Jumping into 2018
2017 was an extremely exciting year for Huxley Greer Equestrian. We had some good results, but it was also our first year being based out of Hill of Dreams Equestrian Center and my first year as trainer/manager. Over the past five years or so, I've been working to figure out exactly how I wanted to fit horses into my life. Actually, who am I kidding? It's more like I've been trying to figure out exactly how I want to work life into the horses. I'll be honest, I did a lot of research on high paying careers that could enable to to still do horses seriously as an adult amateur. That being said, when everything came together and Hill of Dreams was a go, all of those thoughts faded out and I jumped in both feet first to the new endeavor. Below are a few of the major things I've learned this year.
You HAVE to love it. And I mean LOVE it.
Over the years, I've had so many people say that to me. The horse business is terribly hard and you absolutely have to love what you do. Okay, they weren't kidding! There are the 5 degree days when you're so cold you can hardly move. The 110 degree days when you just want to go jump into the pool. Or, the days where you've just gotten home from an event (or two) and haven't had a day off in 14 days and you just want to sleep for a week. But then, or at least in my case, I walk into the barn and see about 12 eyes staring at me and somehow, all of the fatigue and "wants" fade away and I can focus on them. This year I've found out that yes, I really do actually LOVE horses. That may sound silly coming from a 26-year-old that's committed their life to pursuing a goal with horses, but I don't just love my own horses, I love all of them. I'll put their needs above my own. You'll have shows that won't go so well. You end up feeling frustrated and - sometimes - ready to throw in the towel. You have to love the struggle and learn from your mistakes and somehow, you have to learn to love the failures with the successes in order to keep moving forward.
I think this is something that is rarely left out when talking about pursuing a career in horses. Managing a barn means that you're going to have to deal and talk with everyone. Boarders. Clients. Employees. Vets. Farriers. You name it. You have to learn how to be really good at scheduling and improve your organizational skills. I'll admit that I'm an introverted person and having to be extroverted can be super tough. I've had to hone my communications skills over this past year, but I am absolutely a better person for it. Not all conversations are easy, and while my number one priority is to make sure everyone is happy and well taken care of, sometimes you also have develop boundaries. As a self-diagnosed people pleaser and conflict avoider, this skill has been hard to develop. Last, but absolutely not least, there are the fantastic relationships you form with people. At the end of this year, our barn has absolutely blossomed socially. The atmosphere in the barn is supportive and positive. We just had a goal setting party and now everyone that attended knows everyone else's goals and I'm hoping we can all have a wonderful year and attend - at least some - shows as a barn. Just like with everything else, there's good and bad and everything in between, but people skills are an absolute must have for the industry!
Hey There, Social Media!
I'll be honest, I'm still trying to improve this skill. Advertising and having a presence on social media is oh so important for an equestrian business. Hopefully if you're reading this you follow both Hill of Dreams and Huxley Greer Equestrian on Facebook. On that note, I've had to acquire multiple Facebook pages in addition to my own personal account. My goal for 2018 is to post a minimum of three times per week on each page. To be honest, I thought it would be easy. In reality, when you're working, riding, teaching, and traveling, writing Facebook posts can feel more daunting than you ever thought possible! Keep an eye out for a much improved social media presence from both HGE and HOD.
How fortunate are we?
Last, but absolutely not least, when you're able to wake up every morning and work for 10 plus hours a day on something you're passionate about, you better be appreciative. I love listening to inspirational speeches and reading quotes etc, and nearly all of them encourage you to find someway to do what you love. So, if you, like me, have somehow become fortunate enough to end up in that situation, realize how fortunate you are. And, if you're reading this and considering making a horses a job, realize that yes, it's incredibly hard, exhausting, and some days you'll just want to go find a nice 9-5 office job, but it's absolutely worth it.
In conclusion, here's to 2018. To all of you that have supported HGE and HOD this year, thank you so incredibly much! None of it would be possible without you.