Oftentimes in our riding careers, we lose touch with our beginnings and forget that little girl who fell in love with horses.
Even if you began riding later in life, there is something so pure and innocent about our relationship with horses, we often become child-like in our enjoyment and appreciation of them.
But life becomes busy, bills become pressing and riding doesn’t always seem so simple, or enjoyable. Sometimes when life gets complicated, I like to reminisce about those sweet, simple days when I first fell in love with horses and try to reconnect with that little girl.
This is a letter to all of those little girls out there who love their horses more than anything and for all of us who still have that little girl in us at heart:
There’s something about a little girl and her love of horses.
The connection, the sweetness of that love is something indescribable and profound. The soft muzzles of fluffy ponies seem perfectly designed for the kisses of little girls, their thick manes perfect handholds for hugs and pony rides. It’s like something out of a dream, feeling the warm breath of a horse against your cheek, and smelling their sweet scent.
The connection between girl and horse becomes one seamless entity; wild, free and proud.
It’s a beautiful thing, the first time we see or ride a horse. Something about a shaggy pony standing in a field or a majestic, sleek galloping horse has us in love at first sight. Some say girls were just meant for horses and I agree. There’s some sort of magic in the air, the bond, the love we feel.
I’ll never forget the first time I ever touched a horse and rode upon its back. The thrill of fear at its strength, and the awe of an animal so wise, intelligent and powerful, yet so gentle and calm.
Looking into the eyes of that horse, I felt something in my heart shift and my life was never the same. I looked into those deep brown pools and knew this was a love, a bond, like I’d never experienced before, and may never again.
That love seeps into your heart and becomes all you dream about.
Your room fills with posters of horses, books and toys. Each field you pass has you daydreaming about galloping across it on horseback, hair flying in the wind. You learn about everything there is to know about horses and then some. And every second of your spare time is spent either in a barn, or thinking and reading about one.
Spending endless hours at the barn is pure heaven: brushing ponies, cleaning tack, playing in the fields and feeling the freedom and peace of being around these majestic animals. You offer to do chores just to stay a bit longer and drag out these magical moments, and maybe even get to ride that special horse no one else gets to ride.
When it’s time to leave, it feels like breaking a spell and you wish you could just stay forever. Even then, your dreams are filled with sweet moments of these beautiful animals.
Then at some point, you start to grow up.
School becomes more demanding, you have a weekend part-time job and your friends start to talk about boys and parties. Going to the barn may seem like more of a chore and you may have to choose between social occasions and spending time with your horse.
Horses are no longer “cool,” and you start to forget why you loved them in the first place. Some girls just stop riding right then and there, but I believe that you never truly stop loving them.
Someday you’ll have a career and want to buy a house and start a family.
All of a sudden, horses become a burden that you just can’t afford. But deep down, you never stop loving them. When you see a horse in a field on a road trip, you can’t help but stop to feed him a carrot. You religiously watch equestrian events on T.V. and you may secretly have some old books and posters stashed away in your room.
Horses can be such a magical, fleeting time in your life. Remember to soak in the love, the precious time you have with these amazing creatures.
When your classmates at school tease you for being the “horse girl,” keep spending your time at the barn. Feel freedom on the back of a horse and let the wind give you strength and courage.
When they ask why you don’t go to parties or fall in with the “cool crowd,” keep your chin up and your passion alive. Even as you get older, people may not understand your love and devotion and that’s ok.
No one can understand the bond between you and your horse. Trust in that and know that what you have is more genuine, more heartfelt than anything they know. Gain confidence and feel empowered by your love and mastery of these animals and the bond you’ve created. No one can take that from you.
Horses aren’t just your love, they gave you the confidence and ability to handle whatever life throws at you.
Be brave, take risks and don’t be afraid to be rejected. Just like you’ve fallen off dozens of times and gotten back on, you can handle anything that comes your way.
You never know what might happen. When you grow up and riding horses seems too difficult, or too much of a burden, just remember the little girl. Stay true to yourself, and never, ever let yourself forget the love, the magic you once had. If you do, it may be gone forever. Find that little girl in your heart and never let her go.
About the Author
Sarah Eder is an avid blogger, horse professional and closet fashionista trying to live a balanced life with her crazy Grand Prix horse and boyfriend in tow.