Why I Ride

Why I Ride

"You lend me the wings I lack."

When you ask most people what they do for hobbies or sports, they answer, "I play (insert popular team sport here). I, on the other hand, ride horses. Jumping up on a 1500 pound animal and controlling it only using your hands and legs is far easier said than done. During the never-ending icebreakers that always seem to come with meeting new people, most would say sports that they played or what they did in their free time but I always seemed to be the odd one out when I said I didn't play a team sport or run for track and field or play an organized sport for my school. Even though I was always an anomaly, I wouldn't trade the bond that I have with these animals for anything.

When I took my first lesson I was only 6 years old. I was always obsessed with ponies and horses so my parents just figured it was a passing phase and decided to take me to a few lessons so I could do it once or twice and get my fix. What they didn't realize that this wasn't just a passing fad for me, this would become the biggest part of my life. I began taking lessons every week from then on. There's only been a few times when I would take breaks during the winter when there was no outdoor arena or it was too cold. I have done everything under the sun, from jumping 3 foot verticals to doing rundowns in the pen with reining horses. Every horse I have ever encountered had something different to teach me. Whether it be that I needed to be more firm or that I was being too lenient. I carry each lesson every horse I have ever been on with me. I can never repay them for what they have given to me.

Horses are quite obviously the biggest part of my life, hands down. I now have three of them and they are like children to me. They each have their own personality just like kids. No matter what, they are always there for me, they will keep all of my secrets and always listen when I have something to say. No matter what life throws at me I know I can go out to the barn, grab one of them and just forget everything going on in my life at that moment. They have the power to take me away from anything that's going wrong or when life is just too busy at that moment. No amount of money could ever make up for that. No person could ever give that to me.

There's a special bond between these animals and me. Whenever I look into my horse's eyes it's as if he's staring back into my soul. It's like no other feeling that I've ever experienced. That is why I am more than okay being referred to as the crazy horse girl. These are more than just animals. They are my life.

Cover Image Credit: Kelli Crockett

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Old Oak Tree

A short poem about returning to one's childhood home.


Looming over the burned-out house is an oak tree,

Hundreds of years old at least.

The smell of smoke is gone, but skeleton of the house remains,

A mere speck when compared to the tree.

Whose branches reach out to me like hands,

Begging for me to come closer.

I do.

I sit under the tree like I did when I was young.

The ground is damp from the rain,

I feel the sogginess soaking through my jeans.

I remain.

It is cooler under the branches,

A limitless amount of leaves shades me from the daylight.

I stay there. All day.

Staring at the charred remains of my childhood home.

I stay there until fog begins to form in the crisp night air,

Cold and sharp against my cheeks.

No longer able to withstand the cold, I take my leave looking back once more.

It's nice to know that even when I'm gone,

The old oak tree remains.

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