A Letter To My First Horse

A Letter To My First Horse

Thanks for making me the rider I am today.

A girl only has one first horse, and I'm so glad mine was you. You were everything I needed as a young rider and girl. As a shy girl with low self confidence, I didn't have too many people I could trust. But you were always there to listen. You may not have been able to talk back and tell me it was going to be okay, or that you were there for me, but just being around you was so therapeutic for me. It was hard to be anything but happy when I had you next to me asking for a treat in the cutest way. We shared a bond that I can never replace with any other horse or human.

Not only were you a good listener, you were a very good and patient teacher. Not just on the ground, but especially under saddle. I learned more about how I should and shouldn't shift my weight, you taught me how to ask for things the right way. Without you, I wouldn't be half of the rider or person that I am today. You taught me a lot about love, and that the right decision wasn't always the easiest one. We walked away from the show ring with a lot of blue ribbons, and a lot of discouraging moments to go along with them. No matter how we did as a team, we were always back at work the day after a mistake ready to rebound and be better than the last time.

Since I was lucky enough to call you mine from middle school until the middle of my senior year, you were with me through it all. Every breakup, bad grade, or fight led to me heading straight to the barn for a long ride to clear my head. You were always there when I needed you the most, and you somehow knew to be on your best behavior when I was at my lowest. You were in my senior pictures, met all of my friends, and saw me at my absolute worst. I am so privileged to have been your owner, and while our time together may have gotten cut short, it's comforting to know that you're making hundreds of little girls smile every week.

So thank you, for being so much more than a pet to me. You were by my side in the darkest of times and taught me or than any teacher or lesson plan could. I'm very thankful that you have a great home with wonderful people taking care of you, because you deserve it. I always pictured that I would have you until you got well into your thirties, but life doesn't always turn out the way we expect it. Thank you for giving me the ability to make the best decision for both of us, not just myself. I'm grateful for every moment that I spent being your owner, and I'm blessed to say that I can still have you as a part of my life; just not as frequent as we both may want.

Loading you up onto that trailer knowing that I wasn't coming with you was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I love seeing pictures of you on Facebook with the little girls that you're teaching every day. I'm sure that they realize what a special guy you are, and even though you won't be able to read this ever, I know that you know that I love you. Thanks so much for the great memories and for making me a better person. Horses truly do leave hoof prints on your heart.

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.


As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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