Sunday, September 5
So, trying to look back at the whole summer I just had and sum it up in a few words is a pretty daunting task. I’ve gotten back to school now and everyone (as we always do) keeps asking how my summer was. It’s so hard to explain to non-horse people (actually nix that, non-event people. I love my equitation trainer but she totally doesn’t get it!). It’s not that they’re ill-intentioned, or aren’t interested. It’s just so hard to explain how ridiculously hard we worked (12 hours or more, 7 days a week. I had 4 days off the entire summer); the amazing caliber of horses we rode (even the little 4 year olds are fancier than most people’s main competition horse); the huge amount of stress and responsibility we dealt with every day (taking care of 3 short listed horses and a world class rider); how much we complained; and how I wouldn’t have changed any of that for anything. Someone summed it up best as ‘it’s always hard and we always complain, but come rain, snow, sleet, sickness, or amputation – we’re going to show up for work every morning with a smile on our faces.’ Dealing with horses teaches you to trust not only the people you work with completely, but also yourself. In any other aspect of life, there are always things that need to be done, but they can often be ignored, or put onto others, or put off until a later date. If there’s a dirty saddle sitting in the tack room, or a water trough that needs to be scrubbed out, or a horse that needs to be handwalked, you can’t just hope someone else will come pick up your slack. It’s a highly demanding job, and one that I’m so incredibly lucky and thankful to have had. (Also, side note, I now have the biggest muscles EVER. I came back to school and everyone was asking what diet I did this summer. Working all day every day in the blazing sun and never having time or money to eat does great things for your body!!!).
It’s a very hard dichotomy to explain – because the work was grueling, the situations were difficult, and horses are not always cooperative; but it was so rewarding, incredible, and something I could never replicate in any other situation. I need to throw a couple of BIG thank you’s out there as well. First of all, of course, to Buck. Thank you so much for letting me come to BDJ sight unseen, for giving me the chance to prove myself, and for rewarding all of my hard work. For letting me ride the most amazing horses I will ever sit on, and for coaching me and my pony to a perfect season. He is an incredible teacher and I find myself spouting his words at every chance possible. Thank you so much. Also to Linda Bamann for introducing me to Buck and making this whole summer a possibility. To Brandon Showalter and Emma O’Neal – my trusty compatriates for the summer. I honestly couldn’t have asked for better coworkers – we worked our asses off, cried together, laughed together, and had an amazing time doing it all. To everyone who's wished me well and been excited for me - it makes this process all a whole lot more exciting and fun knowing I have 'fans' backing me up. Without you guys this wouldn't be possible so really, thank you! Last but totally not least, my parents. Mum, Dad, this summer would have been completely impossible without you. Not only the monetary sacrifice, but shipping Charm out yourselves, helping me move in and out, listening to me rant when I had a long day, always being more impressed by my achievements than I was, traveling out to see my shows, and being the most incredible support system in the world. You guys are amazing and I love you!
All in all, an absolutely AMAZING summer. Oh, and Buck invited me down to Ocala for all of January so that I can work and the pony can go Preliminary. Don’t worry – you’ll be hearing from us in the future!!!