I am an equestrian. I work with 1000+ pound animals without second thought and jump horses over various elements. Growing up on a farm, horses have been a big part of my life ever since I can remember. To me, working with horses is second natur, but I realize that not everyone has the privilege to work with these animals.
With about 6 years of competitive riding under my belt, I've had the chance to work with successful professionals and ride fancy horses (they make expensive pets). Working with multiple professionals has benefited me because I got different critiques and new improvements to work on. However, I was able to improve my riding the most by riding lots of different horses.
All throughout high school, I worked with a very accomplished instructor who had talented horses and went to the most prestigious competitions in the area (this totally spoiled me). I moved to her barn as a step-up from smaller, less competitive horse shows and lower-quality horses. The more I worked with her, the more I saw the upper levels of the sport.
After working with her up until I left for college, I had accomplished so much in my riding career. I had competed in multiple finals, ridden a multitude of horses and reached the higher levels of competition as a junior rider.
By not bringing a horse to college, I knew that I would not be able to progress in my riding during school. I did, however, join my school’s equestrian team, which has helped me maintain my riding and keep myself in the saddle. After my first semester of college, I realized that (unless you go to college for riding) college doesn’t improve your riding, the best thing you can do is sustain your current abilities.
Going from riding at least one horse every day to riding once a week was strange at first, but I stayed focused on my studies and cherished every ride. After I adjusted to college, I not only missed home, but I missed my horses and progressing with them in competitions. I missed my trainer and how thorough and clear her instruction was.
Over winter break, I rode as much as I could and even competed in a horse show. It was exciting to get back in the show ring and compete like I had before college; I really missed it. This renewed my appreciation of my parents' support for my riding and showing. It's exciting to show off the progress you have made with your horse and ride over bigger jumps.
Although I am unsure of my future with horses, I find relief in knowing that I have options for riding in college. Everyone has something that helps them unwind, and riding keeps me sane. Although I miss competing regularly, I am focused on getting a quality education, so that some day, I can have a job that supports my riding.