Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and what a better way to commemorate the holiday than take a moment to step back, and write out what I'm thankful for this year. This has been such a crazy year that has been full of a lot of personal growth and success, and I couldn't have done any of it without who I'm going to list below.

Photo by Sarah Mckenzie
First and foremost, I am thankful for the Queen of the Barn, otherwise known as Mates Special Lady, otherwise otherwise known as Lady. It hasn't exactly been easy for us to get together as a team, but I think after this year we are definitely on the right path to really come together. However, I can't discredit how hard she worked for me this year. She is my first "Show Horse", that says so much already. She won me classes, she won me my first buckle, she took me to Supreme, she allowed me to become an "NCHA Earner". She blessed me every single time she walked to the herd with me on her back, she made me elevate my riding, she made me start thinking smarter and quicker and faster. Above all, the fact I somehow ended up with a horse.. that I can show.. at NCHA events? It's still hard to believe. I am so thankful for her, her heart, her try, how nice she is to be around, and how quiet her funny mannerisms are. How she always "talks" to me when I come into the barn in the morning, and how I can turn her out with anybody and trust her anywhere. Lady is just truly a solid and nice horse to be around. I'm hoping that next year I can fully showcase how truly talented, and hard working she is too.

Lady enjoying a session with Brigitte, of Vitality Equine
How could I have an amazing show horse without an equally amazing health and wellness team? I want to send out my thanks and deepest regards to the people who keep us going, and who I think are some of the very best in the business...  Brigitte Meyer of Vitality Equine will drop anything to come massage Lady. She is kind, and nice, and everyone wants to be around her - horses and humans both. She's also incredibly talented and knowledgeable and each time she works on Lady, she feels better... what more can you ask for than that? Oh, that she sits on multiple practitioner boards, is always upping her education, and is insured? Right, all that too! Richard Reid of Reid Farrier Services has been my farrier on and off for a long time, I am so happy and lucky to have him back on our team this year. He listens to everything I say about Lady with incredible interest, he can adjust his shoeing depending on her needs and what my trainer and vet says, and he cares deeply for every horse he works on. Amazingly, he even badgers me when I forget about appointments and reminds ME it's time to shoe MY horse. Lady's feet have come a long way since Richard became her farrier, and I think he is truly one of the  most talented farriers in Alberta. Finally, Dr. Ty Corbiell of Cor-Vet Services is one of the best vets I've ever had  the pleasure to be around. He is mainstay at our barn which not always a GREAT thing to have a vet around all the time, is wonderful because he's such a talent. He will answer any question, respond to any text, and has the absolute best eye for lameness and how to treat it, manage it and ensure it doesn't happen! I know that because I have these three people in my corner, I am a lucky competitor indeed, and truthfully have an extra edge on others. Thank you all for being you, and being a part of our team!

Can't be a sappy thankful post without shouting out my number one supporter, my mom. Anyone that knows me, knows my mom. She doesn't fully "get" cutting, but she supports me anyways. She facilitated my purchase of Lady when I was in my deepest and darkest saddest place, and she comes to my shows to cheer me on, but only when I let her haha. I am thankful to have her support, and appreciate all her advice (even when sometimes I roll my eyes at you, because you are my mom and I'm allowed to do that sometimes). Also, you are the most bestest dog grandma in the whole wide world, and Cash tells me he doesn't know what a thanksgiving is, but he loves you more than he can even put into words, we both do!

Photo by Natalie Jackman
Finally, I am thankful for my boss and the company I get to work for, George Neufeld Cutting Horses. George, I know most days this year it probably felt like, as a student, I was similar to if a client sent you a two year old that was way behind and expected you to make them into the next futurity champion. I know that some days, you wondered why in the hell you were coaching a 2,000 Limit Rider, on a horse that we have discovered is definitely not deemed a "Practice Horse". I know that the highs of me winning and being on cloud nine, and the lows of me losing and sullenly moping around the barn was probably a little bit more than you were willing to take on, or had ever been really exposed too when it came to someone else. I hope that by now, you feel like you have a two year old, coming three year old, that probably needs a lot of work but you may be able to get through a run during futurity season next year. Thank you for all your time, all your patience, and all your wisdom. I don't ever take a day working for you  for granted, I know how truly lucky I am to have shown up to your place this time last year and said I needed some help with my mare and was bringing an unruly paint horse along for the ride. How little I knew, compared to now. Janet, thank you for keeping us on track, cleaning blankets and barns and buckets when we don't, or aren't around, thanks for being the best purchaser, and also thanks for always keeping me fed, really though, I wouldn't eat otherwise and you call me on it regularly. I know I have completely weaselled my way into your guys' lives, and I appreciate you, and am so thankful for both of you. The only complaint I have is that my dog is literally writing adoption papers as we speak and attempting to move in permanently to your house, and he's mine.

Photo by Sandy Hansma

So here is to a wicked year, one that I am so thankful for, and pretty amazed was a year of my own life. We have so much to be thankful in this world, and even if it's sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (read: my bank account after show season ends), it's never really that bad when you're surrounded by such an amazing support system and such great animals. I am blessed.


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