Memoir- Katherine Sheehan

Katherine Sheehan


Period 2

January 29th

What Do You Call Success?

The smile grew on my face. The feeling of going through that finish line set in. I never felt accomplished but I did now, to train 2 hours a day, 6 days a week to go out, and fail doesn’t feel good. It really shouldn’t. But I never gave up on him, and he never gave up on me.

I think it’s just real passion. To bond with an animal like that, to devote every second of my day not even to myself but to something else, to feel loved, to feel trusted, to feel real happiness. No one ever understands unless they feel it themselves. I thank him for that. I always will. Recently I started to compete my horse Chance. We never won big or took home first place.


But that was fine. I loved him nonetheless and he never stopped trying. And all those times I would ask myself

“What if I fall”.

“What if I mess up”.

But he was okay with it. In the sense where most horses would freak out by my personality, but him, he was unfazed. He was a rare kind of horse but, not to anyone but me. It was like he was made for me. Furthermore, I always thought my team wasn’t proud of what I did or how well I did something. Because we weren’t winners. We were just us. Nothing special to anyone else but myself. But I felt like today was different somehow, but I don’t know how.

Today we were going to the beach. Not everyone on the team. Only a couple of us. I wasn’t particularly excited but I loved every one of my team even though it wasn’t always easy. There was four of us going. My sister and I traveled in our own trailers because we do not board are horses on the same property as our other teammates. My sister’s horse is a lovely, huge, adorable, sassy horse. My horse chance was a  flea-bitten Grey. We first got him at the end of 6th grade.  He was right off the track and he did not really want to work all that much. But as I’ve owned him for a while he is started to get out of his shell and has turned into an amazing, kind, honest horse that I am so unbelievably proud to call my own. He was getting older and had really bad joints but overall he was my ride. He was always so willing to do anything, I love him so much for it. He had such an amazing personality, even though he was a racehorse. My other teammates travel together. My trainer Tara and my teammate, Alexis, took of their own trailer. My trainer Tara was on her client’s horse. Alexis was on her own horse.

As soon as we got to the parking lot I was nervous. I wasn’t the best writer and I never believed in myself so something like this was really difficult for me. After everyone started to get on we started to move closer to the beach. Was going to be interesting….

I was the first to step into the sand, chance and I lead the team. The sand beneath us is squishy and So Soft. Behind me is my sister then my trainer Tara and Alexis. There was a lot of us there.  the air smelled of salt and the waves ahead of me were wild. I Venture towards the water because no one else wanted to go first. You can hear the same crunching beneath chances hubs. I stare into the water, waves so big they could crush us. Chance Waltz right into the water, no questions asked.

After he just stepped right into the water I thought we should have a little deeper. I didn’t think it was going to start off very well cuz I’m very nervous and he knows. I wasn’t planning to go any farther but he moves his face down into the water and swiftly  Delicias and splashes. What a silly horse. and loudly pause the water he’s having so much fun. I smile. I look at the beach. I see kids building sandcastles and swimming in the water. Having a blast. I hate children screaming and laughing. A dog barks and the distance at a food stand. The smell of fried food is getting lost in the Wind of the beach. I look down a chance his man blows in the wind. I’m moving in a little deeper in the water the cold salt water starts consuming my feet. I sat there for a moment with no worries. Looking off into the deep blue ocean was comforting. I enjoyed the Peace of Mind of the beach. I was just really worried because I never believe I can do anything and horses are unpredictable. every animal is.

Some other horses are at the beach Galloping, schooling, and swimming. I slowly emerge from the water and go into work, trotting around I bounce on his back as he moves like a jumping bean. I feel the winds invisible fingers coming through my Mahogany Lox. We worked wonderfully in the new environment. My trainer yells across the beach “ Team race”.

I wasn’t gonna do it. Why should I? I’m not going to try my hardest and push Chance to try to beat everyone when we don’t win. Why try to change that? We have never won and we can’t. I look around to everyone lined up and I shout “ It’s fine, I really don’t feel like racing right now.”

Everyone stares at me. I don’t know if they were confused or just more disappointed than usual. Tara has a soft look in her eyes. She wanted to know what was wrong but she knew even if she tried I wouldn’t tell her.

“C’mon Katie, It’s just a little friendly competition. Wouldn’t you like to beat Erin?”

She shoots Erin a sarcastic, goofy look and says “ She goes pretty slow if you ask me”

I laugh knowing she is kidding. But on the inside, I always felt like shit was just for show. To make it seem like she cares. I’ve Been so down on everything lately it’s just hard to find motivation. I walk closer to everyone.

Tara positions her horse straight and says “Maybe u will lose and maybe u will win. But you will Never know if you don’t try. And you can’t keep going around acting as if you want success if you don’t put in the effort and push through the bad. I know Chance can go because he won hundreds of thousands on the track. At this point, you just have to forget, forgive, and move on. Cause fear gets you nowhere in life.”

“Fine.” “ But if I die. It’s on you people.” I said sarcastically. It really didn’t matter to me whether I won or lost. I just felt the feeling of being stuck. I had some amazing times with Chance, but we were both in a rut at this time. I mentally felt like I was climbing up a slide. You never go anywhere.

Alexis chuckles “ Now who’s ready for some real competition?”

I set up and  Erin looks at me “Game on ” she said with a smile on her face.

Tara is the announcer, she lays down the rules like no shoving and where the finish line is.

“We’re starting off go okay?” “On your marks. Get set. Go!” She shouts enthusiastically


I pushed chance forward, he was excited. The sound of his hooves beating on the sand quickens as we pick up our pace. I’m already in front of Erin by a head. I can’t wait. The track we chose to gallop on was a half-mile stretch of the beach. Navigating away from teenagers tanning on towels and toddlers building sandcastles. Feeling the wind on my face burns a little but I’m not focused on that. I wanted to keep a steady pace and not push Chance faster than I had to in order to beat Alexis, cause truly Erin wasn’t much of a challenge. Her horse was big and clumsy and couldn’t adjust well enough on this footing to gallop full speed. But Alexis had a faster horse than I did. That doesn’t really matter if the rider can’t support what the horse needs anyway so I think positively.

We are about halfway down the stretch as Chance starts to breathe heavily, Alexis falls behind. Now it’s all us I think to myself. It feels surreal to be the one at the top. It’s never happened before but, I could get used to it. I’m approaching the finish line, the lifeguard watchtower number ten and I notice all my fear that I generally would have is gone.

The feeling at the end and looking back and seeing everyone who you thought doubted you smiling at you and some waiting at the tower for you. It was a good feeling. It really was. Because right then and there I noticed my team was always proud of me, always there for me, always helping me. I just couldn’t tell. Looking back at my emotions I can see I was unreasonable.You can’t spend your life looking at the “What if’s” in every scenario. Sometimes you just have to dive right in and figure it out.

So what if you fall. You get back on.

So what if you mess up. You practice longer. And you get on and do it however many times it takes you to do it right.

And that is what I call success.


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