Riding Tips

Letter to My Rookie Self: Nahshon Cook

nahshon cook with foal
Written by Nahshon Cook

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,

I’ve been asked to write a letter for you to read when you’re thirteen years old and are beginning to see glimpses of what your life with horses will be like.

The most important thing I can tell you is stay weird—it’ll teach you to trust your heart, and your heart will teach you to trust life.

nahshon cook minds

Photo Credit: Fiore Photography

When you trust life, you’re not afraid to change. Not being afraid to change is what will teach you how to be a human being. Human beings help.

Help is what you were and are and will be, always—for those who want it. Some will, some won’t. That’s life.

Try to aim for a breakthrough every morning, as there’s no use in your fighting the growth into who you are. Also, know that people will make fun of you out of a need to stay blind to those not-so-understood places in themselves that they’re too afraid to see.

nahshon cook ground training

Photo Credit: Fiore Photography

Sometimes it will be because you’re Black, or gay, or too Black, or a male, or not Black enough, or free, or whatever else they can come up with to try and make you feel like the you’re too far away for their love. Next time it’ll be something else.

People will point. Oftentimes, you won’t understand the reason until later. Other times, you won’t understand at all.

nahshon cook horse riding

Photo Credit: Fiore Photography

Be kind to yourself, always, and stay as kind as you can to others when they press your boundaries.

That said, have boundaries. Boundaries are love. You are love. Love the ones who love you back, and leave the rest alone.

Love is big, the world is small. Be love.

nahshon cook horse head

Photo Credit: Fiore Photography

And keep following your horses, they’ll teach you to find heaven in every step.

Either way, learn to stay intelligent. Keep studying, keep reading, and meditate, and practice being intentional enough with your dreams to write them down so you that you can stay free: this is prayer.

With love,

Nahshon Cook

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About the author


Nahshon Cook holds the adage “Follow the horse and find heaven in every step.” as the golden rule to approach to teaching and training. His methods are gaining national and international attention, and you can follow his journey at https://www.facebook.com/NahshonCookHorsemanship/.