I was never one of those girls who was handed anything, I worked 6 days a week 8-5 over the summer so that I could have the opportunity to show and lease a horse. I was never handed the opportunities I received I always had to work for them. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, it’s true, I worked for every show I got to compete in, every hack I got to ride, and every lesson I got to take, and to be honest I couldn’t be more grateful.
As a working student at Knightsbridge Farm, I was responsible for all the behind the scenes of what went on at the barn. The floors were swept to perfection, all 12 horses for the show the next day were bathed and ready to go, the trailer was packed, horses were fed, jumps were all moved, the barn was clean, all that was the working students. There was a group of us who worked every day together, and I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with, those girls were my best friends they taught me what it meant to work together, to delegate and what it meant to accomplish goals.
Being an equestrian is not only about riding, and that is what people need to understand. There is so much more to riding than simply getting on the horse, there is everything that goes on after you get off the horse. You spend more time taking care of your horse than actually riding them, and that is what I learned as a working student, I learned the importance of horse care, I learned how to give back to an animal that gave everything to me.
By working for everything I ever received in this sport has made me a better person it has made me more grateful for everything I have, I never take anything for granted because I know what it means to work for something.
I woke up at 3:30 am before horse shows to get to the barn by 4 so that I could lunge 6 horses by 5, wash legs and dirt stains on all 12 horses and wrap their legs to ship them to the show by 6:30 so that we can load them into the trailers and be on our way to the show by 7:30. Now on a normal day, I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn but I was up earlier than all my friends who would start their day around noon meanwhile I had already ridden 3 horses, washed 2 horses and swept all the aisles by then.
I loved every minute of my behind the scenes work as a working student because it taught me so much and made me a better person and I’m only one of hundreds of working students around the country making theses sacrifices to care for afford their horses so I hope you remember this next time you call equestrian a sport for the elite. Remember the girls covered in dirt, sweat, and god knows what else from their day working at the barn remember that they have worked for every opportunity they were given and that is what this sport is about, it’s about working for what you want and never giving up.