Three Little Rascals
Updated: May 11, 2021
Bigfoot, BJ, and Buckwheat are expensive pets; at least that's what I overheard my boyfriend say on the phone. In all honesty, he is correct. I haven't ridden my horses in two years, and before that, I can’t remember.
On this exact day, seven years ago, I competed in my very first barrel and relay race. Thank God for Facebook because I don't have any videos from the barrel race, only a picture. The relay race still gives me chills, and I still remember the feeling of freedom and greatness. I was neither in the significant leagues competing in these races nor winning a giant trophy or check. I won a sense of accomplishment and pride.
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a barrel racer. My dad used to take me to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (HLSR) almost every day after school and ballet practice to see the rodeo. I used to eat my subway sandwiches sit behind the bucking bull shoot in the AstroDome, watching the women barrel racers, and I knew I wanted to be a barrel racer. I never saw a black woman competing on the circuit, and I wanted to be the 1st black woman to compete as a barrel racer at HLSR. During this time, my dad promised to buy me a horse, but only if I attended Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU).
Fast-forwarding to 2006, keeping his promise, my dad bought me a horse during my sophomore/junior year at PVAMU. One horse turned into two, which turned into four, then six, and now back to four. Now, I don't have the horse anymore, but I do have her sons, and her spirit is in her boys. I have a laundry list of reasons, fears, and insecurities when it comes to riding again. I am holding myself accountable for my fears, insecurities, thoughts, and ideas within this blog.
I read the article “Leading from Within” by Parker Palmer. Palmer writes of leaning into our doubts, fears, and insecurities to lead with trust, faith, and hope. In every aspect of our lives, we grow. Adults, children, parents, professionals, and students alike demand us to dig deep within ourselves to understand our truths and fears. Palmer explains that the inner journey is a scary situation that requires us to unravel and address our truths. Honestly, I have been injured, banged up, and bruised more times riding horses than I have ever been in my life; I even broke a saddle.
Despite having a daughter, I still dream of competing as a professional barrel racer. Every time I think about competing, I have arm chills, the hair on the back of my neck stands, my eyes water, and I become anxious and nervous as I watch my relay race from seven years ago. I see my proud, excited dad and my supportive mother, and I realize I have the kind of team support that most experienced riders, and professional cowboys and cowgirls, do not have. Truthfully, I miss the escape, the bond, the freedom, and the power horses have. I know I have to make time for them and my dream.
Palmer, P. (2000). Leading From Within. In P. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved 22 April 2021, from http://www.couragerenewal.org/parker/writings/leading-from-within.