A check mark push of my outside leg sends us into a canter and we are gliding. The gentle rocking soothes me; the wind across my face exhilarates me.
I steer him over a jump and we fly. For one split second, we defy gravity, completely weightless before hitting the ground again.
And for that second all sound cuts out, his pounding hooves and heavy breathing cease, leaving only the rush of the wind to fill my ears.
We land and it begins again.
Nothing in this world beats that feeling. It’s what I live for.
I feel light as air as our ride comes to an end. My mood as high as it can get. I lead him back to the barn with a smile on my face. I feel as close to him as ever, and I know he feels the same. We are as connected as we can be; something no one can ever take from us.
Before I leave, I stroke his nose, that forever soft velvety nose, and whisper to him that I will be back tomorrow.
And I will. I always come back.
I complete the day with a kiss on that plush and warm nose, once again breathing in his scent, and drive away feeling whole and fulfilled. I am at my best.
Sophia Catania is a senior at Cazenovia High School and a college applicant. Her writing sample was submitted by English teacher Kris Denton. Additional students’ writings will be published in the following weeks.