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Excerpted from Something More by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Copyright 1998 by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"As all dreamers know, these are but minor hurdles when a determined young lady is taking fate for a ride."

Sarah Ban Breathnach
Something More
, Part 1

Did you ever see the film National Velvet? Based on the heartwarming book written by Enid Bangoid, the film starred a teenage Elizabeth Taylor in her first leading role as Velvet Brown, a young English girl determined to transform an ordinary horse she'd won in a raffle into a racehorse. Every time she rides him, she sees herself trotting triumphantly into the winner's circle of the world's greatest steeplechase, the Grand National. Velvet believes that she and "The Pie" share a special destiny - that underneath his plain horsehide exterior beats the heart of a champion. But Velvet has a few obstacles in her path: she's fourteen, her parents think her dream is nonsense, and The Pie is actually unruly and untrained. Even if there were a trainer in the small English country village where she lives, there's no money for one, or for the race entrance fee or to hire a jockey, since girls are not permit to rides, in England's most illustrious horse race. However, as all dreamers know, these are but minor hurdles when a determined young lady is taking fate for a ride.

Remember Velvet Brown the next time you've got a few obstacles to overcome. If you do, you'll be delighted to discover, as I have, that there are few things in life more I satisfying than accomplishing whatever "they" tell you can't be done.

Since first grade I've held very firm convictions about money, fame, dreams and destiny. The origins of these opinions or how I formed them so early was always a mystery to me, especially since they bore no resemblance to the philosophical fare served up at home. I discovered one of the sources soon after I embarked on my own deeply personal excavation process, as I recalled cherished books from my childhood. Prominent among them was National Velvet. It had been given to me by my favorite aunt, who loved horses and wanted to share her enthusiasm with me. I'd finished the book practically in one sitting and declared, "If Velvet Brown can do it, so can I." It didn't matter that I hadn't a clue as to what my authentic it would be, but horseback riding seemed like a good place to start.

My parents couldn't afford horseback riding lessons and with four children in the family, wouldn't let Aunt Em "play favorites" and pay for them. Coincidentally, a local Girt Scout troop was sponsoring a contest for the most enterprising Brownie, and first prize was free horseback riding lessons. I spent most of that entire year earning extra merit badges. All my hard work was worth it the day Aunt Em took me shopping for my new riding gear, followed by a celebratory lunch. We were both so proud of me; it was one of the happiest days of my life.

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