New Year; New Horizons

New horizons

As 2019 approaches it’s time to consider what was and what might be.

For me the past year has been one of awakening in many positive ways.

Sophi and I have already far exceeded my expectations in our training this year. This makes me really happy. A year ago we were just beginning third level dressage movements (she had previous knowledge, I was catching up). This year we are getting stronger and more correct, and have begun our journey to fourth level/Prix St. George, all because we have a coach who believes in us.

Sophi studyWhat a difference it makes to have a coach who really cares; really believes in our development, and is willing to share their knowledge. Far too many coaches, in my experience, are content to keep their students ignorant in order to shore up their earnings. Either that, or they’re simply too lazy to do what’s required to bring out their best. I feel blessed to have found a coach who teaches what she sees and wants Sophi and I to thrive in our chosen discipline.

Sophi is such a delight. Our connection has deepened over the past year and I am intent upon ensuring she has the best life possible. Her confidence is rubbing off on me, and that’s a wonderful blessing.

Creatively, of course, the horses have inspired me to great things this year …

From the success of Barn Mavens at the ScotiaBank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto in May, and the further success of these images and others in the Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry project at EQUUS Film Festival 2018, where it received a WINNIE Award for Best Equestrian Photo Journal, I feel beyond blessed.

Of course, the challenge now is to be open to the next step and go wherever it leads. If  I’ve learned anything this year it’s this ~ that being open to opportunities, leaping at chances and, of course, believing in oneself, are important to success. By the same token, releasing agendas and welcoming change is the only way to move forward in a truly authentic way.

The ego plans rigidly; the heart moves with the sea of change.

SiestaAs a wretched control freak most of my life it’s been very difficult to learn to live without an agenda and trust the process. However, I’m realizing I really do prefer to let go and live from my heart. It’s a much softer, less stressful, way of being.

So, who knows what the new year holds. Other opportunities await and I am open to giving them a go and following an unknown path.

Still, as we move into 2019 my intention is to thrive and live abundantly in spirit. To be my best self and make a positive difference, as I am able, to those around me.

New horizons await. Here I come!

My heart is filled with gratitude for the friends, family and all others who have crossed my path this year and pointed me in a good direction. As well, I thank you for bearing witness to my journey through this blog.

May I wish you all a happy, healthy and abundant new year filled with new and promising horizons.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

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©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

The Horse World’s Unsung Heroines

 

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Women in the horse industry work very hard. I know because I’ve done it.

Each day is a grind of activity that wears you out and wears you down. You work in all weathers; under all conditions. For good owners, and bad. With well-mannered horses, and with demons (largely a reflection of their owners either way.) You don’t call in sick, and if you’ve broken something in the line of duty, you work around it.

You muck, you sweep, you clean tack, you feed hay (and grain), you scrub toilets, you pick the s**t out of paddocks, you groom, you ride, you de-cobweb the barn, you dust, you clean the kitchen, you do first aid. In many barns you do your best to manage uncomfortable feelings caused by the disdain of those who look down upon you while you’re doing all you can to ensure their horse(s) are happy and healthy.

You must be vigilant; resilient; detail-oriented; take initiative; be observant; empathetic (difficult for some); patient; skilled at what you do and be quick at it. You get back on the horse if you fall off. The horse always comes first.

The Mane Tamer Marked

“The Mane Tamer” on display at the Urban Gallery, May 2018, for the ScotiaBank CONTACT Photography Festival

At the end of the day you leave the barn filthy and saturated in Eau d’Equine. Exhausted and maybe even bruised or broken from an unfortunate altercation with one of your charges for which you are always to blame (always!). You stand in line at the grocery store to buy dinner, somewhat self-conscious of your malodorous presence, yet unable to motivate yourself to care too much because you don’t have the energy to go home and clean up first. Oh, and a social life outside of work? Good luck with that. Almost killed me to sing in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir during concert weeks after a 10-hour day at the barn.

For most who follow this path it is a labour of love. There is no glamour and certainly no big money to be made. The best you can hope for is an environment where you and your work are appreciated; where you can find your niche and from there build your life.

When I was interning at a hunter/jumper show barn in my mid 30s I was at a crossroads in my life, trying to figure out what’s next. And for some that’s exactly what working in a barn constitutes. It’s a weigh station for figuring out the next step. Some choose to pursue the equestrian path; others give thanks the equestrian path led them somewhere else. Those who are fortunate enough to have built successful careers from the ground up in the equestrian world have slogged in barns aplenty. This does not include the (very) few who are born into money and have it all handed to them on a silver platter. Most in the business have done the grunt work, and have a few tales to tell because of it.

To celebrate the unsung heroines of the equestrian world, six equestrian-themed images from my new series Barn Mavens will be on display in May at the Urban Gallery in Toronto. The gallery is one of 200 official venues in Toronto during the ScotiaBank CONTACT Photography Festival.

The gallery theme for this exhibit is Women at Work, and in my showcase I’m pleased to feature two of the knowledgeable and hardworking horsewomen of Santerre Show Stables in Mono, Ontario.

The top images are not on show for this exhibit, but will feature in an expanded exhibit sometime in the future, or possibly even a photo book docu-tribute to women who work in the horse industry. In the meantime, it is an honour to have my work featured along with three other talented photographers at the Urban Gallery for this international event.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Notable