Life was boring.
All I did was go to school and come home. But what else could you expect for the life of a Second Grader?
Occasionally I got to see Aly and Sam, my best friends at the time. They were both two years older than me and had a HUGE obsession with horses. They always talked about how much they loved riding.
I desperately wanted to ride.
One day after school Dylan, my older brother, came up and asked my mom if he could have a play date at his friend Tyler’s house, which coincidentally had about 2 acres of land and 3 horses. My parents said yes! This was my chance! I just had to sell the idea of me, on a 1200 pound beast, to my overprotective parents. Easy enough right?
I had my work cut out for me, I first started with my brother, he would be the easiest to convince.
“DYLAN,” I screamed maybe a little to excitedly.
“What?” He uninterestedly answered from the other room.
“Can I come on your play date with Tyler?”
“If you want to, I guess it’s fine.”
I remember the overwhelming feeling of happiness. Phase one complete. Just one more obstacle, assuming Tyler would let me ride. I practiced the made up speech in my room, everything needed to be perfect for this part of the plan. Now all I had to was wait. I heard the garage door open, my dad was finally home from work, I mentally prepared myself for what was about to happen. I moved to the living room.
I spoke in the sweetest tone I could possibly think of, “Oh Mom, Dad, could you come here please?”
“Sure hon.” My dad said.
I held my meeting on the couch, so they wouldn't get too suspicious. Once both of my parents sat down, I began my speech.
“So I was thinking,” I wearily began, in that moment I decided to blurt the rest out, so my mom could not interrupt me. “Dylan is going to Tyler’s for a playdate and I want to go so I can ride his horses. I know what you're going to say but let me finish. Aly and Sam both ride and they are both perfectly healthy. Please Please Pleaseeee?”
“Well I don’t know sweetie, you have never ridden before and I wouldn't want you get hurt.” explained my mom.
I had to think fast, one wrong move and I was done for. I got it!
“But what if Myrah walked with me the whole time?” I pleaded. Myrah was Tyler’s mom. She had been riding for a long time, she had also been a friend of my mom’s. There was no way they could say no.“Well, if Myrah is okay with it I guess we are too, but we want to stay with you guys, just in case.” Said my Dad.
This is it! Nothing can stop me now! I was so excited I was practically bouncing the whole car ride to Tyler’s. I had probably looked like a crazy person to those around me, but it didn’t matter at the time, my dream was coming true. When we drove in, they had already had a horse saddled up and ready to go.
The one thing Aly and Sam forgot to mention was how huge horses were. Panic filled my chest as I walked closer to the huge beast, but I wouldn't let that stop me. I put out the fire of panic that was spreading through my soul, I could do this, I would do this.
Looking back, this wasn‘t the biggest horse ever, he was pretty average, maybe even on the small side, but the important thing wasn't the size of the horse, but the fact that even though I was terrified, I got on.
The horse’s name was Caramel, he was a chestnut quarter horse. Before I got on I went and touched his pink nose, he was so soft. He pushed his nose further into my hand. I felt his steady breath against my palm. I took my other hand and ran it along his pole, to his mane, to the his neck, I'd never felt anything so perfect before. I knew he had the power to hurt me, he was a 1200 pound animal after all, but I also knew he wouldn’t, not if he had the chance. What was this feeling I got? This feeling of familiarity, this feeling that I didn’t know I was looking for, but once I found it, I wondered how I had lived without it so long. I loved him.
My dad hoisted me into the saddle. The cool leather felt good beneath me, almost like it was made especially for me.
Before we started Myrah gave me a couple rules. 1. Hold on at all times. 2. If you feel like you are going to fall, grab the horn (a part on the saddle) and pull up with your reins. We started off walking and it was the best feeling ever.
I felt the rays of God descending upon me. Everything moved faster and made more sense. In that moment, I knew my true calling. I wanted to go faster, I wanted to ride forever, I never wanted to leave.
Looking back I've never felt more at home than when I'm with a horse. To this day I still ride, and I still love it. Horses can’t talk, but sometimes they have given me better advice than people. Horses can’t hug, but I've never felt more supported and loved than when i'm with a horse. Maybe horses are better people than some people are.
I’ve come to the conclusion, that even though I did have to leave the barn that day I would always find my way back. That moment struck the love of horses into my veins and I don't think it was leaving anytime soon. I was stuck with them, and they were stuck with me. I had found what I loved most.