Today presents an opportunity to reflect upon the things we are most grateful for, and we at the World Equestrian Center are incredibly blessed to have so many thanks to give. While we love recognizing the successes of the many riders that pass through our ingates, we would like to take a step back today and express how truly thankful we are for each and every one of you that steps foot into the World Equestrian Center. As we all know, the equestrian sport is not the easiest of sports to be a part of. Equestrian sport is unpredictable. One day you can be on top of the world winning every class you walk into, and the next you can find yourself, quite literally, in the dirt. However, you walk into the barn every morning with the same driving passion as the day before, determined to be just a little faster, just a little stronger, just a little more perfect.
So, here’s to you, the 5:00 a.m. feeder, the round-the-clock night checker, the all-day-stall-cleaner. You are the first person to tell the horses good morning and the last one to tell them good night. Your footsteps are memorized by the horses and they whinny as you walk through the barn. You keep their bellies full and their stalls meticulously perfect. You save the cast horses and you hand walk those that colic. You have every horse’s favorite treat memorized and your pockets are eternally full of mint wrappers and bits of hay. You dedicate your every waking moment to these animals and you couldn’t imagine not feeling their velvety nose on your palm every morning.
Here’s to you, the vet that keeps the horses healthy. You are the one that checks the pony’s leg for the 15th time that week because its owner swears there’s “just something off”. You are the one that has to rush to barns in the middle of the night for everything from the birth of a foal to “well he seemed like he wanted to colic”. You are the one that has to diagnose a patient that can’t tell you a single symptom. You’re the one that has to be the bearer of the worst news. You do all of this with intense compassion.
Here’s to you, the 15-rides-per-day trainer. You are the one your clients rely on to make their horses perfect, which is no small task. You have to convince the crying 5-year-old that bounced off of the pony onto their bum that they are “a real rider now” and that they “always have to get back on”. You work day in and day out to perfect a rider’s equitation, just to have them forget the course at the finals by the second jump, then smile when they get excused from the ring and say, “There’s always next year.” You carry the weight of your riders’ dreams on your shoulders.
Here’s to you, the rider whose hopes and dreams far exceed the level you’re at at this very moment. You epitomize the greats and strive to be just like them. You take two lessons per week and you see your horse every day, even if it’s just to give it a pat on the head and a kiss on the nose. You always participate in No Stirrup November. You help around the barn without even being asked. You would do anything in the world just for the chance to sit on your horse’s back for “5 more minutes”.
Here’s to you, the “show parent” that gets off of work at 5:00 p.m. and drives 45 minutes to the barn so that your child can ride that night. You do it all. You are the office professional. You are the driver. You are the cook. You are the maid. You are the homework helper. Even with all of this, you are up against the rail at the crack of dawn on the weekend watching every go, because you are your kid’s biggest fan.
Here’s to all of you involved in this industry we call Equestrian Sport. We are thankful for your hard work, we are thankful for your dedication, we are thankful for your passion, and we are eternally grateful that you allow us to be a part of your journey. On behalf of the entire World Equestrian Center team, we would like to thank you and wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.