Now that I’ve given you an idea of how I got where I’m at, I can give you some idea of where exactly that is! And seeing as I spent the first week of December doing some pretty serious relocating, this seems like a good time for a summary. If nothing else it will help remind me what zip code I’m currently in! After several caffeine fueled trips up and down I-95, I’m all settled into Aiken, SC, along with Dan Clasing, our working students, horses, and a shocking amount of stuff. Aside from confirming that I will never be a professional truck driver, the time in the truck was a bit of a welcome time for reflection. The past year has been pretty nonstop. Figuring out how to run my own barn, both the business side and training side, has been a full time endeavor. But at a fuel stop somewhere on the third trip, the fog lifted and I got a bit of clarity on what I’m looking forward to in 2016.
I’ve been really lucky to work for some of the top professionals in the industry, and two things were constant no matter the discipline or barn. First was horsemanship. No two barns run exactly the same, but the quality of horse care always comes first. The second constant I’ve noticed is a bit harder name. There is a feeling in every barn I’ve worked at that you’re working for something a bit bigger than yourself. Looking back, I vaguely remember long hours and feeling exhausted. But what really stands out is being pretty inspired by the people and horses I worked with. In a sport that can rightly be seen from the outside as an individualist pursuit, this is where the team comes in. No equestrian gets to the top of their sport without a group of people who are as invested in their success as they are. And in every barn I’ve worked at, the mentality of a team was the rule not the exception.
So as we settle in here in Aiken, I’m pretty excited that we have the opportunity to create that same atmosphere. The other day I was walking down the barn aisle and overheard two of our working students discussing the personalities of each of the horses in depth. It made me smile, because their observations were pretty spot on (Noodle is the hands down favorite, Cappy is the mischief maker). But more than that I loved the idea of these ambitious kids feeling as excited about my horses as I do. And as Dan and I expand and look to grow our business and increase our competitive results, I know that having people like that around is what it will take.