I applied to thirteen colleges this year, running the gamut from Brown to Yale, and several of the (250 million) essays I wrote ended up being distinctly horsey! So I thought I'd share them with you guys, you'll probably appreciate them more than the AdComs haha!
This was my Common App essay, and thus went to all the schools. In the pretty, formatted version I sent, there was a second page with a really horrific picture of the barn in full blaze.
“And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
The cataclysmic crash had thrown me backwards, and I willed my eyes to readjust as I stood. When they did, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Slowly, seductively, a tantalizing finger of thick smoke beckoned to me from the roof, luring me forward as the world stopped turning. This couldn’t be real.
“FIRE!” bellowed a voice, and the world resumed its revolutions, pulling me swiftly back to reality. As if on cue, the sky darkened, and massive hailstones began pounding down, beating like war-drums on the tin roof. The five of us scattered, adrenalized by the sweet, musky odor surrounding us. The smoke had wrapped its devious fingers around the hay now, and the crackle-sssss-POP
the flakes made as they ignited punctuated the hale’s persistent beating.
I yanked open the nearest stall door, murmuring softly to the frightened horse inside. As I crept towards his head, he spun and kicked out, squealing in confusion and terror. I stumbled backwards, my pulse pounding throughout my body from the near-miss, and tried again. This time, my fingers slid up his mane and I braced my body against him, throwing a rope around his neck as we rushed out of the barn. I slid down the slick embankment, threw open the gate, and released him. We each galloped in different directions. All around me, horses were screaming, kicking, slipping down the hill as we pulled them, white-eyed, from their stalls.
It was the explosion that abruptly stopped us. The fire had spread to the far side of the barn, where a massive structure housed wood shavings that, when exposed to intense heat, burst into angry, engulfing flames. Soaking wet and filthy, we mentally recounted all the horses, making sure we had gotten them all out of the burning building.
Ice-cold comprehension gripped me as I heard the terrified scream from within the stable, shrilly cutting through the voluptuous rolls of smoke. Nestled in a stall in the center of the barn was a broodmare and her fortnight-old colt – how could we have overlooked them? Hurtling forward, I slipped on the sodden grass, teetered, and righted myself, dashing forward into the inferno. My cracked hands seared from the bullet-like hailstones and embers raining down on me, and I choked on every lungful of ashy air. I felt my way into the stall and grabbed onto the vague horse shape huddled against the back wall. The mare wouldn’t budge, and her baby had no inclination of leaving without her. His small, hard feet struck out disoriented warnings. Time was swiftly running out.
“Grab the mare!” I coughed out. I knew what I had to do – it wouldn’t be easy, but I had no choice. Avoiding his hooves, I wrapped my arms around the writhing colt’s ribcage and hefted his 200-pound bulk off the ground. Staggering backwards, we escaped from the stall, the panicked mare pressing into me and her foal. As we reached the treacherous slope, I dug my heels into mud and tightened my grip on the spindly colt. He gave a terrific buck and my arm cracked, but I held on until we reached the field. I eased my way back up the hill and watched as, with a long, defeated groan, the barn finally collapsed. We said nothing, just stood with our arms around one another’s shoulders, relishing the feeling of being alive, and almost, but not quite, comprehending the magnitude of what we had done.
On that fateful day, I learned to ignore my self-imposed limitations. I discovered that I am capable of more than I could ever have imagined. That ill-placed lightning bolt shaped a part of me, showed me the value of teamwork, proved to me that I can handle whatever life throws my way. Do I dare? Yes, I do.