One day we were driving past a field of horses and a tiny voice said “I want to ride horses Mommy”. My little sister was in the back dreaming big dreams already. She fell in love with horses at a very young age and we all thought it was just a phase. The phase most little girls go through. But for Megan her love for horses only grew stronger.
Megan has been riding for most of her life and her love for the equestrian sport has been gaining momentum with each passing year. She has competed at a provincial and national level in her chosen disciplines since the 5th grade. Scooby Doo Too has taken her to the top level of Western Mounted Games, where they rank amongst the top 50 riders in the country. The duo are a force to be reckoned with in the Barrel Racing arena, competing on the NBHA South Africa circuit. At the tender age of seventeen, Megan has earned the respect of her fellow equestrian athletes for her riding skill and the rapport she shares with Scooby.
The connection and trust between them is remarkable to see. I watched her take him out of his stable and lead him to his grooming area. He followed her like a shadow. As she lovingly brushed his hair they exchanged glances and it felt to me like they were having a conversation. Under each touch Scooby closed his eyes and reveled in the spoils Megan was giving him. I think if someone had to see me with my dog, our interactions would look the same and the message of our love would be made very clear.
This amazing animal has been an escape for my sister through very tough times in the past. She has poured all of her energy into making him the best that he can be, mostly by herself. Her own research, her own practice, her own diligence. I wanted to make sure that she had some photos to remind her of her greatness, her accomplishments and how strong she is. I still am in awe of how such a young girl can teach herself how to be a top-class equestrian by basically watching YouTube videos and reading through many articles.
I never expected that the afternoon I spent with Megan and Scooby would leave such an impression on me. I have photographed her with other horses before, but this time was different. Maybe something in me has changed over the years that allows me to grasp this kind of connection. Though that could be true to some extent, I do believe this horse is my sister’s “spirit animal”. I experienced a love that is in its purest form. These two have no expectations of each other. They just give and trust. So simple.