This week, after watching my horse kick through the fence at one of the geldings, 72 hours later bringing her in with a fat hock and beginning the regimen of wrapping, poulticing and SMZs – just another bump in the road of having a horse – let’s just say it’s just a little bit harder to find things to be thankful for when your horse is actively trying to spit SMZ-laden molasses water back in your face.

But if you zoom out from the grey clouds, my world – especially surrounding my horse – has so much light in it.

And I think what I’m most thankful for is the absolute plethora of people who enable me to do what I do, everyday.

My parents, who help support even having a horse while in veterinary school.  My mom, who sends horse muffins back with me every chance she gets. They drove down 5+ hours to see me show at my first recognized event, see us dressage and show jump, only to turn around in the same day to drive home because they needed to get back.  The amount of time they spent at the show was a mere fraction of the time they spent in the car, but they did it so they could see The Mare and I do something different. They met all the barn crew, shoveled as many treats to The Mare as possible when I wasn’t looking, and even as an adult there is just something so awesome about being able to share what you love with your parents.

I think pretty early on, they recognized how special this horse was to me, and they see how happy she makes me.  They’ve supported many a crazy notion, learned about the different disciplines we’ve picked up over the years, and indulged even the strangest requests (one year, I asked for jump cups for Christmas and was genuinely excited to get a box of metal. It confused them, I think, but they were happy that I was happy).

Beyond my parents, my siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles all are super supportive of what I do (that, or they’ve just given up that I am going to be anything other than their horse-crazy sister/granddaughter/niece. Could be either).

Beyond my biologic family, my barn family has been an absolute blessing. A group of lovely individuals that love my horse like she is their own, are some of our biggest cheerleaders, always are ready to jump in to help out around the barn with chores, and generally are a bright spot in my day no matter what is going on. It is amazing how much the atmosphere of a barn revolves around the boarders, and we are really lucky to have a great crew. They have made this barn into a second home for me once again, and have given me such a genuine group of friends.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say how thankful I was for my Trainer. I can only say ‘thank you’ a million more times, a million more ways and then it might actually represent how much she means to The Mare and I. From taking a chance on us moving into the barn, to re-educating us and continually working to improve us, to being a major supporter of my crazy work, riding and school schedule; The Mare and I would be in a very different place without her. She has given us so much back, and opened a whole new world of eventing for us. There is not a day where I am not actively thankful for her – either as my trainer, as my barn manager, or as my boss.

Of course there are so many other people to be thankful for – her crew of vets, farriers, and individuals who keep her in tip-top shape through a variety of alternative modalities; my friends for listening to me ramble about my horse just about 24/7; my roommate for not judging me when I wash horse boots in the sink and who basically takes care of my dog for me in the evening so I’m able to ride and work after class.

I’m thankful for all the friends I have met along the way because of this horse.

I’m thankful for her health, that she loves her job, that she loves me.

I’m thankful for the journey we are on together; and I am so incredibly thankful for the tribe of people who are helping us every step of the way.