As the school year starts and classes resume, it is a reminder that as wonderful as summer is, it’s time to go back to work. For a Fountain Valley rider, this means getting ready for the long hours spent at the barn, the annual trip to Dover Saddlery, and a new IEA competition season. Every year, there is a special energy that fills up the barn when riders begin to arrive and the aisle is filled with endless chatter. This year is a turning point in recent events as we start to recover from the effects of COVID, which brought many lessons learned about the sport of which we are so dedicated.
I was in my Freshman year and on spring break when the pandemic first hit. I had no idea what this meant for me or the rest of the world but one thing came to mind instantly. What would I do without my horse? These creatures depend on us for their every need every day. And in turn, we depend on them to fill the hole that is our purpose. When I received an email that I would be allowed to continue riding through virtual classes and online learning I felt incredibly grateful. I didn’t know it at the time, but this small allowance gave me an outlet for all of the stress, frustration, and pressure I had been feeling from this extremely unprecedented situation.
Looking back as I begin my Junior year, I realize how privileged I am to have found a place where I can go to unwind from a rough academic day and maintain some semblance of normalcy through the most unpredictable events in my life. Riding gave me a purpose to get up during the long year of quarantine and keep working towards new goals. I am thankful for the connections that were made within the community down at the barn, and the coaches who made riding through the pandemic possible.
I couldn't be more excited for what’s to come in the following months. We will be getting ready for the start of IEA, inducting a new Horseman, and sending some of our riders off to compete in Medal Finals. Stay tuned to read about another great year here at the barn!
Lilly Farley is a junior at Fountain Valley School with a lifelong love of riding that she brings to writing about the barn. She currently rides FVS horse, Kobie, and competes in the 3' equitation. Lilly hopes to share her experiences in the barn and in riding with the entire FVS community.