Written by Marisol Jimenez
Hey there! My name is Marisol Jimenez, I am in sixth grade and I participate in the Work to Ride program. Work to Ride was especially made for inner-city youths that are at risk in their neighborhood. Work to Ride is a place where children, like me, can express themselves while learning how to care and, eventually, ride horses. Work to Ride is a safe haven where kids don’t have to worry about being in danger, while they’re having fun, they can just come and relax!
Not very many children in a lifetime even get an opportunity to learn to ride. In fact, only about 1 out of about 35 children will learn to ride a horse. I am one of them.
In the Work to Ride program, as we are taught to ride and get more experience, we start to play polo, which is an elite sport.
I play polo with Work to Ride’s Middle School team. My teammates are Mosiah Gravesande, Arti Chugani, and her brother, Yosh Chugani. As a team, we try our hardest not to collapse, but sometimes the pressure is just too great, especially in our practice games. We are always happy that we had fun though!
Recently, our team went to a tournament at the Garrison Forest School and it lasted two days. When we arrived on the first day, all of the teams had a meeting and we all got to know each other and the officials told us the rules. Our team was split up into five new teams. Lastly, at the end of the meeting the officials told us about the awards at the end of the tournament. The first awards would be for one person from each team for being a good team player. The second award would only be for one person, it’s the sportsmanship award, for the most kind, generous and most helpful.
As we are all helping tack up all of the horses that will be used for the first game, Mosiah asked me to help him put Cholo’s bridle on because Cholo was so sensitive. For about ten to twelve minutes I worked with Cholo to try to convince him to allow me to place his bridle on his head. As I kept trying, Cholo allowed me to put his bridle on.
When the first chukker started, I brought my team their horses. When every chukker finished, I swapped their horses out and brought out the horses that they were going to be riding. I did this until I had to tack up both of my horses. It didn’t take me any more than twenty minutes to put bandages, saddles, and bridles. After the first game ended, I brought my horse Rosie out and started to warm her up. The first chukker began. My new teammates were Lynsey and Kimberly. As a team, we had a hard time playing defense, but we had no trouble hitting the ball and scoring. Afterwards, Gabby, one of the players, her parents invited everyone to a party at their house so all of the players could get to know each other. The zip line was the best part! At first it scared me but then Coach Cindy rode the zip line down with me. The zip line was attached between two trees and you have to climb a ladder to the tree house in order to get on the zip line. The second turn I had on the zip line, I made a deal to ride the zip line only if I receive a nice saddle. It was a deal. I did it!
On the second day, we brought in the horses from the pasture, fed them, and tacked them up. Since Arti’s team won yesterday’s match their game wouldn’t be until later that day. So, we only tacked the horses that were about to be played. My team was third place, so, we were up against the team who won fourth place. I was nervous but, soon I realized they weren’t as challenging as I thought they were. After our chukkers were over, Arti’s team played and the two teams tied so they had a shootout. A shootout is something that happens after two teams tie. Each player hits the ball in one shot from the fifteen yard line in hope of scoring a goal. Whichever team ends up with the most points wins the game. The other team won. They received trophies.
Afterwards, the officials gave out the All-star awards and took our pictures with our coaches, and said their goodbyes. It was the best day ever because I got the sportsmanship award for being the most helpful.