I feel now!
Debbie has made my life more enjoyable and less stressful. Horseback riding is a way to help take my mind off everyday life and live my passion. Debbie says that having horses in her life has made her more of an outgoing person, interacting with others instead of just observing. When you’re around Debbie, you can tell that this is what she was meant to do, and you can’t help but to feel inspired.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.