Dreams Out Of Darkness – Reflections On A Fairytale Evening


The gorgeous Gypsy Horse! We are celebrating them as our September Breed of the Month on YourDressage!

Dressage riders who choose Gypsy Horses as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as both Gypsy Horse Registry of America (GHRA) & The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society are participating organizations.

Here, a para equestrian shares about modeling in a photo shoot with a Gypsy Horse, a magical encounter that helped remind her of the more enchanting parts of life.

By Holly Lovejoy; Photos by Sandra Boos Photography

To find your way out in the darkest of times, you must find yourself first… along with the truth that you cannot have light without darkness, or beauty without pain. Truly appreciating love and beauty in your life means equally acknowledging and reflecting on the hurt you’ve experienced and overcome.

This year has been a lesson in strength, transformation, love, loss, and authenticity. I’ve been challenged to hold onto my values and dreams, in the most trying of times. Unexpected, and sometimes heartbreaking, changes in both my equestrian career and my family dynamic led me to dig even deeper to find myself; to reflect on what makes me feel beautiful, what dreams I wanted to achieve for my personal growth, and to discover what I defined as family and success. After going through so much unfairness, due to things beyond my control, I just wanted to find myself and do what I loved, with the people I love.

This desire to find myself, and find love and beauty in life again, culminated on one perfect evening. While I was staying with a dear friend for a US Para Development clinic, I was given the incredible opportunity to style and star in a dream photo shoot, with a dream Gypsy Vanner mare named Jazz’s Aria Davida (owned by Heather Ercolano). 

For that one evening, I forgot the troubles of a family falling apart, the uncertainty of being thrust into near-poverty, and the fight to keep myself and the things I love alive. For one perfect evening, with the help of some friends, my other mother, and that most magical mare, I got to live in a dream. My angry inner goth child soothed her scared little soul, on the back of a fairytale horse.

I realized how important and healing it is to feel beautiful, to feel free, and to remember that the best things in life are too enchanting to forget. Not everyone gets the opportunity to live their childhood dreams, but here I am. If you forget to chase your dreams, you’re as good as dead. 

When you’ve flirted with death as many times as I have, the darkness doesn’t scare you anymore. It only serves to remind me that flowers bloom at night and fires light our paths. If pictures as beautiful as these can exist, maybe I can keep the dreams of gold alive as well. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Want to read more from Holly? Check out her story Flying Close To The Sun – A Relentless Journey of Disability, Life, and Soul, exclusively on YourDressage.

NOTE USDF strongly recommends all riders wear protective headgear when mounted.

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