Times of transition are inevitable no matter what age or stage you are at in this sport. My time of transition comes now as I have recently graduated high school and finally have the opportunity to pursue my riding goals to the fullest. I left my hometown and have moved my horse and myself to the heart of horse country in southern Ontario. I am beyond excited to train with one of my riding idols and to learn and grow into the rider I aspire to be inside and out of the show ring. Although with this move, comes a struggle. This struggle is being “the new girl”. Being new is never easy when you are entering an environment of close-knit riders who know each other’s trials and triumphs in the ring and also in life. Anyone who has been the new girl is no stranger to the casual ‘who is that’ glances from the other riders in the barn, but luckily I have prepared a list of 5 easy ways to ROCK being “the new girl”:

1.  Be Friendly: In new situations, many people tend to become introverted. A simple “Hello!” to others at the barn, introducing yourself with a smile on your face go a long way. Approaching new people is not always an easy task to accomplish for many people but the more sociable you are, the easier it is to make friends and feel more accepted in your new environment.

2. Clean Up After Yourself: Clean up after yourself, obvious but very important. Sweeping up after you’ve used an area and putting things back the way you found them shows that you not only respect the facility that you are using but also that you respect the staff that work in it day in and day out. Barn staff work extremely hard and returning things to their rightful place or clean state that you found them in is much appreciated.

3. Offer Your Help: A little help goes a long way. Whether it is to a fellow rider, staff or your trainer, offering your help is a great way to show that you are a team player and have work ethic. Offer to sweep the aisle for the staff or set jumps for your trainer, even if your offer is declined, it will not go unnoticed.

4. Take An Interest In Others: If there is one thing equestrians love, it is talking about their horse.  Simple compliments are always appreciated. Ask about their horse, showing, where they got those fab breeches; it will help you get to know the other riders at the barn better and shows that you are not conceited.

5. Never Say No: If there is one thing that I have learned from my fellow equestrians in this industry, it is to never say no. Work hard and grasp every opportunity that comes your way because you never know where it could lead!

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

-Samantha Cowan

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