Hilton Van De Breepoel,
I didn’t choose you and you didn’t choose me. We were chosen by another to become a team because you were a too-stubborn 6-year-old and I was too hard-headed to say no, knowing the potential when I sat on you. I knew you were going to put me through hell, which you definitely did, but every day I sat on you, I just kept thinking of the ‘worth it’ days. The days that made me know that one day, you’ll be a champion. I grew such a bond with you from the start; you are the reason I get up to go to the barn in the morning.
You grew up so much when we went to Europe with the Team last summer. After we got home, you were still going so well that I decided to jump you in the five-star grand prix there in Tryon. Yes, we had the last jump down, but as soon as all your feet hit the ground, I couldn’t help but wrap my arms around your neck and start crying happy tears because it was that ‘worth it’ moment, and I was so proud of you.
I know you’re [young], Hilly, and we’ve already surpassed so many people’s expectations. I know that this is just the starting point for us, but I want you to know that I’ve believed in you and us since the start, and that I’ve never loved anything more in my life. You’re my world and I’m trying to promise that if I have it my way, I’ll never let you go.
So I write this letter to you, to thank you for being my best friend and the absolute love of my life. Know that this is just the beginning for us, and I believe that one day, you’ll become a champion.
I love you, Boo Boo.
—Brittni Raflowitz

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Text by Brittni Raflowitz. Photo credit: Sportfot; all photos courtesy of Brittni Raflowitz.