The Quest for Perfection This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Horsebackriding began as a sport, a chance to improve my performance in a specific field,but has become so much more. It became a relationship between my horse and me. Itbecame responsibility, and the feeling of knowing that an animal's happiness andsafety rest in my hands. It became courage, being able to climb atop an animaland risk my safety. It became fun, setting off on adventures through the woods,never knowing for sure where I was. Becoming a skilled rider and horsewoman takesmore than skill, it takes determination and courage.

Having a horse hasbeen a dream my mother and I have shared forever. When I was told we wereactually going to buy one, I was ecstatic. We began our search for the perfecthorse, and quickly found Teddy, a four-year-old Appaloosa. He was everything wehad hoped for: sweet, medium-size, and although slightly green, well-behaved.

We bought Teddy in February and entered a whole new world. We met so manyinteresting people, each with something to teach us about horses. There was a newlanguage to learn to understand the horse's needs and anatomy. Everywhere werenew opportunities: competitions, trail rides, picnics, and more.

I quicklyadjusted to the horse world and began taking lessons. In the beginning it seemedI would never learn all the things my teacher wanted me to know. Everything waschallenging, but as time passed, I improved. In the summer I rode every day.

Keeping my back straight, heels down and elbows slightly bent nolonger felt like such a juggling act. Then I was introduced to trail riding,where I needed to be aware of everything around me. The smallest snap of a branchcould cause my horse to buck or rear, and I needed to be ready. Day after day Irode on the trails, and eventually found that if I kept calm, the twigs thatbroke when Teddy stumbled were not a problem.

Everything was beginning tofit in its place, and I became more confident both on the horse and off. I feltsuccessful, despite how difficult it might have been. I can now enjoy riding andknow that it is because I try my best. By not comparing myself to others, orworrying about what others think, I've succeeded. And I know that life is thesame way. If you try your best and don't stop to think about others' opinions,you can do anything.

I will never know everything about horseback riding,which is very comforting. It means that there is always room for improvement,which ensures that I will always have riding.

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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