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What You Truly Want is Hard to Get

You know that desperate desire that almost makes your heart hurt? That obsession you are yearning for day and night, awake and asleep? Something you have to fulfill to feel accomplished? For me, that one dream I desperately want is to stand on the winner’s podium (like the one at the Olympics with the first, second, and third place), at the very top and be able to say, “Yes, I actually did that. I can’t believe it either.” Most everyone has that one dream and some will actually be able to realize their dream and rid themselves of the heartbreaking yearning. Those people are the few with the drive and skill to achieve that one dream that has consumed their mind. They are the ones who need it so badly they can comprehend that you can, in fact, accomplish what you want but not without working extremely hard to get it.


Often times people have false expectations that things in life, like a dream or friendship or love, will just be handed to them without having to earn it in the process. Very young children have everything given to them and done for them without anything more than bit of crying. So why would we be surprised when teens and the very wealthy believe this to be the case for them, as well? I was one of those people for a long time, thinking straight A’s were easily acquired. Same with my singing. It wasn't until cultivating my range from high to low, purifying my notes, and allowing my passion for singing come through with each note did I realize the effort required. I believe many people are still under that illusion of childhood innocence until they get to the tougher academic classes and onto job interviews and jobs themselves. That is what I used to think.

Sweeping across the arena, launching gracefully over jumps, proudly holding my brightly colored champion ribbon. That’s what I want. I want to be able to say “I jumped a 4’ 3” this weekend at this show I went to.” That’s one of my dreams. If I close my eyes, all I see is me on a beautiful, lean, healthy chestnut horse elegantly cantering across a large field, the rich green weeds up to his knees, millions of little yellow wildflowers spread out before us. How can I get this? I ask myself, rushing from the beautiful day dream, trying to forget the cool breezes caressing my face and the fading sunlight glinting off of his glossy rich colored coat as the wanting pain grows in my chest. I ask that for a dramatic effect- I know the answer. I always have. I can do anything I want but I can only get there with hard work and effort. I can’t cheat my way there or slip around the work and still end up there. My dad told me that once and I’ll never forget it.
I first started riding when I was six, it was a birthday present from my parents and I couldn’t have been any more excited. Once I read the note inside I imagined myself soaring over those colorful jumps and gliding across the ring- like I would get there in a snap. As we bumped into the driveway at Maple Hurst Farms, the grin on my face grew and grew until my face hurt. I was about to ride a horse! My absolute favorite animal! I met the instructor, a moderately tall woman with blond hair and two boxers trailing behind her. She was very nice and led me inside right away, ready to get to work. She taught me how to groom them on a horse named Maggie who was probably around 15 years old. I groomed her then it was time to tack up. I lugged the unbelievably heavy saddle and pad from the tack room and with the help of a stepping stool, plopped the 50 pound dumbbells onto her back. After I slipped on the bridle with a lot of assistance from Ms. Debbi (my teacher) I was ready to ride! We got into the ring and I climbed onto Maggie’s back. The lesson had begun!
If I had to sum it up with one sentence it would be “Horseback riding is definitely not easy and is much more difficult than you would think.” That was when I got it. Horseback riding would be a work out (but a fun one). As I got better and better, I realized that horseback riding was not only exercise for my body but also for my mind. You have to keep track of so many different things the whole time and you can never go on autopilot. I rode for two years, loving every minute of it but I was nervous about jumping so I took a break. I don’t know if it was just nerves about jumping or maybe it was that I didn’t want to put in that extra effort just yet, I still wanted to take it slow. But a few years later when I went to see a friend of my sister ride (I was caught between doing dance lessons and horseback riding) and I saw her canter, I leaned over to my mom the second she passed us and said, “I want to ride again,” and I knew then that I was ready for it.


It didn’t take me long, however, to notice how much work it was going to take to get as good as I wanted to be. It was at dinner and my dad was lecturing my sister and I about working hard and performing our best on tests and in soccer and horseback riding. Then he said something that I will never forget. Shaking his finger at us, he said, “You can do anything you want, but you can’t get there without trying.” I realized, then, that working hard in everything would get me to my goal of standing on the podium holding a champion ribbon. I realized that if I worked out more, like swimming, running, and biking and ate healthier, my body would be in better shape and ready for the toughness of the ride. I also became conscious of the fact that if I paid more attention to what my new instructor, Ms. Aimee, told me and applied it better, I would be able to grow into not only a better rider but also a better listener with school and other things. I firmly believe, from first-hand experience, that things, like growing into a better horseback rider, losing weight, or going to college, will not just be handed to you, it requires effort (possibly more than you know) and you have to be willing to put in that effort to succeed. And those people who aren’t willing to put that blood, sweat, and tears in or just haven’t figured out that you actually have to try hard in life don’t really need their dream to come true or they just haven’t found their dream yet.

After my endeavors with horseback riding, writing, and other things I know for a fact that nothing will come to you if you don’t try and reach it. I know now that anything is achievable when you put in the extra effort. After my hard work for three years at Artemis Farm, I have become a much better rider, know how to ride different horses well, and have become more of a leader. Nobody has to put that effort in but if you really truly need it to come true, you will, and your heart won’t hurt anymore. Perhaps achieving that goal is winning the pursuit of happiness.



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