What Horseback Riding Means to Me

Riding hasn’t always been a part of my life. In fact, I didn’t start riding until college. When I started college I wanted to be a part of a team. I didn’t play any sports in high school, so I had to choose something that didn’t require any experience. My two choices, the crew team or equestrian. Since waking up at five o’clock in the morning in the middle of a New York March to sit in a boat and row myself down a frozen river didn’t seem too appealing, I chose something that I have always had a soft spot for. Don’t get me wrong, the crew team is awesome, but anyone who knows me, knows the extreme lack of love that I have with cold weather and mornings.

So I started my first ever horseback riding lesson. Well I sat on a horse and we walked in a circle for 30 minutes. But little by little I started to learn the basics of riding. That winter I “competed” in my first Equestrian Show. It went a little like this. My mom, my grandma, my grandpa, my brother, his girlfriend, my aunts, my uncles, the neighbor, the neighbors dog… you get the point, all stood outside in the winter weather to watch my very first show. I got on my horse, fixed my stirrups, and headed out into the ring with nine other riders. The judge came over the loudspeaker,

“All trot please.”

Everyone began to trot, except me. My horse and I walked in a circle in the middle of the ring while everyone else trotted around me. So everyone I have ever met in my life watched me sit on a horse and stand in the middle of the ring while everyone competed around me. Let's just say, I didn’t place that show, but you have to love the support right?

It has been seven years since I took my first lesson. I am a very nervous rider and I have held myself back from many things in riding. One of the biggest obstacles I have learned to overcome is my own fear. I ride with an amazing coach who knows when to push me and when not to push me too far. She lets me ride at my comfort, but has also brought me farther than I ever would have imagined I would be in the equestrian world.

Starting something new as an adult is always scary, but I can't imagine my life without riding. Every week I take one half hour to myself. I get thirty minutes when I am disconnected from the rest of the world. I do not think about emails, to do lists, social media or work. I get thirty minutes where I can push my limits, watch myself succeed and fail and succeed again. This sport is literally where the saying, “When you get knocked down you need to get up again” was born. I love the time and connection I get to make with my horse every week and it has taught me so many lessons that I apply to my business as well. My favorite part of the week is when I take time from my schedule and just do something that I love. And I have watched myself grow in ways that I didn’t know I could.

Some of my first equestrian pictures featuring college freshman Jeannine

My first horse show

Regionals 2012

My very missed team of friends

My First, First Place Ribbon

Learning how to jump.

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Suffolk County, N.Y.   Established 2017