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.