I realised at a relatively young age I loved horses. My parents gave me two sets of group riding lessons on Long Island around 1970 and allowed me to participate in the riding school’s horse show. I was very excited about the lessons and show but sadly my parents were not able to let me continue to ride. I never lost my love, enthusiasm and desire to reconnect with horses, but didn’t see a means of doing so again on my own. Life took its course, I grew older, worked in the insurance industry, got married, had children. It wasn’t until my children were grown and out of the house that my thoughts returned to horses once again.
I started riding lessons in 2019 as an adult and my soul immediately responded with love for these beautiful animals. I truly believe Hashem had heard my need for horses when I was younger and granted me an opportunity to connect once again. I have felt G-d’s presence in my life before as well as connection through prayer to my grandparents that had passed.
My riding lessons increased from once a week to twice, and then three times a week as my desire to ride continued to flourish. Next, I half-leased a horse to ride more and then made the ultimate life changing decision to buy a horse of my own. Primoroso (or Primo for short) came into my life in July 2021. My happiness has continued to soar and my gut tells me horse ownership was meant for me all along.
Horse showing had been a goal in the back of my mind since my first lesson as an adult. The memory of my wonderful day at the school show as a ten- year old had never left me. I participated in a local Long Island show last summer and had a fulfilling experience. However, when the opportunity to horse show at World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida was presented to me, I was thrilled. World Equestrian Center (or WEC for short) is a newer venue with dozens of riding rings, shops and a five star hotel on its premises. It offers everything and anything an equestrian could ever want including the most beautiful show grounds both indoor and outdoor. WEC is striving to attract the best-of-the-best in rider, horses and competition. The center attracts riders from around the country as well as international competitors.
My initial registration was for a beginner walk-trot groundpoles class. However, I had been toying within my own head about competing in the adult cross rails jumping class even though I had only jumped 2 cross rails on Primoroso the entire time I have owned him. I worked up the courage to ask my trainer to enter the cross rails competition and was advised it wasn’t a good idea for various reasons. However, the following day I viewed the entries in the cross rails competition group and to my surprise there was a horse named Manichewitz competing. This was my clear signal from G-d that I should enter the competition. Then in a surprising turn of events, my trainer changed her stance. If the jumping trainer who works with the advanced riders gives me a cross rails jump lesson and agrees to let me enter the class, I can do so. After two lessons, I received clearance to compete. I wanted to beat Manichewitz!
I tossed and turned the night before the competition, anxious for my morning ahead. My barn friend Dana and I were up early and left the house at 6:15am to get to WEC in time for my 7:30am start.
My pre-competition routine kicked in as I traveled in the car. First, my prayers to Hashem for his blessing in making this a successful day. Second, my prayer to someone I have never met before named Becca Weissbard. Becca won gold in the Maccabiah games in Israel in 2013 in show jumping and is the daughter of the stable owner. Becca tragically passed in 2016 in a show jumping accident at a horse show. My prayers were made to Becca to grant me some of her courage. Finally, I listened to Whitney Houston sing “One Moment In Time”. The song was my final piece of encouragement. This was all going along well until my phone rang in the midst of the Whitney song. Valerie, the caller asked me to take the barn owner’s spurs that were left by mistake in the house. Unfortunately, I had already left for the show. I made-due with a little interruption to my Whitney moment; but overall felt fairly confident I had done all I could to ensure a positive morning.
In the end, the competition was a great success. Although I didn’t beat Manishewitz jumping cross rails I had a triumphant event and jumped more cross rails in competition than I had ever jumped before. I firmly believe Hashem, Becca and Whitney all contributed to making my first cross rails competition exceed my expectations. I firmly believe G-d listens to our prayers and wishes are often granted. Those that have passed hear us, connect with us and are guiding us.