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When I was nine years old, my life changed forever. My mom passed away. During her pregnancy with me, she became sick, and her hereditary pulmonary hypertension came to light. Google’s definition of the ailment is “A type of high blood pressure that affects arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart”. Sadly her pulmonary hypertension came with a shortened life expectancy. In the short time we had with her, my older sister Hadley begged her to ride horses. My mom fell in love with horses, she was always so happy around them and enjoyed watching the horses be themselves.
Thanks to my mom, my sister, Hadley, and I got into horseback riding. We started riding when we were four and six years old, and my mom quickly realized it wasn’t just a phase. Before she passed away, she made sure my dad knew how much riding meant to us and that we couldn’t stop just because she passed away. She worked to ensure that my dad and family knew that we had to keep riding after she was gone.
I remember, clear as day, when I went to the barn for the first time after my mom passed away. I sat in my horse, Flair’s, stall just hugging him and crying. I proceeded to have an amazing bareback hack with Flair. Through the following months, he helped me so much. I’m so thankful that my mom made sure my sister and I would still be able to ride when she was gone. If she hadn’t done this, I don’t know what we would’ve done.
My mom made sure my sister and I had an incredible, supportive family when her time was up. She provided us with an everlasting love for the magnificent animals that have brought many of us to Herd of Zebras, horses. She knew that she wouldn't be around to teach about life when we were older, but that the horses could teach us.
The barn became my security when she died. It was a place I could go and feel my mother's love and presence. Riding brings back amazing memories and helps me be connected to my mom. It can be tough without her here and being in this crazy sport. But luckily, I have been with amazing barn families that help me out when I need it. I don’t have to feel jealous of everyone with their moms at the shows able to help them out.
Being part of the herd showed me it’s okay to not be like others, and even if you didn’t have something horrible or tragic happen to you, you still are part of the amazing community. Herd of Zebras has been such an amazing community for all equestrians. I’m thankful I have been part of the herd and can’t wait for the future.For more of my journey, follow me on Instagram: @makeyourmarkequestrian