Who Are We Riding For?

Skybreaker at the GMHA Jumper Challenge last year. Photo credit to David Frechette. Skybreaker at the GMHA Jumper Challenge last year. Photo credit to David Frechette.

Last week, I found myself walking through a revolving door into a hospital. As I made my way in, I was completely caught off guard by the talented pianist playing right smack in the middle of the lobby. Even though I only see my doctor once a year, never before had I come across live music. I stopped, stood there and this eerie calm overtook me. I knew I had to check in with the receptionist, but that piano lured me in, and I was helpless. After three solid minutes, I took a deep breath, smiled at the pianist and made me way towards the waiting room.

That music hit me hard. Otherwise, what would have been an ordinary and uneventful Wednesday afternoon turned into a series of painful, yet desirable memories, along with sudden nostalgic flashbacks. Hearing music coming from a piano instantaneously reminds me of my father, who was a professional pianist. He was everything to me, and I can still hear him playing music for my sisters, my mom and I. Hearing music like that instantly takes me to my childhood, where there were soccer balls, ice cream, fights with my sisters in the back seat of our station wagon and not a worry in the world. I never want to forget my father, and hearing music coming from a piano from time to time reminds me of who I am and who I want to be.

Does it ever cross your mind who you are riding for? Do you ride for you and nobody else? Is your riding, your horse and your training solely about you and nobody else? There’s no right or wrong answer here, but rather individual stories. What makes you get up every day and go ride your horse? Why do you ride, and what made you start riding in the beginning? Do you actually love horses, or are you extremely competitive? Do you wish someone could watch you ride who has never seen you ride? Is a support system important for you, or could you care less if you have others to share your happiness with?

I would like to say I ride for me alone and nobody else. But that’s no entirely true. My family and I are joined at the hips, and we are extremely close. What appears to be my life and my world is actually my entire family’s lives and my entire family’s world. For me, it’s all interconnected, and when I have a family someday, I went to pass along this closeness and this undeniable support network to the next generation.

If I could have one person see me ride today, it would be father. If I could have him back just for one day, I would show him what I have learned and what I am so incredibly passionate about. He was fanatic about music, the piano and his family. That passion was transferred from my father to me, and I am eternally grateful for this captivating and consuming way of life. I would love for him to see me ride and compete. I would love for him to see me teaching, and taking lessons. I would have loved for him to see me jump 4’9” last fall, to see me training my mare and to see it all. I would love to say that I ride for me and nobody else, but in reality, I think sometimes I ride for my father, and thinking about his tenacious personality keeps me motivated and keeps me reaching out toward my dreams.

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