This is Ella and the pony Cupcake...I can't possibly think of anything more adorable than a pony named Cupcake. Unless it is a little girl with braids and saggy riding pants sitting up on top of the cutest pony named Cupcake. Cuteness personified.
I have a list of happy places that I conjure up when needed - the beach, skiing, a trail in the woods. But recently standing alongside a dusty ring with flies buzzing my ears is my happiest of happy places. Because Im watching this awesomeness. My little girl rides ponies. And she doesn't do it because I love it, she does it because she loves it. And biased as I may be, she is pretty good!
I love the look of determination on her face. I love the way she gets tough and gets big ol Cupcake to do just what Ella wants. I've seen Ella get nervous a few times while riding or working around the ponies. Her eyes get a little big as she looks over to me, I nod with an encouraging smile. She sets her jaw and tries again. She is learning that she is strong and capable. She is learning to be sensitive and caring. I hope these lessons will stick with her on the playground and in the classroom. And maybe just maybe in the show ring next summer.
My mom always drove me to horse shows in the dark mornings. Each time she reminded me, "you go in that ring with your head held high! Think of saying to the judge, look at me! Im here to win!" These words have echoed on the way to college interviews, job interviews, and countless other times when nerves have threatened to take over. And now Im passing it on to my little girl.