This video really hits it home for me. It really, means a lot. It has a deeper meaning than most of you will see by just simply hitting the play button on one of those once-again-i'm-watching-an-equestrian-video things. If you care to read this, go right ahead. It might change your thought process about why I, Aly, ride. But, if you're lazy [thats ok, cuz i am too] you don't have to. Just enjoy.
I was about 5 years old when I came home one day. And my mom took me to this place. Up a long, gravel driveway. Where I saw these huge things everywhere. They were big. Bigger than me. I was intimidated, afraid. What was I doing here? My mom took my hand and let me come near one. I was confused. It dipped it's head low to me. And it breathed on me. I was startled. But, the scent was familiar. It smelled of my Mom. It smelled of happiness, and comfort. Warmth. Confidence. Beauty.
I reached out and petted the horse, and I knew from that touch. I knew what I wanted to do ever since that one moment.
I began taking riding lessons. I made a lot of progress. Coming off of the lunge line was a huge deal for me back then. Posting to the trot seemed impossible. Yet, I saw these girls loading their 50,000 dollar ponies off trailiers with ribbons, trophies, and fancy coolers that had pretigious lettering on them. Even though I couldn't read at the time, I knew it was important. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be noticed.
But everyday I rode, I realized I was nothing. I was just another lesson kid at this place that was afraid to canter on the pokiest lesson pony on the planet who could have easily aged over 20. I lost confidence. I lost hope. What was the point? I got scared so easily. A horse would do so much as cough, and I would lose my balance and fall. It hurt.
So, I took a break for awhile. I vowed not to go back. I had gotten a little older. I found soccer enjoyable until I broke my nose and my mother explained to me that injuries occur in all sorts of sports. It made me feel better, since I had been crying and screaming that I always failed at everything I did.
We moved. A lot. Different states. Different faces. Different schools. Same longing. I wanted to start again. So I did.
It was rough. I rode ponies again. But, this time i was older. I kept at it. No matter what. My mom encouraged me and supported me in every decision i made. I got my first pony one christmas and it was the happiest day of my life. He was later sold because i was incapable of handling him.
Not to help my confidence my mom got in a terrible accident one day. Her horse threw her, and she was paralyzed from the waist up. She has not ridden since. It shattered her. It shattered me, too. I was scarred. I didn't want to end up like she did. I knew accidents happened, but i was not risking it. I rode tentatively for years. On and off. I felt awful.
Until, The Ridge. I came. I was laughed at. I was made fun of. I was hated by everyone there.
But, I learned to ride. I was pushed. I was told to do things I really didn't want to do. I worked for EVERYTHING I did. I was never handed anything. No fancy ponies. No. Never.
It's made me who I am today. I'm no longer afraid. No longer do I have those confidence issues. I believe in myself now. I ride, because. I simply love it.
I followed my dream ever since I was five. I remember touching that horses' nose and knowing, this. Is what I was born to do.
That's why I ride.