University of Michigan
Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.
100 - 300 words
(University of Michigan)
As the first horse walked in for the HJAM hunter derby in May, I sat on the grassy hill overlooking the show grounds with my friends and the “big girls” for the first time. In just a few years, I would be one of the “big girls” that the younger kids would look up to. Brought together by long horse show days highlighted by donkey races in Kentucky, boat days in Traverse City, and “Ride and Drives” in Ohio, the group of riders that compete at the horse shows have become my friends for life.
Starting in the early 2010’s, when all of us rode ponies, everyone began to come out of their shell as we bonded over our love for this sport. Jumping the “kid jumps” until it was too dark, our group became inseparable, and Sundays, the last day of a horse show, became increasingly dreaded as it meant we had to say goodbye until the next show.
Trading in ponies for horses and bows for hair nets, we became engaged in much more mature activities- like water fights and golf cart races. Beginning to conquer bigger divisions and national finals, riding became more serious, however, being surrounded by this community kept it light hearted as we cheered each other on ringside.
Entering into my final junior year as a rider, I have trouble believing that I have become one of the “big girls” as it seems just yesterday I gazed up at my mentors on the hill almost a decade ago. Knowing that the friendships I have made will last a lifetime, I am forever grateful to the early mornings and long nights that brought us together and cannot wait to watch where each of us end up: both inside and outside of the ring.