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BLOG: All in my stride

Jade Mariani - January Blog

Me on my instructor’s lesson horse, Ozzie.

 

By Jade Mariani

I started riding in January of 2016 at the age of 18, which still makes me relatively new to the equestrian world. Despite having loved these animals my entire life (a passion I definitely inherited from my mum), money never stretched far enough for me to afford lessons as a child. When I got my first job at the age of 15, I became excited at the prospect that if I could just find a nearby school to take lessons, my dream could finally become a reality! Somewhere along the way though, this search become a smaller priority as I struggled to juggle my job with senior years of high school, where I graduated and began a degree in Law and Communication and Media Studies (which I am now about to start my third year of).
   
My cousins took me on my first trail ride in 2015, but it wasn’t until later that year I eventually discovered a nearby agistment facility that offered occasional lessons. I spent the first 9 months of my riding journey at this place, where I learned many lessons – both in life, and horsemanship. Just 9 months after my first lesson, I was offered the opportunity to lease an off the track Thoroughbred. While things didn’t go to plan and the arrangement never eventuated, it was a great testament to my abilities as a rider and my passion for the animal.

 

Jade Mariani - January Blog

Me on ex-racehorse Moriarty, the OTT I was offered to lease.



I ended up leaving that school soon after, where I found myself a new instructor who has now become one of the most supportive people in my life. I couldn’t be happier with the progress I’ve now been making, and in the short time I’ve been with her I’ve achieved more than I thought I was ever capable of. Competing in 2017 is even on the cards! My confidence as a person and as a member of the equestrian community has improved exponentially, and for the first time my age has become an unimportant factor.

While I know that 18 is not ‘old’ in many people’s eyes, when starting a sport for the first time I think it’s perhaps seen as uncommon to not begin as a child. While my age never stopped me from taking lessons (I’d like to see something that could!), I can now understand why it might scare a lot of people. During the first 9 months of my riding journey, I faced a number of challenges that not only made me question my worth as a rider, but as a person. I would come home from some lessons in tears, questioning my position in the equestrian community without years of horsemanship experience behind me. Today, I can acknowledge that my worth doesn’t come from my talents as a rider, but rather as a person who loves horses.

In March 2016, I created a website called All In My Stride (allinmystride.com) for a university project. I decided to create a platform where I could share my riding experiences, and talk about my lessons through blog posts. I hope I can inspire people in similar situations to overcome their fear of starting something new, and to realise their worth as more than their experience.

So, I’m no longer viewing my delayed entrance to the equine world as a weakness. It’s my strength. I truly believe that waiting 18 years to get in the saddle helped me realise how much I belong in it. After all, “strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

 

Jade Mariani - January Blog

Me on Ozzie, continuing our riding journey.


You can read more about Jade's riding journey on her website, allinmystride.com!

Images courtesy of Jade Mariani.

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