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The Dreaded Competition

Getting out of the car door most normal people would walk confidently into the bustling world of horses and get right to business. I, on the other hand, wobblingly fell out of the car door and wavered left and right from the shock of what stood in front of me. I shyly peered at the rusty red truck and unconfidently opened the grungy doors of the disheveled looking trailer. Inside the sad trailer stood my only glimmer of happiness: my confident trusty horse who, unlike me, stood proud and ready to conquer what was ahead of him. As I stepped into the trailer I almost lost my footing in the dense bedding from the uncontrollable shaking of my legs. Despite these evident problems, I eventually unloaded my knight in shining army. As Blaze pranced around me in excitement, I died a little on the inside knowing what was going to come next. Reality was knocked back into my fearful head as again my trainer informed me that I need to suck it up and start preparing my horse for the unwanted event. With my unwilling and fearful attitude, I eventually got myself together and nervously walked into what would eventually become one of my favorite activities.

Fifteen blurred and blundering minutes later, I had somehow tacked up my horse even though my entire body was still furiously shaking. Looking at me, one would probably have thought I had a weird disease that makes me cold in 100 degree weather. In reality, I was as scared as a dog being chased by a cat. My adrenaline was pumping and butterflies were bursting out of my stomach. For one small second I stopped and looked around at the competition. Numerous fake tails and blinding shiny coats stood around me as my fuzzy fat horse and I walked in circles trying to calm ourselves down. The Barbie Doll horses were more than ready to compete; they had been trained for years how to whip around those three blue barrels as fast as they can. The doomful sigh of the glorious horses increased my anxiety and only made me want to ditch the place more. Many slow minutes later, I knew it was about time to get on my horse and prepare to show everybody what I’ve got- which isn’t much. As I hastily tried to mount my excited horse, more nervous sweat surrounded my body. From atop of Blaze, I could finally see everything; the accident prone arena, the disgusting cows mooing in the distance, and my confident competition. As I’m waiting for my name to be called, a girl on a short, stout pony with a polka dot helmet walks over to me and says hi. The polka dot girl seems to be a gift from God because she somehow calms my overactive sweat glands by muttering off about her multiple horses. As I listen to her soothing voice, I take another quick peek at the daunting arena. My negative attitude tells me that the dirt is so deep my clumsy horse will trip, and I’ll be the laughing stock of the competition. Again, polka dot girl calms me down my saying that if her 23 year old horse can do it, my 20 year old can too. Eventually polka dot girl leaves, probably because she figured out I am a real freak. I was left in my own little world to worry.

The new aromas are equally overwhelming to Blaze and I. I can see his whiskers moving with the rapid intake of air as he smelled the oh-so gross cows that stood under the dark gloomy clouds in the distance. Not having a nose of a blood hound, I intake the aroma of the undercooked “burgers” that are being “cooked” by a volunteer- or an unsanitary hobo that was found on the street. As I tried not to breathe through my nose, I became all too aware of my predicament. Any second now I am going to run out into the dreaded pit of death and demonstrate my clumsy and uncoordinated riding. I watch the other girls’ whip through the barrel pattern; they looked like they belonged at a national competition. With this, my anxiety did not subside but rather increased. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and my hands were as sweaty as a construction worker on a blistering hot day. Before I knew it, the annoying voice of Carrie Underwood was muted and an ever-so-preppy voice called out my name. I unwillingly forced myself into the arena and awkwardly (I have never been a person that is good in front of crowds) rode my horse through the starting gate. My heart again was pounding faster than hummingbird wings and I’m positive my parents in the unsteady bleachers could see the blinding shininess of sweat on my forehead. Despite the promising “GO LINDSEY!” from my parents, I nervously picked up the speed and ran into the arena.

In twenty three seconds my horse gave me all he had. Somehow, we blissfully walked out of the arena without any injuries; I was numb with joy. I had miraculously made it through what was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. Perseverance, determination and lots of persuasion from my instructor, family and friends helped lead me to this joyous moment. My cheerleaders came and gave me and my horse a well deserved pat on the back. My bug eyes disappeared and my heart slowed down to normal. My new smile was literally from ear to ear, and my insecurities were replaced by confidence. In an attempt to cool Blaze off, I quickly walked him over to the sloshing bucket of water, but he must off been too happy to think about drinking… or he was being the normal picky horse he is. Once my adrenaline wore off, I realized the severity of my lack of water. I quickly found the closest bottle of water to me; my mouth took the slightly warm and germy water with great appreciation. Knowing that my next run would be in more than twenty minutes, I sat satisfied with my accomplishment.

After resting for a few minutes I was finally able to really open my newly relaxed eyes and take in the atmosphere; it wasn’t so intimidating now. It seemed like it was midnight, but it was only nine. I took in the pretty scene; the shining stars in the distance, the laughing friends and family and the now-not-so- scary arena. Now it was my turn to join in on the party. I haphazardly dismounted my horse and tied him up before I joined my fellow riders and friends.

The rest of the night -until one in the morning to be exact- was a big, long blur of happiness. I got a chance to eat one of the burgers; it was not as gross as it first seemed. The “hobo” was actually a nice guy and my burger was well done. Maybe the food was so good because I ate it surrounded by the people I love. Going home I had no ribbons in my hand but rather a newfound feeling of pride and joy. To me, the night was a great success; I felt victorious as I had overcome some of my biggest fears. I had competed in my first Gymkhana and rest assured, it was not my last.



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