​To The Horses Who Aren't Mine But I Get To Ride Anyway

​To The Horses Who Aren't Mine But I Get To Ride Anyway

You accept us where we're at even without knowing a single thing about our riding ability or who we are.
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To The Horses Who Aren't Mine But I Get To Ride Anyway,

There has been a lot of content produced that is directed at the horses we own. But what about the horses we don't own? What about the horses we ride that give their all for us that we rarely, if ever, acknowledge?

Thank you for being the unsung heroes of the equestrian world.

Thank you for trying your hardest even when we get on your back for the very first time and simultaneously make about 1,000 errors while we try to adjust to a different ride.

You guys are the real MVPs of the horse world for never putting up a fight when yet another person rides you for the first time. Whether you're a lesson horse teaching up and coming riders the ropes or a sale horse being ridden by various riders at the barn, you guys are truly underappreciated.

You guys are the true test of whether or not we can take what we learn day in and day out and apply it no matter what kind of a ride we have that day. Whether it's a long and low hunter or a hot and fast jumper, you guys test us and truly reveal what we do or do not do well in the ring.

It also makes finding the perfect jump that much more rewarding. You do wonders for our confidence when we realize that we can ride all of these different horses.

You challenge us to learn how to adapt to anything and truly learn how to not just become good on our own horse or the horse we lease but how to truly become a great equestrian and rider who is capable of getting on any horse and putting together a solid course.

You accept us where we're at even without knowing a single thing about our riding ability or who we are.

To the horses I've ridden who aren't actually mine, thank you.

Thank you for continuing to expand my riding skills and helping me improve.

Thank you for helping me through the tough times.

Thank you for being the best "extras" a girl could ask for.

Thank you for pushing me to have higher endurance when I get on your back after what may have already been a tiring lesson beforehand.

Finally, thank you for making my life that much better because a life with a lot of horses is a life well lived.

Love,

That Girl Who Rides You Once A Week

Cover Image Credit: Bri Cicero

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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7 Things You May Not Know About College Dance Teams

Commonly mistaken for cheerleaders at sporting events, we live a life pretty much unknown to most others!

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Although most of the Student Body only sees us as the girls that dance at football and basketball games, there is so much more that we do. From all of the preparations for our game day routines, workouts, working on team uniformity, a lot goes into our few minutes on the court. And for us, that's just a side hobby. Many Dance Teams nationwide compete at a National competition once a year. Most teams' goals are the same: winning a national championship. But what it takes to accomplish that is so much more than anyone sees!

We workout... a lot.

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From timed mile tests to morning workouts, we NEVER stop working out. Running, lifting, core-strengthening are just some of the things we do on the side to make sure we are always at our peak physically. And it helps us look good, too.

We practice a lot, too!

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From learning and perfecting game day routines to learning and perfecting our national's routine, practices never stop. We typically practice 3-5 times a week!

Game-day appearance is no joke!

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From the fake eyelashes to the full face of makeup, our final look must be approved by a coach before ANY performance.

Uniformity is a NECESSITY!

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From matching uniforms, to the same brand and color of lipstick, to the same exact style of eyelashes, probably the most important part of any collegiate dance team is the uniformity!

Nationals is our Super Bowl

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Game days can be fun and exciting, too, but the attention is on the players, as it should be. At nationals, however, we are the ones directly representing our school and competing for the National Title! Nothing compares to the feeling!

Fundraising, fundraising, and MORE fundraising!

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Collegiate Dance Team Nationals isn't cheap! Most Dance Teams have to fund at least the majority of their national's expenses, which is A LOT of money! From working kids' clinics, selling clothing, having GoFundMe pages, having Bingo events, the list can go on for days!! So much work is put in outside of practice just to raise enough money to compete at a national competition.

The audition process is ... brutal.

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From learning a dance off of Youtube a few days prior to the audition and performing it in front of judges, to executing all of the necessary technical skills (no matter if its YOUR cup of tea or not), to personal interviews, to a conditioning evaluation, auditions for collegiate dance teams might be some of the toughest days of the year.

Overall, being on a college Dance Team can be very overwhelming, but being surrounded by girls with similar interests as you 24/7 who are like family to you, make it all worth it!

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