How a horse taught me partnership

What is something that you are most proud of?

The first ride I had on Gnocchi was awful. He was a project horse who didn’t “listen” to my leg, seat, or hand; aids that help me communicate with a horse. He wouldn’t stand still for me to tack him up or mount him. When I actually rode him, he trotted in circles so quickly that my knuckles went white from gripping the reins. Gnocchi would get spooked at normal barn sounds, like a stall door being opened. It made riding him quite a challenging task. I didn’t give up on him.

Giving up isn’t in my genes. When my family is faced with a problem, we work through it no matter what hurdles stand in our way. I spent hours grooming Gnocchi until he learned to stand still for me. I figured out a way to move the mounting block so Gnocchi would not step back when I got on him. I rode him consistently until he didn’t get spooked anymore.

One beautiful, unusually hot September day I went to the barn after school. As I walked towards the gate to get Gnocchi from the field, he trotted over to me, whinnying. I brought him inside and he stood very still while I groomed him and got ready. Because he was being so good, I decided to push the limits and ride outside instead of in the indoor arena. We normally rode in the indoor because there are...

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