"I would be honored for you to post my column on your blog! I am very touched that your mother-in-law took the time to send you my story."
Michelle comes to Colorado a lot ,and since we have family in the Tampa area....maybe someday she and I will meet up and talk horses! Well here is the column...enjoy!
Always Say Giddy-up to your Dreams!
By Michelle Bearden
There it was, absolute proof of the very beginning of a lifelong obsession.
I found it after my dad died, while going through old boxes stored in his closet. A black-and-white photo, slightly yellowed with age, of a giddy 10-year-old me sitting on a pony. I was grinning ear-to-ear.
I apparently wasn't self-conscious about my lack of front teeth, and my spotted pint-sized steed certainly wasn't camera shy about his awful haircut. He looked a little like Moe from The Three Stooges.
With a cowgirl hat perched on my head, I was obviously trying to channel Dale Evans, one of my childhood heroines. Never mind that ol' Moe and I weren't galloping across the Western plains in pursuit of cattle thieves. Instead, we were firmly planted in front of our very suburban brick house in Royal Oak, Mich.
Moe was just a rent-a-pony. And I was just a birthday girl living her dream.
A lot of little girls love horses. Hasbro has made a lot of money capitalizing on that with its "My Little Pony" line. But most usually grow out of it. I never did.
It only got worse when my parents tried to placate me by sending me off to summer camp at Black River Farm and Ranch in Croswell for several years. They thought the hands-on horse experience you got there for a few weeks each summer would be enough. Not even close. I cried buckets of tears when the session ended, knowing another girl would be taking my place in the barn and the riding ring.
Life wasn't fair!
I grew up and became a newspaper reporter, a job that didn't require a saddle. The career required that I live in cities, and I never made enough money to have a horse of my own. So the dream stayed alive only in my imagination.
I made friends with people lucky enough to own horses, and I rode whenever I got the occasional invite. I shelled out a considerable sum of money for trail rides when I went on vacations to the mountains or beach. I bought horse books and went to horse movies. I even bought a house near a local stable so I could see and smell horses when I took my dog on her morning walk.
But a horse of my very own? It seemed so elusive, so impossible.
Larry Jacobson understands. As a boy, he fixated on sailboats, staring at the majestic vessels moored in the docks off Long Beach, Calif. He dreamed of living on the high seas and visiting exotic ports all over the globe.
Real life got in the way. He rose up the corporate ladder and his passion took a back seat. In his mid-40s, he decided it was time to make it a priority. His book, "The Boy Behind the Gate: How His Dreams of Sailing Around the World Became a Six-Year Odyssey of Adventure, Fear, Discovery and Love," tells the story how he came up with a plan that would change his life.
Through sacrifice and determination, he accomplished his goal on his 50-foot Stevens sailboat. He no longer feels as if he's chasing something elusive. If he died today, he says, "I would know that I did everything I wanted to do."
The book is a fun, inspiring read. "Maybe it sounds a little trivial, but I believe if you can dream it, then you can do it," he says. His advice: Write it down. Overcome the fear. And most important, persevere.
Forty-two years after sitting on that pony, I got my first horse.
A year later, I got a second one. And a year after that, I fell off the first and broke my pelvis. (This is a rite of passage for cowgirls. I'm back in the saddle again and a much better rider.)
I sometimes have to pinch myself and say it out loud — "I have two horses !" The experience is everything and more than I imagined it would be. The time spent with my Rocky Mountain girls, Coco Chanel and Savannah, is precious and exhilarating. The more I seem to learn about horses, the less I seem to know. So we're on this wonderful journey together that brings new challenges and builds happy memories.
My horses have put an exclamation point on my life, which was pretty darn good to begin with.
Whether your passion is sailboats or horses, or something else that seems completely out of reach, don't let your dream fade away. Do what it takes to make it happen. You will never regret it.