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Ride of My Life

Ride of My Life

Copyright, September 29, 2002

As children, my best friend Patti and I dreamed of having our own horses. Since we lived in the city, there were none to be found! That didn’t stop us from spending every waking moment talking about horses and plotting how we could have one someday. We played with small china horses. Patti’s favorite was a palomino, mine was a white mare.

As we grew older, we kept in contact. I finally bought a horse and quickly found a passion for musical freestyle. I rode competitively for many years and helped organize several charity benefits featuring freestyles and quadrilles. My mare had a foal that I trained for freestyle. Meanwhile, Patti and I were busy getting married, raising children and all the other activities of everyday life. Patti never bought a horse, but we would get together to ride regularly.

All this changed when Patti died suddenly. I was devastated. Riding was my therapy, and I dreamt of someday organizing another musical freestyle in Patti’s honor. Years passed and I trained my filly in hopes of someday riding the “perfect” ride. I collected music from the play Man of La Mancha and choreographed the ride. I read about Don Quixote, his horse Rocinante, and his “Impossible Dream” quest so that I could interpret the music correctly. I trained and trained. My filly and I competed to Third Level, and we were starting many of the Grand Prix movements. I wanted badly to ride my dream someday.

Life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans, though. Other important issues came up, and I was unable to ride much anymore. I kept hoping to ride again. Eventually though, I realized that I would never have the time and energy to train my filly for the ride. One night, I was talking to a friend about my disappointment, and she suggested that I write a poem of the ride, in memory of Patti. It took me months to write – listening to the music, feeling my horse underneath me in my mind, expressing the emotions and writing the words. I invite you to share with me, “The Ride of My Life”.

We stand poised in the darkness,
waiting for the performance to begin –
tense, emotional, near tears,
I have waited so long for this.

Audience quiets,
my voice comes to my ears,
wistful –
echoing in the night.

I dedicate this ride to my friend Patti.
Together, we cantered through childhood,
she dreaming of her golden palomino,
I, of my great white mare.

Patti died before finding her golden colt.

I lived on, to bring you our dreams,
of the gold and silver horses,
here tonight,
in the ride of my life

The spotlight dazzles my eyes,
enlightening the still figure of my white mare –
Arabian blood evident in her beauty,
head held high,
body lean and muscled,
long silver tail flowing behind her.

Energy vibrates from her being,
yet she waits obediently for the signal to begin.

I am one with her –
straight and tall,
gentle and light,
a graceful partner for the dance tonight.

Faint trumpet heard from afar,
changing of the guard.

Enter the arena,
straight and true,
so all may see
the beauty of this creature,
that God gave to me.

The melody tells of our dance this night,
a dream,
a vision,
a quest –
of valors, and gauntlets, and dark, bleak worlds,
and the people who brave them,
in search of destiny.

Leaping forward in our dance,
we show who we are,
the hopeful,
the brave,
the survivors –
ready, at last, to reach for a star.

Mighty legs crossing,
My face smiling,
We half pass left and then to right,
our greeting for our friends tonight.

Gathering energy we then explode,
around the arena we trot, we fly,
my great white charger,
my steed, my dream,
my very own –

Melody softens and tears spring to my eyes,
so light, so gentle, so moving.
Music for the heart.

We shorten our stride,
Horse supple and light,
And dance to the sweet song of love.

We delicately pirouette,
here and there,
finally pivoting swiftly in place,
to canter at the call of the trumpet.

Gliding across the arena,
we are one with the music –
bend to the inside,
leap to the right,
then switch leads,
and now go left.

Ready at last, we look and see,
a great monster blocking our destiny,
and the music calls us to seek our glory,
as we gallop across and set love free.

Exulting in great victory,
we frolic, we play, in great delight –
two strides, switch, then two strides more,
dancing, prancing, ever more.

Tempi changes now are here,
one switch, two switch, three switch, four,
my friends are now in quite a roar,
For even they can see this day,
my horse and I have learned ballet.

Slowing to piaffe,
we march in place,
proud –
the weight of history nobly born.

Trumpets blasting, drums crashing,
we lift up to passage,
noble ride of the crusaders,
passed down through the ages to me this night.

Travers, renvers and shoulder fore,
my great white mare prances across the floor,
lyrics echo in my ears,
singing away my lifelong fears –

Dream the dream …
Fight the foe …
Bear the sorrow …
Reach the star …

Bounding down the center line,
a glorious ending to a glorious night,
a dream fulfilled,
hope in my heart –

For I know that if I am true to this quest,
That my heart will be calm when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better that I was here born,
to survive painful scars and live through the scorn,
for I strove with every ounce of courage I had,
and I reached out and I touched that unreachable star.

Trumpets blaring,
audience roaring,
we soar through the air in our final dance,
halting perfectly as the music ends.

Mystical smoke flowing from her nostrils,
Steam rising from her quivering body,
my great white mare,
my Rocinante,
stands motionless in the bright spotlight of glory
and proves that no dream is impossible.