“It’s never too late to live your own dream” – Oprah Winfrey

On the date of her 30th birthday, my niece, Alexa* won her first race in Phoenix, while a short month before, she was seriously injured from a fall from a horse she was racing at the time.

Alexa struggled fiercely to reconsider her decision to give up racing, and had to deal with an emotional breakup with a boyfriend. Additionally, she dealt with a barrage of conflict from a parent, who, perhaps, resented the daughter who had the dream career she herself never had– and frequent attempts to thwart her daughter’s ambitions were couched in false motherly concern.

Alexa moved to Phoenix for that winter and began, again, working with horses, placing 2nd on a Tuesday and 1st the following Saturday.

She is, perhaps, a fine example of pursuing a dream, despite all obstacles. We tell her how proud we are of her many achievements. However, high praise is seldom forthcoming from the one person with whom it would mean the most.

Grandma Moses was an American folk artist;  She began painting in earnest at the age of 78** and is often cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age. “Sugaring Off” was sold for US $1.2 million in 2006. 

In my family, we have all had our dreams; sometimes one of us succeeds–when one succeeds, we all share that elusive “win” no matter what it is. Our Aunt Dolly reached fame as  an artist after her children were grown and on their own.  She is our best example  of achieving your goals no matter what your age may be.

And so, I write.  My niece, Alexa, rides.

*Not my niece’s real name.  

** if grandma Moses could do it at age 78…maybe there is hope for me yet!


Sandra Lee Smith


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