An Open Letter From a Young Rider to Adult Amateurs

Emma's father, Mark Knight, teaching her and their shared horse Beau. Photo courtesy of Emma Knight.  Emma's father, Mark Knight, teaching her and their shared horse Beau. Photo courtesy of Emma Knight.

To the adult amateur riders in our equestrian community:

I think as a young rider (I’m 18), I often forget to thank the older, wiser riders in my life. So many people have inspired me and given me the confidence to get to where I am now. Of course, there are trainers and coaches and barn moms and friends (maybe they’ll get their own articles someday!). They all play a part. Yet I think the most underrated influences are the adult riders who inspire me on a daily basis.

As someone who has just started college, I’m thinking more and more about the role horses will have in my life. I love riding, caring for, and just being around my equine counterparts. But the logical and reasoning part of my brain has a different opinion.

There’s a reason the saying goes, “To earn a million dollars in the equestrian world, you have to start with two!” As a (shockingly) non-millionaire, this is something that is important to think about. I have to find a career that I love that can allow me to at least hope for the continuation of my love of the equine community.

My barn at home is full of adult amateur riders, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! The friends my age that I have made are awesome for being silly and having fun, but the adults who are always there add that extra spark to the barn that makes it such a great place.

Not only do we have the best manager and coaches, the adults, both boarders and lesson riders, are always willing to give some advice or help out when needed. I know I’ve had my fair share of problems and rough days, and there are some people that are always there for me. And when was the last time I thanked them? I mean, really thanked them.

The people that continually inspire me, time after time, are the people that make it work. These are the people who don’t ride professionally, who don’t have two million bucks to spend; these are the extra shift takers, who deal with that extra stress to afford the lessons they need or that piece of tack that just make all the difference; these are the people who get up on Saturday morning to muck stalls to help with board; these are the people who would rather pay for the vet bill than fix their cars; these are the people work every bit as hard as the professional rider with half the recognition; these are the people that will take in that rescue horse because they can’t bear to let it suffer anymore, even when it means funds might be stretched tight for a while; these are the people that volunteer for early show mornings to help out with anything they can, as much as they can.

These are the people that take chances. These are the people who will risk it all for love of their sport.

So, to you, these people, the adult amateur riders of the equestrian world, I thank you. Thank you for working hard. Thank you for making it work. Thank you for giving me the hope I need to continue reaching for my goals. Without you, our community would miss out on a whole lot of great people, fine horses, and a ridiculous amount of hope. I think I can speak for the whole community when I say that we are so blessed and grateful to have you.

About Emma: I’ve been riding for six years, plan to start my college’s first equestrian club, and share a lovable but fiery OTTB named Beau with my dad, Mark. We plan to take Beau to his first eventing competitions next summer!