"DAAAADDDYYY!! ONE DAY I WANNA RIDE
JUST LIKE YOU!!"
Her father's riding (and some time later, his Tent Pegging) gradually slipped into the background. His style, his upbringing, his foundation was different in every way possible from the conventional methods of riding. But it was different for him, he had been taught at Aligarh Muslim University, in the true university fashion by his uncle Prof. Nasim Ansari, and thus had no patience for things like dressage, and was completely oblivious of concepts of 'impulsion' and the 'correct seat'.
But when Aliya moved out of a riding school, and was left without any instructor, her father rose to the occasion in the greatest manner possible. He bought innumerable books on training young riders, watched countless videos to help Aliya grow. He saw more in her than any instructor ever had, and believed she had the potential to bring home India's first Olympic gold.
It was a dream he treasured, and nurtured in his daughter. It is a dream that lived on through the most trying of times. When Aliya's first true love, Sunshine died in a tragic bout of food poisoning, Aliya was ready to give up. She could not imagine life without her baby, and spent weeks during her 10th grade moping, wallowing in self pity, and crying her lungs out every night. She slept late on Sunday mornings, a concept that until than was thought impossible. Her father suffered with her, but she simply refused to let him in. To cheer her up he bought her a new dog, taught her how to drive, even enrolled her in a new riding school. It seemed pointless, she competed in the Nationals that year, but without any true spirit. Two weeks after the Nationals, things seemed bleak. She refused to get a new horse and didn't want to ride at the new school anymore, where she didn't fit in at all.
On the 19th of January, 2004, Hannibal
came into her world. Aliya's father simply refused to let his dream die
when Sunshine did, and was prepared to start over completely. Invest in
this new horse, who he had no clue about, he just knew that that if he
didn't take a drastic step such as this, he could pretty much wave his
biggest dream goodbye.
He makes one think of a line from Rudyard
refused to accept her new horse immediately, can a mother replace her
People were still sceptical. Sunshine had been a special horse, they all knew that, and behind Aliya's back was called a 'pushbutton horse', the term for a horse, who could pretty much carry any rider clear over a course, implying that Aliya had nothing to do with the success of the partnership. People didn't believe that Aliya' fathers unconventional training techniques would take them anywhere, and that Aliya's quirky riding style could lead to nothing but failure on any horse, other than Sunshine. They were wrong on both counts. From the beginning Aliya and Hannibal literally flew to success. And Aliya could only owe her father all the glory she got.
Aliya's father moved on into the next world before he could truly fulfill his dream of the Olympic gold medal. But he equipped her in every way to carry on trying. She inherited his indomitable passion, his willpower, her golden horse, and most all the fighting spirit to keep moving ahead.
In her, his dream lives on