What does riding mean to you? Why do you ride? What is the purpose of riding?
Today I have a completely different outlook on a simple everyday blessing for me- riding.
I used to ride because I felt "free" and loved the "independence" of just a horse and rider moving in unison. Riding was always exhilarating. Riding had a magical charm for me, that whatever was going on in my life I could simply ride and it would melt into ordinary circumstances that were sizable to defeat. Riding was something so dear to me, I couldn't imagine living without riding and horses. I rode for myself, I rode for what I loved, and I rode because riding made me happy. (Kind of a lame reason, huh?)
Yesterday morning I still was thinking of riding in those terms.... until....
My friend, Debi Ernst, who helped train me and my horse to work together as a team, who was a horse trainer at my ranch, passed away yesterday morning when she fell off her horse and broke her neck. She was just going to go out for a simple ride. Did she know it was going to be her last? A man who lived across the road found her horse loose in his front yard. They found her body soon after and her neck was snapped in two. She died alone and they say it was quick.
Her death is incredible to understand. But it started me thinking. What if it had been me? What if it was MY horse the man found and MY body dead? If riding is obviously so dangerous why do you ride? Why not be content petting a horse in a pasture? Why do you have to get on it's back and race around?......... Why? The Answer: Because in riding we all taste a piece of heaven that my friend is now enjoying for eternity.
I decided that I can't give up riding. But I'm not going to ride just for myself. I'm going to ride for a purpose. I ride for all my family and friends who believe in me and are counting down the days until I win the Kentucky Derby. I ride for Mrs. Ernst. I ride for all the people who have never been able to live their dream. I ride for the Glory and Honor of God.
Ride with a Purpose. What is your purpose?
Rest in Peace, Mrs. Ernst. We will never forget all you have done to make us the horse and rider we are today. We love you, Elle and Ash