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Emma Young

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About Emma Young

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To Love Another

Emma Young is a 17-year-old avid eventer and foxhunter in Ohio. Thanks for sharing, Emma!

Photo by Jenifer Young.

This May will mark two years since I lost my first horse to colic. To this day that was one of the worst days of my life. I had walked him for hours, praying the whole time he was going to be OK, but he was weak and old and had a low chance of making it through surgery … we finally had to make the difficult decision to put him down. I remember whispering to him that I would always remember him and that I could never love a horse as much as I loved him. After a final pat on the neck, I fled the barn with tears pouring down my face.

It took me weeks before I was ready to start thinking about getting another horse. But finally I was ready and one summer day my mom and I finally had the conversation. I admitted that I did want another horse, although I knew no one could replace my first. She asked me if I cared about color, breed or size. I decided right away that my dream horse was a bay gelding standing around 16 hands. However, I didn’t care as long as they liked to jump. With that, we started a horse search that would last for nearly 10 months.

I tried a countless number of horses but none of them were quite right. One was too green, while another could never make it past Beginner Novice. One was too hot, one too old and arthritic, and another just didn’t click with me. Finally, in mid-March of last year, I found my dream horse. He was dark bay. He was 16 hands. He loved to jump. He wasn’t too old or too young and while he had never evented he had done hunter/jumpers. The moment I sat on his back I knew he was my horse. We just clicked.

One year ago today he officially became mine! I couldn’t sleep the night before and forget about breakfast; I was so excited to be getting a horse. When he finally arrived I couldn’t keep a smile off my face. I spent the entire day just admiring my horse.

Photos by James, Jenifer and Ava Young.

Throughout our year together we have become better partners. I know when he is grumpy and I know when he is happy. He knows when I’ve nervous (rather it be about something horsey, a school test, or maybe just a dentist appointment) and he prances and gets nervous too. We both share our joy for jumping and love for cross country. I’ve learned to let him run a little more and he’s learned to let me hold him back just a smidge (… he is an OTTB). We’ve both learned to accept dressage a little more (I think). We even moved up to the fastest group at our last fox hunt.

While I love the big things we’ve done and competition goals we’ve made, it is the small things that have made our partnership blossom the most. It’s the quiet hacks all alone when I can spill my stories and share my worries with him. It’s the times I’ve gone out in the field just to say hi and I end up spending half an hour just gazing at my perfect horse. It’s the gallops that we both sometimes feel like we deserve after a dressage school. It’s the first time I took him through water alone and he trusted me enough to go in. It’s the autumn evenings that I worked on homework while sitting on his back. It’s because when I’m with him I forget anything else even exists.

This first year together has been one of the best years of my life. I haven’t forgotten my first horse (I never will), but I’ve learned to love another and I’m so glad I have.

Reasons Why I’m Thankful

Emma Young is a 16-year-old avid eventer and foxhunter in Ohio. Thanks for sharing, Emma!

Photo by Emma Young.

I’m thankful for my horse, my friends, and my family. I’m thankful for every bit of advice every trainer has ever given me. I’m thankful for every horse I’ve ridden, from the first pony who dumped me to the first horse I jumped and to the horse I get to call my own. I’m thankful for eventing — the jumping and even the dressage that comes with it. I’m thankful for early morning hacks, breathtaking gallops, cross country fences, and exhilarating fox hunts. I’m thankful for all my role models who inspire me to be a better rider.

I’m thankful for the smell of fresh leather, freshly washed saddle pads, leg wraps, and horse shoes (that stay on). I’m thankful for people who inspire me. I’m thankful for the vet who saved my old horse and the farrier that came on their day off. I’m thankful for schooling shows, hunter paces and clinics. I’m thankful for mud and for rain and for snow-even though I’m most thankful for sun. I’m thankful for trailers and cars and for keys. I’m thankful for my parents who support me in this expensive sport. I’m thankful for a sister that loves to ride too and I’m ever so thankful for the rest of my family too. I’m thankful for friends at school who try to understand what Eventing really is. I’m thankful for teachers who want me to learn. I’m thankful for helmets and cross country vests.

Photo by Jenifer Young.

I’m thankful for my first riding lesson and I’m thankful that I quit. I’m thankful I found the right path for me and I didn’t end up as a hunter/jumper, a volleyball player, or a track star. I’m thankful for my boss who gave me the dream teenage job. I’m thankful for the farm that helps kids with a therapeutic riding program. I’m thankful for duct tape and all that it can do, from packing a horse hoof to holding the feed tub lid still. I’m thankful for my trainer that showed me the ropes of eventing and introduced me to foxhunting. I’m thankful for foxes, hounds, huntsmen, and whips too. I’m thankful for people who trailer me places. I’m thankful for no-stirrup November and dressage December. I’m thankful for getting the chance to go on hacks with a four-star rider. I’m thankful for seeing the life of a working student up close. I’m thankful for the young girl at my lesson stable who dreams of big things. I’m thankful for those I call in need of an answer to my many questions.

Photo by James Young.

I’m thankful for the blanket that keeps my horse warm. I’m thankful for every horse I gave a test ride on and I’m ever so thankful I ended up with my guy. I’m thankful for button braids, white contour pads, and the sound of the bag pipes that make my horse close his eyes. I’m thankful for dreamers, for lovers, for those who inspire. I’m thankful for everyone and everything that has entered my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Something Little: The Small Things That Shape Who We Become

Emma Young is a 16-year-old avid eventer and foxhunter in Ohio. Thanks for sharing, Emma!

Photo by James Young.

Something little. That is the reasoning, the solid proof behind every big thing. A dream to climb the levels in eventing, to be someone’s role model, and to be a leader in my foxhunting club. Those are my big things — my big dreams. They are things that I don’t expect to accomplish now and maybe I never will, but to get there I have to start somewhere.

Phillip Dutton had to compete at the Beginner Novice level to get where he is today. Hannah Sue Burnett had to face grueling lessons, both in the ring and alone. The leaders of my foxhunting group all had to purchase their very first cubbing jacket at one point in their lives. They all had to have a first hunt to get where they are today. The local schooling shows I compete at — maybe one of the young competitors there will turn out to be the next Boyd Martin or Lauren Kieffer. You never know.

The first time I sat in a saddle. The first time I cantered. My first jump. My first show. They were all something so little but together they make who I am today.

My first show has more stories that tie together than any other memory I have. They are all tiny things. All something little. Here’s how I remember the day that possibly changed my life:

The sky threatened to rain and riders were everywhere. People were dressed in formal foxhunting attire and their horses wore neat braids. It was a benefit show to raise money for the local foxhunting club. (It was the first coincidence of the day. I became a member a year and a half later of that club — the one I hope to lead some day.) The show was held at the farm that I would soon work at, exercising the owner’s hunt horses (the second coincidence of the day).

Photo by Ava Young.

I had already competed in my two flat classes. My next class was a jumping course meant to mimic second field hunting. There was a course of nine cross country jumps all under a foot and a half tall. I must have had at least four stops on that course! There was also a water crossing and a stop where I was asked a foxhunting trivia question. Our water crossing was less than ideal and my trainer had to come out on course and lead us through.

I kept going and it came time for my trivia question. A lady wearing a scarlet red hunt jacket sat on top of a Belgian cross (the third coincidence of the day is that lady would become my boss a year later). She asked me what “Tally Ho” meant. After my third try and some guidance from my future boss I finally got it right — it means to spot a fox. Our final task was to make way for horse and rider. When the Belgian cantered past us, my horse shot him a dirty look. To this day I will never forget how the Belgian bucked several times in a row leaving the audience speechless (the final coincidence of the day is that horse would someday become my favorite to exercise).

Photo by Jen Young.

I had so much fun that day and I came home feeling like I had won the Kentucky Three-Day Event (even though I hadn’t even heard of it at the time).

All my coincidences, all my little moments. They all make me who I am today. Every person who has come into my life has come for a reason. Perhaps they have come for something little or something big. Every struggle, every victory, and every moment in between; everything in life fits together like a puzzle. Some pieces set the corners and the edges — they are the things and the people who hold me together. The inside pieces are smaller but are every bit important. All my pieces are all something little, something important, and they are all apart of who I am today, in my own little puzzle.

I want to thank every trainer, mentor, rider, classmate, friend, relative, parent, sibling, role model, teacher, and horse who have made me who I am today. You make my little things, you build my dreams, and for that you are irreplaceable.