“Daddy, please stop the car! Pleassse!” We were driving by a horse farm on a rural road near my home. The horses and ponies dotted the pastures, and one very plump Palomino pony was near the fence. He was irresistible, and my dad knew that this desire to be near horses was unquenchable.
“Jill, I don’t have time. Now stop whining!” My dad said in his gruffest voice.
I stifled a sob. I was five years old, and totally and utterly in love with horses. Knowing that riding a horse or taking lessons was out of the question, I moaned deep within my spirit.
At seven years old, I had learned to negotiate a bike, and I would steal away on day time excursions to this farm. For hours, I would watch the horses, laugh at their antics, and entice them with carrots I had taken from our refrigerator. They were unkempt and mangy, but to me they were valiant stallions. I would breathe deeply their scent, and it seared itself into my heart. Someday, I don’t know how, but I will own a horse, I said to myself!
I was unwavering in my decision. As soon as I graduated from college and got my first “real job” I signed up for three lessons at a stable close to my home.
Riding with tiny children that rode like champions was almost too much to take, but people my age were not starting lessons they were already accomplished riders. I stood out like vanilla in a sea of chocolate. I was in the beginner class, and the lazy Appaloosa that I rode every lesson was happy with one speed, super slow. I wanted to gallop and jump like I had seen the more advanced riders. It would take me three painstakingly long years.
Then the opportunity of a life time presented itself. A just-turned-four-year-old broken-down Thoroughbred cross was for sale. His bones jutting out against the scruffy red-bay gelding. His name was Raise Your Dreams, and his eyes, large and expressive were begging me to save him. I did not know that he would save me too.
Working in a job I hated, a broken engagement, and a life spiraling out of control, Raise Your Dreams gave me a reason to live. He was extremely bright, and I learned one of the most essential lessons a rider can grasp, a horse needs a reason to do what is being asked. Once I grasped this coveted concept, I excelled in my riding. I even rode with an Olympic coach who saw in me a heart destined for learning. People would remark about the beauty of my magnificent steed, his coat glistened, his eyes were bright and alert, his ears flicking in accordance with the aides (signals) I was giving him.
My heart still yearning for more, I became a certified riding instructor, and taught at premiere farms in southern New Jersey. Then something happened that was a true miracle.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. I began a relationship with Jesus. My life would never be the same! What He gave me was far beyond my wildest dreams………………………………….
(this story will continue)