My Pilgrimage to SFD...One Year Later
By Laura JuniewiczSo there I was a radiology student, in school full time and insanely in the middle of doing her L judge program through the USDF when I got a phone call from a fellow candidate that I had gotten really friendly with at the L activities and at the DVCTA Adult Team Show. Ange asked if I would be interested in coming to her barn to teach part time as her business was growing and she needed some help. I was firstly flattered and thought it would be a good match because in discussions Ange and I had we agreed on a lot of theory and saw things in a similar light. So I went to SFD and rode Sam and Clyde who were lots of fun and well trained. After being there a couple weeks, and after talking it over with mom I asked Ange if I could move my horses to SFD and so my journey began.
I had offered to do feedings and in discussing things with Ange I could see she was as meticulous as I was about my pony’s care. So what did I do? I promptly left my ponies in her hands and went to work my week at Dressage at Devon as the trophy and awards coordinator. But I needn’t have worried as my ponies were fine and survived the week.
So my first few months at SFD were interesting for me and I learned a lot about myself and about others. One of the first things I noticed about SFD was how tight knit the group was and how supportive they were. But it took time for people to learn to trust me as an instructor and as a trainer. And I could hardly blame them. After all, ninety percent of the time I try to audit someone before I take a lesson and sometimes it’s a gamble. But the time it has taken has been well worth it because I have gotten to see the progress in the group at SFD and they’ve gotten to see me and how I work and function. Training and teaching is not just about the process or the learning, it is also about trust and about building lasting relationships. After all, not only is one placing themselves but the welfare of their horse in my hands when I teach or train them and their horses.
The support of the group at SFD is unlike anywhere I’ve seen with such a mixture of levels of different riders. Everyone supports one another and I think it’s great! When we go to shows, it’s all about the team. There is such group support and you can feel your group of cheerleaders rallying behind you. Plus we bring great food or know the best places to stop for more food!
I really felt that support (as well as did my mother) when we had to make the heart wrenching decision to put Solitaire down this year. Everyone at SFD was so supportive, kind and caring. It made something horrific slightly easier to know that you all were there for us.
It is so nice having the support of Ange for me professionally. We joke competitively with one another, but it is so nice to have regular, knowledgeable eyes on the ground. We both are similar but also bring different things to the table. Between her and everyone else at SFD whom I get to teach or ride with on their pony, it makes me so grateful that I cannot even place it into words. But I know I look forward to going to the barn each morning! J
Looking back over the year, it was a great year! I passed my x-ray boards and became an R.T.! Ange and I passed the L program. Additionally, I have so many memories associated with SFD that make me smile. Taking my mom’s new horse to her first show, Merrick splashing himself in the face at Fiddler in the huge lake from the horrible rain, and Anita and Dream qualifying for BLM’s. Victoria Franzen and I driving to see Rocky, Pene, Secret and E show at Quentin. Going to get ice cream after Blue Goose shows. It’s all the little things and the great horse moments that make me smile and happy that Straight Forward Dressage is my home.