Hello! I am Natalie, I am a 15 year-old stroppy teenager, who sits in a dark room on Facebook and never goes out. This is what we could be described as by stereotypes. Let’s just say people should never judge the book by its cover. Horse riding has become my full time hobby and it is now my life. Here is my story…
It all began when I was about 4 years old. I lived in Poland with my mum, dad, and sister, for about 10 years before my mum and dad split up. I played with ‘My Little Ponies’ to keep my self occupied during my times of boredom. Every year for my birthday I was given a new book (reading was another hobby of mine) about horses. 2 years flew by and before realising it, I ended up with a few books which I used to read every night before bed. That used to be my bed-time story when my mum and dad did not have anytime for that ‘nonsense’.
Book by book I became more interested in horses. I wanted to try horse riding. However, first step for me would be finding out what that all the technical terms meant and what they were. As my research slowly came to an end, it was time to achieve – the second part of the journey. There weren’t much places to horse ride in Poland. Only in some festivals – if you were lucky you were able to sit on a horse and walk round on a lead. Let me guess what you are thinking… boring, right?
The time came and my parents split up when I was 6. My mum decided to moved to England when I was 10, for a better job, fresh start and even a ‘new’ life. It was a massive life change, not only in me but for the rest of my families’ too. This change gave me a great opportunity, but I didn’t know that back then. On arriving to England, I started at an English school where it was really hard for me, where Polish is my first language and therefore English becoming my language – which was not very good at the time.
Another 2 years went on, I ended up in a new school where I met my horse loving friend, Joy. We became really close friends over time, leading to us being best friends. Joy had a horse called Pumpkin and she invited me to go and see her at the stables, which was a perfect opportunity to help me finish off my goal and achieve! Did you think I would ever say no to an opportunity like this?!
One thing though, nobody told me that horses can get addictive and become your passion. I guess you have to experience it to decide for yourself though. I spent at every Saturday at the stables, if you think this is a lot of time, wait for the next bit of the story. I found my ‘favourite’ pony at the stables called Bruno. He was so handsome and correct, I was amazed. As time went on I came to the yard 4 days a week, making new friends became and getting more experience. I started having lessons in return for helping out at the stables. I have always wanted to ride Bruno, he looked so lovely to ride, but he was for only experienced riders, which was upsetting. Every lesson was a challenge – horse riding is not a sport where your ‘equipment’ always co-operates with you.
Nonetheless, I met Bruno’s owner Caroline. She seemed like a extremely sweet and kind lady. I gave her my help with the Bruno, which turned into a free lesson. This was when I rode Bruno for the first time, 5th of May 2013. Hard work always pays off. I carried on helping, it got me and Caroline closer also, to realise that Caroline is trustworthy and a good friend you can rely on. She had become my instructor and I had plenty of lessons on Bruno. Lesson after lesson I became a better and a stronger rider. I excelled onto competitions with Bruno, like dressage (which we won!) and showing classes.
Sometimes I felt quite negative, unmotivated and upset, that could of been the result of my first fall. I was cantering fast in an open space, when Bruno came to a sudden stop which was completely unexpected causing me to fly straight off. It was a big shock, but you have to stay as strong as your horse and never give up. They will always test you with how much they can get away with. Horses are amazing creatures. People say that they have been created to stand for speed, strength and loyalty – which I think is spot on!
It is so astonishing how one horse can change your life. This story proves that staying ambitious and not giving up is a way to be, and that way you can be living your dream.
Thanks for reading,