Riding Tips

Letter to My Rookie Self: Chanel Rhodes

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Written by Chanel Rhodes

Equestrian Advice: This is part of our Letter to My Rookie Self series, an open letter equestrian reflection project. Learn more and/or submit your own letter here.

Dear Rookie Self,

Coco, look, I am not trying to be too corny or long-winded, so pay attention!

You are a different little girl. Instead of being scared of that difference, I want you to embrace it. You have the gift of creativity, the gift of imagination, and a love in your heart that you don’t understand. Allow all of those gifts and desires to guide your steps towards your destiny.

Do not be afraid of what others may say, the outside voices do not matter.

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What love am I talking about you may be thinking? Your irrational love for horses. Yes, I said it…horses. Horses are your destiny, horses are a part of your life, horses are in your blood. God put that love in you for a reason.

You will grow up to be involved in that lifestyle as long as you do not stray from your path. Continue to dream, continue to draw, continue to create, and continue to love.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, she is wise and has your back.

The beginning of your journey will be challenging, your feelings will be hurt, along with your body. Do not give up! It will all pay off. You will be older than what you expect when you get started, just keep in mind that you will be at an age that can handle bigger responsibilities.

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You are going to meet some kind and wonderful people on your journey, they will be great friends of yours that will assist, care, encourage and guide you.

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You will also own some wonderful horses and learn not just how to ride, you will compete. You will run and you will jump and you will even learn about some training techniques. Crazy huh?!

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I know your dream of horses was a lot simpler, but you will become more than what you expect.


When you compete, you will win some and lose some, you will fall, and you will be disappointed. Do not forget that your experiences are meant to teach you.

Well anyway, I know that you have a short attention span, so I wont keep you long. The last thing that I am going to say is that you will be a business owner who is involved in the horse world. 

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I do not want to spoil the surprise, just know that you have finally combined your creativity and love for horses, and it’s going to be a HIT!

Love you,

Coco (aka Cowgirl Chanel ????)

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About the author


My name is Chanel Rhodes, and I am a trailblazing first-generation African American rider, passionately experienced in both English and Western disciplines. Growing up in Los Angeles with my incredibly supportive mother, I've lived my life fueled by a profound passion for horses. Despite limited opportunities to ride consistently in my early years, my mother's encouragement and hard work were pivotal in igniting my equestrian journey.