When I was 15, nearly 16, I got my second horse. My big, bay horse. The one I had always dreamed of.
For as long as I could remember, I had always wanted a big, dark horse with just a little white marking of some sort on its face. I fell in love with one of those, and after only having her on trial for two days, she became mine.
I finally had my dream horse.
Only two weeks into owning her, I fell off. It took me an entire year on my first horse before I ate dirt, and I started to second guess what I had just gotten myself into.
Was this horse too much for me?
I didn't know much at the time, but I did know that somehow in only two weeks this horse had managed to capture my heart. There was something about her that made her so different from the rest of the horses I had ridden. I wasn't sure what it was, and to this day, I'm still not sure what it is.
But, I knew I was going to be with her for a very, very, very long time.
Throughout the past six years, there have been a lot of ups and downs. Trying to teach a 10-year-old horse a new discipline wasn't easy. In fact, it was and still is one of the most challenging things I have done in my lifetime.
It involved a lot of dirt in my face, ripped gloves and bad horse shows, but I wouldn't change a thing about my journey with my horse. Every moment has just made me love her even more... even the so-called bad ones.
For whatever reason, this horse understood me, and I understood her. When I would fall off, she would come back for me. When she had to do a challenging exercise, I'd stay patient with her.
We had and still do have a mutual understanding of one another. The partnership I have formed with her is unlike anything else I have ever experienced.
She's my forever horse, no matter what. Even when she's completely retired at some point and gray, she'll always be my number one.
She's taught me what patience looks like, what it means to love another being unconditionally, what it means to stand by someone through the good and the bad, what it means to be strong, what it means to be courageous, what it means to go after your dreams wholeheartedly without fear, what it means to laugh and smile authentically and most importantly, what it means to be myself.
Nearly six years later, and she's still teaching me every single day.
She brings out the best version of myself, and she can make me smile even on the darkest day.
As wonderful as all the ribbons are that she's won for me over the years, my bond with her is something irreplaceable. It doesn't get better than that.