Isabella Fabiano ’20
Since I have lived in Florida, I’ve had several different roommates. Each of my roommates has lived in different parts of the world. I have worked with peers from different countries as well. In fact, my current employer, Joe Meyer, was a citizen of New Zealand, then England, and now the United States. Being surrounded by equestrians from different cultures is quite fascinating and educational. I have noticed the manners and experiences vary in girls from different countries.
My two English roommates have both been incredibly kind. Both of them also have a larger learning base about horse management and grooming. This could be due to England being a smaller country and the number one equine country in the world. I lived with a college girl from Colorado for a month, and she was more into having fun here instead of working and learning. Currently I live with a National Young Rider gold medalist (in Junior Eventing Olympics) who’s from a small town in Texas. Even with all her wealth and success in competition, she is very humble and helpful. Her attitude has actually really inspired me, not only personally, but in terms of horsemanship and work ethic.
The barn manager and my boss are not from the same areas I reside. Living with different cultured girls are one experience, but working for and with this diverse group of leaders and teachers, is a completely different experience. Due to the language barrier, I often hesitate do what I am asked, because it takes me a minute to understand what certain things mean in New Zealand. I find myself laughing often when I hear an object pronounced drastically differently than I am used to. Examples include “you are” as “y’all,” or “saddle pads” as “numnahs,” or “mucking the stalls” as “skipping out the stables,” and “popsicles” as “ice lollies.” It has definitely been a struggle with some conversations, and it’s always a constant process to explain my New England slang to my peers.
The girls I have worked with, all have or have had, different kind of schooling. One was in college, one didn’t go to college, one was in high school, and one has been homeschooled since seventh grade, and the English girls graduate from school when they’re sixteen! When I found out about their graduation time, I was surprised, considering that is how old I currently am, and I still have many years of school ahead.
I mentioned observing many recognizable differences, being surrounded by a new group of people. Clearly, our goals may be different, but we share the same passion. Horses are not always a popular subject in the American culture, considering a lot of people are not involved with them. Being in an environment where everyone has a common interest helps bring a comfort to daily conversation. The topic of the day always involves an aspect of equine care. I do enjoy talking about horses for much of the day, but having others experienced with horses around me makes me feel part of a special family.
All across the country, all different ages, all different equine experience, we all work in the same barn, working with, and riding the same horses. When I started planning for this experience as an equine student, I only imagined the care and riding of the horse. The bonus to this program, has been the privilege of meeting peers from various parts of the world and becoming part of something; a sisterhood.
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.