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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

A Horse at College

Samantha Strub

(3/10) Horses-beautiful, incredible creatures that every little girl falls in love with. Those crazy horse kids have every horse statue, are always engrossed in horse books, and constantly beg their parents for a horse of their own. When this phase happened to me, my parents thought that I would outgrow the "horse fever" and move on to a different activity. That, however, didn't happen-I stayed completely enamored by these wondrous creatures.

They were my whole world. I stayed this way through high school: even though I was involved in a lot of different activities, horses were always my passion. The barn was the place I went to when things got rough. Just being around these amazing animals brought me up when I was down and gave me a reason to keep going. Despite all the stressful competitions, races, expenses, and drama that came with owning a horse, I found it all worthwhile. In her own special way, my horse, Sona, was always standing beside me, helping me go on.

When I was picking a college, it was a no brainer that Sona would come with me. Everyone thought I was crazy to bring a horse from Wisconsin all the way to Maryland. Practical questions were raised by my family and all my friends: where will you keep her? How much will it cost? How will you get her out there? How will you have time to take care of her and handle your social life and classes? No one thought I would be able to do it. I knew I could. I had balanced my studies, activities, work, and horse since my junior year of high school. Yeah, people told me that college is a lot harder than high school, but I still knew that I could handle the responsibility. Not bringing her wasn't even a choice.

I started getting answers to all the questions and came back to prove them wrong. Everything worked out amazingly: the place, cost, travel and so on. The only thing missing was the proof that I could actually do it, but I had the right mindset. Everyone then just gave up trying to talk me out of bringing my horse to college. Basically they were like, "Well, you're going to regret this, but apparently you have to learn the hard way…" This attitude really annoyed me, and I wished someone would believe that I could handle the responsibility.

My parents came through for me, though, especially my dad. My mom took little longer to convince. My dad and I think the same way about taking risks and doing what you love. He knew how important Sona is and that she would be good for me. My mom came through after she saw the effect that Sona had on me after I had been at college-now she is the biggest believer.

This may sound childish, but Sona is the thing that makes me click and gets me through every day-good and bad. If anything goes wrong, she is the one being that I can always rely on to accept me for who I am. She brings me up when I am down, and teaches me incredible lessons that apply to all parts of my life, like being patient, and never giving up when something is difficult. Sona helps me with having the mindset that I can conquer anything that I set my mind too, and having the patience that you need to accomplish anything in life. The best example would be math-I hate math with every fiber of my being! It just doesn't make sense to me and I have to work really hard to get a good grade in any math class that I take. Having her beside me, helping in her own silent way is encouraging beyond belief!

Every day when I go to the barn, it's my time--my time to relax and not have to deal with the class work and drama, at least for a while anyway. Every student finds his or her own way to have this time; some do sports, work out, run, play music and so on. My way is just little bit unconventional. It's an amazing feeling to be able to put everything aside and just get up and ride. I will tell Sona everything that is going on and she listens and helps in her own way.

Anytime that it all becomes too much to handle, I go out to the barn. As I'm cleaning her stall, getting hay, filling water buckets, feeding her, grooming her, picking out her feet, saddling her up, and finally riding; I tell her all the problems that I have been having, who is getting on my nervous, what I'm stressed about, and what's been going good in my life. She helps take me away from the pressing problems and focus on something that I can control and instantly I feel better.

This happened just a little while ago-I was really stressed with all the papers, tests, and all the drama. I went to the barn, even though I didn't really have the time to, and ended up staying there for two and half hours! Time just flew by! That time there gave me the focus that I needed in order to accomplish everything I needed to do that night. Honestly if I didn't have that time with my horse, I don't know if I would have gotten it all done. I can't imagine college life without her. Yes, she cuts into my social life a little bit, but I wouldn't be the same person without her nearby.

It's hard to balance everything. There is never enough time in the day to get everything done. That would be the case no matter what. Not having Sona here would not help me have more time. In fact it would probably make things worse. Worse, you say? Now that makes zero sense. I work better with a lot going on, so having to balance classes, homework, work, field hockey, other clubs, social life, and Sona makes every aspect of my life better. I do better in school, perform better in field hockey, and have better relationships with my friends. How does all of this come from a horse? Going out to the barn and riding is my relaxation time. It puts me in a better mood and teaches me valuable lessons from general kindness to important life lessons.

It sounds crazy that one animal can do all of this, but it's true. My relationship with my horse is one of the closest that I have, and she knows me better than anyone. If I'm in a bad mood, incredibly happy, energetic, or about to cry, Sona knows and will act accordingly. If I'm supper energetic and hyper we will have the ride of a lifetime! Yet, if I'm upset she will put her head over my shoulder and let me cry into her warm fur for as long as I need to. This is why my horse is sometimes my whole world and my only safe place. Always there, she lets me ride my troubles away whenever I wish!

Read past editions of Samantha Strub's Four Years at the Mount

Samantha Strub is a Freshman at Mt. St. Mary's majoring in English with a Secondary Education minor. Samantha will be authoring an on-going column sharing her thoughts, achievements, thrills and yes disappointments as she progressed from being a Freshman to Mount graduate.