Riding Tips

Letter to My Rookie Self: The Concrete Cowgirl

erin brown
Written by Erin Brown

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.

*Cover photo by Ricky Codio*

Dear Rookie Self,

Hi Beautiful! I know you may be wondering why I just called you “Beautiful,” but as you get older, you will see exactly how beautiful you are. Your thoughts are okay, just be patient and sweet–they will start to make sense.

Your Mom-Mom always told you, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Always remind yourself of that! Your Mom, Dad, and Brother have your back. Most importantly, God doesn’t make any mistakes and he’s got your back.

Picture your young life as an empty canvas, then paint it as colorful as you want it to be—and ALWAYS follow your heart.

erin brown young rider

Stop worrying about fitting in. I know it’s hard, and you want friends, but trust me when I tell you, you have been designed by an amazing creator, and you were meant to be in a class of your own.

All of those thoughts are a lot to handle, I know. Until you are ready to face them, focus on horses and riding. That will help you build all of the mental and physical strength that you’ll need during this amazing journey that is going to unfold for you.

It’s okay to be shy, but you’ll soon see that riding will become your voice and your communication. You’ll be able to command the attention of the world, just you wait and see!

Let’s talk about “Philly Dollar.” You know the young stallion that you and the other kids are scared to feed and be around? He’s not really crazy, he’s just a baby and he truly has a mind of his own. But guess what? He’s the one.

He is the one who is going to test your ability to handle all things. He is the one who is going to show you what a true partnership is. He is the one who is going to break your fears and misunderstandings about stallions. He is the one who will humble you as a rider and an equestrian.

philly dollar

It is not your way or the highway with him. He will teach you that if you both aren’t on the same page, it simply isn’t happening. He is the one who is going to teach you how to have faith and just believe. He is the one who is going to put you on the map.

Don’t ever doubt him and PLEASE don’t ever count him out.

I know you’re nervous about competing on a real circuit because you don’t look like everyone else, or have the fancy trailer or tack, and you didn’t come from a fancy farm—you came from the heart of North Philly and are riding a horse that was born in the hood. Be proud of that and believe in yourself!

Mr. Wayne, Uncle Al, Aunt Tweety all know that you are a true showstopper. That’s why they made it possible for you to travel out of state to participate in bigger circuits. None of that matters if you don’t remember your faith.

Remember, just ride–you’ll command the attention of the world. Yes, the entire world!

Let’s fast forward a little bit to your early thirties. (Yeah girl, ya thirties!) You are TRULY going to understand what a real friend is. Thought you had them didn’t ya? SURPRISE!!! You may have a small handful, but nothing like you thought and that’s okay.

erin brown

You live and learn. Don’t limit yourself to the stupid saying: “No New Friends.” Because babyyyyyy, you are going to meet so many new and amazing people. People who believe in you, people who want to see you win, and people who love you for YOU! Cherish them!

You have a job to do. Your canvas still has a lot of areas that need some color, Girl. Use Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy to return the favor. Take your community to the next level. Kick the hinges off of every door that you want to enter. Everything that was done for you, you now have the ability to pave the way for others and make easy for someone else.

erin brown show

Photo Credit @dark_horse_images

Concrete Cowgirl, look at you now! Google yourself. Grace every cover. Give the world a lesson. Put on your Cowgirl boots, and YOU WILL NOT LOSE!!!



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About the author


I'm known as the Concrete Cowgirl and stand as a beacon in the world of urban horsemanship, dedicated to preserving the heritage of Philadelphia's equestrian culture. As the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy and the visionary behind Concrete Horsemanship, my journey is interwoven with a deep-rooted commitment to safeguarding the legacy of the city's true horsemen and riders.