Bella Fabiano with Knox, the surprise filly.

By Isabella Fabiano ’20

This was my last full month of my Equine Internship in Ocala working and training with Joe Meyer. These last few days have been very quiet because we just finished our biggest event of the year; the Land Rover Kentucky 3 Day Event.

Though I am beyond excited to finally make the trip back home to Maine, I will be reminiscing my last year in Florida. I still admire everyone here who has taught me so much about the whole equine industry and has improved my horseman skills. However, what I actually think I learned most from, were the emerging challenges; the unexpected responsibilities.

One of the most technical parts of this job is the fact that we have very important clients that show up at random moments. This means that the horses need extremely good care, while they also need to look clean and tidy. When clients come to look for their next horse we also need to ride them to the best of our abilities to encourage them to buy the horse. The work became very easy as soon as I learned important tips such as brushing the tail from bottom to top spiraled, and getting the final layer of dust of with coat conditioner, and currying the horses rain rot with MTG to soften the skin. These are all tips that are very specific to the kind of work we do, and things I had no idea about eight months ago.

One of hardest challenges I have faced is the death of some animals. It is definitely the worst thing about working with the horses, but it is also important to know that it is part of the job. There have been times that there were tragic sudden accidents, pasture accidents, sickness problems, broken shelters. Though it is sad to deal with, it is most important to remember that the job is to take care of the animals the best to our ability and take any of their pain away. Therefore I am grateful to have experienced such situations to prepare myself to handle any other possible endangered animals.

Not all events are sad and traumatic, though! When I had first arrived here there had been an unknown pregnancy of one of our mares (female horse) which led us to wake up one morning to a surprise filly (female baby horse)! It had actually only been my second foal I had ever seen. We didn’t really know what to do at all so we just ended up calling the vet. The baby and mother were both completely healthy and happy.

These are all moments that I have learned from which have helped me become more knowledgeable about working with horses in my future in several different circumstances and occasions. Working with horses can provide several different ways to make a living, such as a professional trainer or rider, and veterinarian, a barn manager, a barn hand, a groom, and farrier, and so many more. The best parts about growing up and learning in a barn are all the different jobs I can do yet still be able to work with horses.

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.