Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Many Hats We Wear... An Ode to the Barn Manager

This past year has been an adventure for a lifetime.
Uprooting, changing our entire lives and jumping in head first.. neck deep.
There was a lot of sink or swim learning to be had,
No time to sit back and ponder the consequences or cost.
New horses, new ailments, new diagnosis, new skills, new friendships, new family members...
A lot of new.
But at the same time a lot of the same old, same old.
Get up each morning.
Work hard.
Work harder.
Walk.. A LOT.
Aching muscles.
Scooping poop.
Stuffing hay nets.
Scooping poop.
Stuffing hay nets.
Scooping poop.
Lay down each night.

We wear a lot of hats in this career.
Assistant vet.
Event planner.
Personal fitness trainer.
Equine behaviour specialist.
Saddle fitter.
Emergency farrier.
Shoulder to cry on.
The one who never cracks.
The straight face in times of panic.
The safe place in times of bad news.
The diplomat.

A lot is expected of us in this role.
For the many boarders we take into our homes, horses and humans alike.
We are responsible for them.
We take care of them in so many aspects of life.
Not just the basic feed and water of their horses.
But those needs of the heart, of family, of safety and often of hope.
Heart to hearts with sincerity.
Unity of family.
Safe barn walls to remove the masks needed for a harsher world beyond.
And hope that we can continue to move forward.
Hope that our horses will be happy, healthy and sound.
Hope that we will be happy, healthy and thriving.
Hope that these partnerships will be ever strong but ever changing.
Growing and reaching.

We keep our chins up high with strong shoulders to support these many hats.
But this past month I am ever grateful for those who have seen the burden they can bare on us.
For those who see the fading glimmer in my eyes and have taken me aside to give me my strength back.
Thank you for being strong for me.
For us.
For our horses.

There is no time when our names will be in lights as a barn manager.
We do not get to stand in great coliseums and be celebrated for the day to day work we do.
There are no rewards.
No ribbons.
No glamour.
But there is life.

Ever fulfilling and peaceful life all around us.
Happy and healthy horses living enriched and safe.
Sparkle in their eyes and a spring in their stride.
They are our foundation.
They are not the means to an end, a device of winning, or a vehicle of ego.
They are our purpose.
To nurture.
To soothe.
To love.
And continue on, step by step.

This is a plea of empathy.
Of compassion.
Look to your barn manager, staff and everyone involved in the care of your horse and thank them.
Remember that they are the only reason your horse lives as wonderfully as he does.
As a team, together, we all make this world a little bit better for horses.
And that is the final hat we all should wear.

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