2016 has been a huge, incredible year for Frankie and me. This post is dedicated to everyone who made it that way.
Here’s to my parents, who drove me to the barn every day without fail. Who woke up with me at 4:30am to go stand in the cold and cheer as I made it around 4 crossrails. Who held my horse, polished my boots, learned what a martingale was, signed the checks, took the videos. Who listened as their now-grown-up daughter gushed about taking lessons, then about leasing a horse, then about horse shows, then about this horse that I HAD to have. Who came to visit and spent the whole weekend at a horse show without complaint. Who don’t really understand the whole horse obsession, but know they don’t need to “get” it to be there.
Here’s to the friends who understand why I can’t make it to happy hour. Who listen over and over and over again as I belabor the fact that our impulsion and adjustability is really developing (because I realize that is absolute gibberish). Who wish me luck at shows and don’t complain about the fact that my car smells like manure and even come to the barn sometimes to visit.
Here’s to the ammies at the barn, who bring wine to horse shows to either toast our successes or drown our sorrows. Who keep an eye on each others’ horses when we go on vacation. Who take video for each other in lessons and empathize, “we’ve all had days like that,” when things go wrong. Who are the first to cheer when things go right.
Here’s to Frankie’s healthcare team: the vet, who lets me watch over his shoulder and ask a thousand questions every time I see him. Who excitedly shares his knowledge and philosophies every step of the way. Who came out at short notice to vet several horses and gave a clear, unbiased answer about strengths and limitations of each horse. And the farrier, who has kept my horse’s feet healthy and has never failed to tack a shoe back on within 24 hours.
Here’s to the barn team managing Frankie every day. The ones that make sure Frankie has a clean, dry stall and fresh water. Who come in late at night to check on him. Who make sure he is warm and fed in the midst of thunderstorms and blizzards. Who work tirelessly to make sure the entire facility is safe and clean no matter what.
Here’s to the barn manager, who carefully considers what nutrition Frankie needs to perform. Who manages his shoeing and deworming and vaccinations and a million other things to keep him healthy and happy and thriving. Who considers education and sharing knowledge with the boarders to be part of the job description.
Here’s to Trainer past, who instilled in me the love of the horse and the absolute necessity of good care. Who drilled “heels down, eyes up” into my memory until I recited those words under my breath while asleep. Who let me tag along every day to be jump crew, groom, warmup rider, course setter, and general shadow to soak up everything I could. Who even now, encourages and supports me from afar.
Here’s to Trainer present, who has taken my passion and taught me guts. Who sees my craving for more time in the ring and sees my empty wallet and tells me, “we’ll figure something out.” Who pushes me to do more than I ever thought I could, demands excellence, and is the first to say “great job!” when we have a breakthrough. Who believes in my big goals and takes the time to figure out how to realistically get me there. Who demonstrates over and over again that the goal is not a quick buck, but a relationship built on trust and respect.
Frankie and I absolutely 100% could not have accomplished what we have this year without the encouragement and guidance of our whole support system. We love you all, and thank you for such an amazing year!