Isabella Fabiano is a junior at Lincoln Academy, currently spending the school year in Ocala, Florida with Joe Meyer’s Eventing Olympic Training. She is the daughter of Benedict Fabiano from Westport Island, and Cassandra Van Wickler from Damariscotta.

by Isabella Fabiano ’20

Horse Show Season is my favorite time of year. All of the horses are getting makeovers, all of the riders are buying new equipment, and everyone is conditioning their horses and themselves to have the best competing outcome for the year. Horse shows are probably the most ridiculous and chaotic events I will experience. Now, what actually is “Horse Showing?” Well, with the equine industry being filled with several different disciplines, I can only speak for a few jumping and eventing show experiences. Basically, all equestrians will spend thousands of hours training the horses, another thousand hours grooming them, over thousands of dollars to care for them and supply their needs, another thousand dollars just for entering your horse into the competition, all for a five minute ride in front of a few people and a two dollar award, if they are successful.

It really does not seem like a logical or typical career choice, but it has its own benefits. Not just horse showing, but the entire horse circuit, that very few people have become interested in, can teach equestrians more than any other opportunity might. Having the privilege to own and work with horses will not always be easy. There can be late nights braiding for competitions, early mornings trailering to the show, and plenty of all nighters with the sick horses. Those times are just part of the commitment. Although, I would rather be in the barn with the horses where I know I am spending my time wisely, than getting myself into trouble or sitting around doing nothing. These sacrifices have taught me perseverance and determination to always make the better choice.

Riding horses is an all age, and level, hobby. From when I rode in Maine, all the way to where I ride now in Florida, I have accepted that there is always going to be an older or younger, stronger or weaker rider than me, whether that’s due to lack of experience or lack of training, it doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t matter because I have realized that we are all here because of the same passion and the same goals. Though some of us progress at riding horses at different rates, it doesn’t make them any less of a horsemen as myself.

Working here in what is known as “The Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala, it has shown me how financially supportive I have to be to make it in easy. Although, it has also shown me how the equestrians who are the most hardworking, passionate, and committed in the industry, are actually the most successful. In all of my years riding horses, the experiences that have paid off the most are the ones where I worked my hardest and earned my success on my own.

Ocala has a lot of horse shows, a few small ones for schooling the horses, and then larger ones with quality cash prizes. I have received the opportunity to go to quite a few already this year, and everytime I go I always wonder why all of us continue to do this again and again, show after show. Well, this past weekend at the show I was at, a loose horse went running past me. I start to head over to see if I could help catch him. I didn’t quite see where it went so I was just going to turn around and head back to the trailer. All of the sudden the horse came out of nowhere and ran right up to me, out of breath. I was waiting for the owner of the horse to come find us. I was thinking about how mad the rider must have been after falling off. However, I finally saw this women covered, head to toe in mud, running and smiling towards the horse and me. After she had thanked me for holding onto the horse, I told her that I was sorry that she fell and got disqualified. What caught me off guard was when she laughed and said “At least we made it to the third jump this time!” I couldn’t help but laugh because it reminded me once again that we can only ask for improvement, and at horse shows, even if we even place, sometimes it’s nice to just make it to the third jump.