We’re pleased to be bringing you the first entries of our International Equestrian Blogging Contest. Remember, you can still enter as long as all three of your blogs are submitted by September 30. You can find full rules here.

An 11-Year-Old, by Abbigayle Harnish

“Green on green equals black and blue.” It didn’t scare eleven year old me. I was determined to get that newborn, bay filly. I didn’t just want the foal, I wanted to know everything about horses. When I wasn’t with them, I was reading about them; and although Blossom still got a bit spoiled, and had a bit of cow feed at one point (no harm done), that predetermined fate somehow escaped us.

Kind of.

Everything started out perfect: the frolicking foals, big fields, a barn full of hay, and lots of enthusiastic help. Then, she was weaned from her mother, and both of us were weaned from the ‘easy life’.

I brought a foal to live on one unprepared acre. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was only concerned with having fun. No matter that every day meant I had to carry water pails 300 feet, pull hay from underneath a tarp on a trailer (because the barn wasn’t complete) and ‘tie up’ her hernia (oh yea, not a deal breaker either).

I never imagined that owning a horse on my non-existent, preteen budget would mean bagging my own sawdust from a mill. I’d take empty feed bags, get on my knees and shovel like a cat. And it seems ironic to me now that a country girl had to hand graze her horse in order for the horse to get some fresh grass. Then came winter; I learned how to unroll a round bail the wrong way first, turns out you need to go all the way around.

I did stuff I laugh at now, like using a shovel and a garden hoe like a broom and dust pan in the stable, dad stopped me there when he caught me. He did share his knowledge sometimes. Otherwise, trial and error, trial and error.

I was far from the dream; a farm like the one Blossom was born on, seeing her have her own foal, and taking her to a jumping show. I was still years away from just getting to ride my horse.

I miss my old zest, I had more patience to wait years then I have now to wait days. I believed through it all, that my dreams would come true.

I never could have imagined what I’d come to realize. Like how black and blue wouldn’t have to be on account of a kick, bite or throw from my horse, but rather a slip down a wet manure pile, trip through a hay string, or just a hard days work and a bruised ego.

How I’d face heartbreak when my dreams of foals and jumping disappeared and left me uninspired. Or how my personal life would develop, and how hard I’d have to fight to just have time for my horse.

No day was a day a kid envisions when they imagine their own horse in the backyard. It was work and I still can’t believe I managed, even with the limitless support from my family.

But I made it because I have Blossom, who is brave and bold. And even now, eleven years later, it’s still the best feeling in the world.