Cornell—Pose a question that you wish that we had asked you and answer it. Heather posed the question： Tell about an activity that is particularly meaningful to you.
Yale—Please write an essay about an activity or interest that has been particularly meaningful to you.
Early on a June afternoon， I stood in the arena at Willows Farm. I was about to take my very first horse-riding lesson. I was excited， yet incredibly fearful at the same time. I&apos&aposd never actually ridden a horse by myself. Being led around on one of ponies at the fair didn&apos&apost count. I tried talking to myself. ＂What did/have to fear？ After all， it certainly looked easy.＂ I waited white one of the older girls finished in the arena. I&apos&aposd never seen such a big horse， and each time as they went around， the horse looked bigger and bigger.
When my lesson was finally ready to start， Aggie， my teacher， brought out a small pony named Kissy. She was so cute and little， I breathed a sigh of reli. I was convinced that I could handle the situation. ＂No problem，＂ I thought， ＂I&apos&aposll be off to the races in no time.＂
That lesson began with the basics. First I had to learn to put on the bridle and saddle. Then I had to learn to get on and off. That proved to be a challenge， but by the time the lesson finished， I was allowed to ＂ride＂ Kissy by walking around in a circle a few times. Sitting there looking down， I knew I was As John Irving once said， ＂There is something in bestriding a fine horse that makes a man （or woman） feel more than mortal＂.
Little did my parents know that one lesson would turn into an obsession. I spent all day out at the bam. I&apos&aposd probably have stayed the night if my parents had allowed it. I did everything that I could do to learn – I cleaned stalls， walked horses， brushed horses， and fed some twice just to spend a few extra minutes out there. Over the next two years I attended local horse camps and watched others to see if they knew something that I could apply to my riding.
Eventually，I outgrew Kissy and my first trainer. The next step was to move up with the more advanced riders and to Sherry， the next trainer at the barn. Most of the more advanced
：rs owned their own horses. Switching trainers was the easy part. Convincing my parents buy me a horse proved to be slightly more difficult.
Aggie talked to them and told them how much I wanted a horse. Sherry talked to them， and told them how much I needed a horse. Nothing seemed to work. Over the dinner table， the conversation kept coming back to how much money was involved in buying and keeping a horse， but I didn&apos&apost give up. I kept asking. ＂A horse＂ was first on my Christmas list， first on my birthday list， and everything in between.
In the spring， a cute little quarter horse named Cat came into the barn. He was there to be sold， hopully to someone in the barn. He was a good mover and seemed to have a sweet personality. The first time I saw him. I bonded. I had to have this horse. There was just one small problem， my parents were still saying no. Aggie seemed to want me to have a horse as much as I wanted it. She even offered to cut my parents a deal on the board. Every time my mother came to pick me up. I was brushing， walking， or doing something for Cal. I&apos&aposd ask her to hold and talk to him for a few minutes while I got ＂something ready＂ bore I put him away. I could feel my mother melting. Finally one evening I heard the wonderful words. My parents agreed to purchase Cal. I had my very own horse. I was thrilled， and went to work with a brush and comb to make him look as good as he made me feel.
As much as I thought differently， I wasn&apos&apost quite prepared for the enormous responsibility of actually owning a horse. There was feeding， grooming， daily exercise， and stall cleaning to worry about. Becoming a good hunter-jumper meant spending long hours out at the barn. Getting good grades in school meant putting in long hours for homework. I had to learn to balance both. To get it all done， it was mandatory that I become organized and learn to focus on what I was doing in order to make the most of my time spent.
Riding has also presented a means of learning other valuable lessons. Foremost has been accepting responsibility. Owning Cal has meant that I&apos&aposve had the care of a living， breathing animal that depended on me. I couldn&apos&apost take a day off， even if I felt that I had something better to do. Dedication to the sport of riding has also been a learned skill. After the hardest fall or a bad day when nothing seemed to go right， I sometimes wanted to quit right on the spot. That was when I had to get myself back on track and do it again until I got it right. Those same lessons have carried over to school. If I&apos&aposve gotten less than u perfect grade on something or have found something difficult to understand. I&apos&aposve learned that I can&apos&apost just throw in the towel or blame it on the teacher. My education has become my responsibility， and I have had to go back and try twice as hard to prove to myself that I can do if.
In my ten years of riding and competing， I have never grown tired of it. I still have my little horse. We have competed and won at many horse shows， and we&apos&aposve grown to love and trust each other. My trainer often rerred to him as my best friend， and I&apos&aposve come to think of him that way too. Sometimes it is fun to lie in bed at night and look at the ribbons hanging on my wall. I know that every day that passes now brings me closer to the ＂someday＂ when it will come to an end. When it does，I will have the memories of the great times I&apos&aposve had and the lessons that I&apos&aposve learned， but most of all. I will have the memory of a little horse with a big heart named Cal.