The Bumpy Road Sarah Savasta

With all of the bumps on the road to Long Island, it was hard to think. Yet the fact that I was sitting in the back of a truck about to pick up my very first horse was not about to escape my mind. So many thoughts were racing through my head on this beautiful March day, it was going to be the best day of my life. Easy Money, or “Moe” for short, is now my horse. Little did we know, we are about to start a journey that is just about as bumpy as the road it started on.

This was the day we picked up Moe!

Over the next few months we start to get to know each other, it was not always easy and there was definitely some troubles. Moe always seemed to have some anxiety around the mounting block (this is what you use to get on), but we were starting to make some good progress. So my mom and I decided that it is time to bring him to his first show. We cleaned all the tack that we would need and we gave Moe a bath until his coat shined. Everything was loaded up and we hauled it over to the show grounds. Once we got there I walked Moe around so he could see everything and get more comfortable. My plan was to get on for a quick ride.

This was the right before we started to get on.

Walking up to the mounting block like we always do, I could feel him tense up and get nervous. I had my mom and my trainer holding Moe so he wouldn’t move, having all of these people around him made him even more nervous. The second that I touched the saddle he exploded… bucking. I flew into the air landing on the hard ground in front of him. I wasn't physically hurt but I didn't know what to think, I was upset, scared, hurt emotionally, but most of all I was confused. "Why did he do that to me?" I kept saying. We made up excuses as to why this had happened, we just thought I was nervous which made him nervous. So we continued as planned and my mom was to ride the next day.

She tacked up and went to get on. He did the exact same thing to her! She landed flat on her back and was in huge amounts of pain. Seeing your mother lying on the ground in pain is traumatizing for a daughter to witness. Our horse is dangerous and my mother is hurt.

“He’s going back.” My mom said right after she fell.

“Back to the barn?” I asked.

“No, back to New York where he belongs.” My mom answered.

Devastated, the next few months we were making arrangements to send him back. We could never trust him again. Or so we thought.

At the same time, we decided to take lessons at a different barn with another trainer to grow my riding career. It was important to move on from our experience with Moe. I took my very first lesson at Willow Brook Farm and I absolutely loved it. After talking to the trainer about Moe, she instantly wanted to meet him and see if he had any potential. We had three days until the seller would pick him up, but we wanted to give it a chance. We brought Moe to Willow Brook.

Happy as can be at his new home.

In the right hands and the right environment, his behavior improves! The new barn has talented riders to help him reach his full potential. They decide to give him horse treats when he is at the mounting block to calm his nerves. It is looking hopeful, but can I ever trust him again? Can I get over my fear and ride him again?

This is Sydney and Moe.

After about a month and a half of consistent training I know it’s time. I am nervous but super excited, I have missed riding my horse for so long. When it was my turn to get on, I took a deep breath, put my foot in the stirrup and got on. He stood perfectly still. I started walking around and getting used to riding Moe again. We start to reconnect.

Such a happy day!
My mom back on Moe!
Our first jump since March

I was so happy and proud that we had both come so far. For the longest time I thought my last ride on Moe would be the day that he bucked me off and it pained me to think about it like that. Now I think about it in the way that it was the biggest growing experience that I have ever been through. I have gained even more trust and love with Moe. Even though I have fallen off several times, it comes with the sport. You are going to fall, you are going to be in pain, and some days there might be tears but life is all about getting back on the horse.

My favorite view.

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