Monica’s Story

There are many people that have helped me in the sport of horseback riding. My trainers and my family members are all supportive, but my “unsung hero” is my adoptive mom, Debbie. 

My siblings and I were put into foster care when we were very young.  My younger brother and I were placed together and moved through 7 different homes in as many years.  In March of 2015, I was moved alone, to my eighth home, the Alexanders’ home.  I was grateful to be in a home that just wanted a kid to love and take care of.  They also had horses that I immediately fell in love with.  . 

My parents enrolled me in Our Lady of Lourdes High School as a freshman and I love it there.  School is not easy for me and my parents provide tutoring and extra help at school.  This year my grades are mostly B’s and A’s, except for Religion where I have a C.

A few months after moving in with the Alexanders, they gave me riding lessons at Zephyr Farm.  After a year of riding school horses at Zephyr, Debbie allowed me to start riding her horse Quincy.  He is the bounciest horse at the trot.  I think that if you can ride him, you would be able to ride almost any horse.  The first time I rode him, I thought that I knew everything.  The first thing that Debbie made me do was get the “perfect walk.”  This was frustrating to me at the time.  I couldn’t figure out why when I could walk, trot, canter and jump in my lessons that my mom would make me work so hard on the boring walk.  Some days when we got the perfect walk, she would say “that’s enough for today”. Over and over she would say “you need to build a good foundation before you put the roof on”.  What in the world was she talking about?

Soon after we got the perfect walk, we would work on the perfect trot…then the perfect canter.  It had to be a year later that I began to understand, if you get the perfect walk, the perfect trot will be easier.  If you can get the perfect trot…now the straight, balanced and forward canter is right there.

And now that we are jumping successfully I can see how her building blocks have helped.

She encourages me to ride as many different horses as possible and fortunately I can ride different horses at Zephyr Farm.

At home, she has taught me to groom, clean tack, clean stalls, feed and much more.  She gets up early to ship us to shows and to riding lessons.  She stands at the in-gate at horse shows and reminds me to breathe.  She tells me that ribbons and points don’t matter if I ride my best and behave well, win or lose.  It doesn’t matter to her if I jump a ground pole or a 3 foot fence as long as I do it the best I can.  She says she doesn’t care if I jump in the show ring or hack for the rest of my life, I just have to enjoy riding and taking care of my horse.

After being in foster care for 2,399 days and living with the Alexanders for nearly 2 years, they adopted me. 

My mom and dad take foster kids in for usually one weekend a month.  My mom asks me to help teach them to groom and wants me to share my story with them to help them out as they go through foster care. 

Throughout my life I had to deal with being in foster care.  My mom helped me get through these difficulties.  She tells me that if I didn’t go through that I wouldn’t be here today, and she is glad that I am here.

So I have to say thank you to my mom, my unsung hero, for supporting me in life and allowing me to have horses to love.

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