Sensibilities with Madison DeCook

I first met Madison through our shared lease of a bay Thoroughbred gelding named Fortune.  We bonded over the quirks and needs of this special horse, and out of the experience we developed a great friendship. Madison is an amazing trainer, and every lesson I learn more about the biomechanics of my body and I feel like a more effective rider. Her focus with horses is to help them discover what they want to do and she listens to them, finding out where it hurts, what their fears are, and encouraging their strengths. Her quiet and steady energy is a joy to watch, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to learn from her.

Please enjoy this interview with her, and if you are interested in learning more please follow her on Instagram: @galbraith.eq

*If you need a video with closed captions, please contact me!*

Ask the Trainer- Instagram Submitted Questions!

What is the hardest part of your job?

“There is a huge psychological burden that comes with being a horse trainer. We care for semi-suicidal animals and often have to be the ones helping them through their hardest moments. On the human side, we are the most under-qualified form of psychotherapy out there. While I love helping horses and humans handle their issues, both physical and mental, I sometimes struggle with emotional fatigue that comes with it.”

What do you wish your students were more respectful of?

“My time. More specifically, my free time. I don’t get a lot of it, sometimes I go for weeks without a day off. So my mornings and evenings can be sacred and I don’t want to spend them thinking about work or texting for hours. I’m always afraid to demand that me-time though, because people can so easily feel that “I’m being hard to reach” or “that I don’t care about their problems”. But I need time to let recharge in order to give them more quality interaction during my actual working hours.”

What’s your approach to working with a fearful rider?

“Fear is our strongest survival instinct. But fear grows when we don’t have the tools or knowledge to see past the blinders of instinct. The first step is to uncover the source of the fear. Is it a fear of falling? Fear of getting injured? Fear of feeling out of control? Was there a specific incident that triggered the fear or did it develop from insecurity? By bringing awareness to the root of the problem, you can start to replace it with positive motivators; correcting posture to feel more secure in the saddle, re-starting from the basics to prove to the rider that they can control themselves and therefor their horse, riding on the lunge line with “no control” to develop trust. I always start slow and reward even the slightest indication of change to help the rider change their mindset from “I’m afraid” to “I know how not to be afraid.”

Tips for riders that get into their own head on course?

“We are all guilty of getting in our own heads. And it is the single greatest setback we can have as riders. It’s funny, fear taught me how to get out of my head. I was so afraid of jumping at one point that I had to mentally tell myself “Get over it and breathe” every time I stepped into the ring. There are so many psychological tricks you can use, but honest to George Morris, the best thing you can do to get out of your head is count your rhythm. Count your horse’s canter rhythm and suddenly everything falls into place.”

What are some of the best flat work exercises to do when you are riding alone?

“This is a tough one to answer. You can do any exercise known to horse-kind. But if you don’t do it correctly, is it really worth doing? So I guess the best answer is “Do what you know you can do right.” Maybe it’s as simple as extending and collecting gaits. Or maybe working on bending through circles or yielding from the leg. Or even lateral work if you know what you’re asking for. Ultimately flat work is about responsiveness and suppleness, for both horse and rider. So spend the time learning what your horse knows and what they don’t know, their strengths and weaknesses.”

-Madison DeCook

I hope you enjoyed our interview! If you are based in Colorado and are interested in collaborating, please reach out!

Love from a candid moment, Connie
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Real

What is real? In this world of pixels and snaps and tweets and the ceaseless noise from like, like, like, share, comment, double-tap, text, how do we manage to make meaningful connections across the multitude of platforms available to us for instant connection? How do we sort out those who have truthful intentions from those that only want connection to benefit themselves? So what is real, or more importantly, who is real?

I have been lucky. I have been able to make friends, actual true friends, through Instagram. I never thought it was possible. I would have never dreamed that I would talk every day to friends across the country. That we would actually support each other, send mail, do Secret Santa, celebrate our wins, console our losses, and be there for each other. They have been a solace to me as I try to redefine who I am and help motivate me to achieve my goals.

So how do you sort out the authentic from the greedy?

You cannot get a good grasp of who a person is judged solely on their photos and their content. I have seen accounts with beautiful, curated photos yet the person has no substance, and accounts with average quality images but their soul pours through in their words. I go with my gut. The interactions of people I connect with tell me a lot about who they are. Do they have kind things to say? Do they offer insight and advice if asked? Do they stay consistent in their message and true to themselves?

The amount of followers or likes a person has means very little to me. Look deeper than the numbers flashing on your screen. If you find an account and feel that the person is relatable, that you agree or want to learn from them, don’t hesitate to reach out. You may be pleasantly surprised by their response. In the end, no matter if you have 50,000 followers or 200, you are just as valuable as them.

You matter. Do not belittle yourself or your importance in this world.

My hope, my goal is to strive to become more of myself everyday. It’s a struggle. It can be daunting to compare myself to others and suddenly find my inner monologue cursing my circumstances and making me find small and disconnected from the person I hope to become. I turn to my husband and my friends when the demon of self-doubt overwhelms me. I find it cathartic to voice my doubts or fears to you, my audience, in hope that we can find a common thread of connection rooted in our psyche.

So let’s get rid of the fear of connecting. Let’s move past the idea that perfection is a requirement for human interaction. Show me who you are, the good and the bad, and we can grow and learn from each other. Be real.

Love from a summer selfie, Connie

Empty Wallet, Full Heart

There’s no sugar-coating it: horses are expensive.  I have never been financially stable enough to afford to own a horse.  Sometimes people ask me if I have a horse, and when I answer no, there is a change of attitude in their voice and their opinion of me.  Oddly, this especially happens with people who aren’t involved with horses at all, as if I robbed them of the opportunity to ask if they could come ride my horse.  Non-horse people are also confused as to why I take lessons if I already know how to ride, probably assuming it is like driving a car. Horse people get it though. They know how costly it is to maintain the upkeep of a 1200 pound animal who is extremely powerful and yet so fragile.  They know that balancing work, living expenses, and horse expenses is downright HARD. I do not own a horse because when I do, I want that horse to have everything they need and a cushy savings account for the inevitable emergency situation. What if I lost my job? What if they colic?  What if?

“The hardest thing I’ve found for horses is the barrier to entry. Don’t have money? Get some skills and people or trainers will trust you with their horses. How do you get skills? You need lessons and more time in the saddle. How do you get that? Money. […] The more time in the saddle, the better. If you have a choice between a great trainer/horse once a week or a sufficient trainer/horse two to three times a week, choose the sufficient trainer. The hardest thing to develop is the muscle memory, which you can’t develop without enough time in the saddle.”

– Kayla Haynes; @kaylahaynes_

On the first of December 2017, I was crying happy tears on my way home from the barn because I had FINALLY signed my first partial lease on a horse and I was overcome by emotion.  It was only for two days a week, and the lease only lasted until May, but it was such an amazing feeling to go from taking lessons to feeling like I was able to cultivate a relationship with a horse.  After the lease ended, I decided not to renew because I wanted to be able to take the monthly payment and start putting it into an account for the purpose of saving up for a horse of my own.

“In all honesty, the finances for horses is one of the major stressors in my life. Since neither my husband nor my daughter ride, I try to be careful of how much I spend on horses, but horses are expensive. To afford horses, I make lots of sacrifices: I don’t buy new clothes, I don’t own nice shoes or purses, and we rarely travel.”

– Claire Caust-Taylor; @mdadultammy

In July my husband and I got tired of renting with a roommate in a two bed one bath duplex.  We wanted more privacy and space, and although we were saving money by living with a roommate, we were frustrated.  I knew I wouldn’t want the instability from renting if my goal was to buy a horse. In August we bought a house (OMG!) and our payment for our mortgage was a significant increase from our rent.  I could no longer save monthly for a horse as I was so hoping to do, and in October our circumstances changed again and I could barely afford two lessons a month. Unexpected car payments in late fall gouged out a chunk and trying to make up ground has been a struggle.  Our mediocre savings account had to be dipped into to make ends meet. The holidays almost broke us from driving across the country, travel expenses, and getting gifts for family members. This year we will not be able to travel and will have to miss a couple of weddings.  I have been conscious to try to reduce any unnecessary spending. And of course, my riding has been reduced.

“I truly believe that when there is a will, there is a way. If you want to ride and don’t have the means to do so, there is a trainer out there that would love to give you the opportunity to ride. When my parents were not able to financially support my riding any longer, I started as a working student at a local barn, and was given lessons in exchange for the work I did two nights per week. Later, I got to exercise ride horses (for free!) and would ride three to four horses per day. Life gets more complicated as you get older and have less time, but if you work hard and always show your kindness and appreciation, eventually you’ll have friends throughout the horse industry that would love to give you the opportunity to ride.”

– Lauren Maas; @equineendeavor

It is difficult to no longer afford to ride frequently or be around horses as much as I wish I could.  I feel like I had just started to grow a new piece of my soul when I was leasing and it has been stunted prematurely.  I figure I have two options: be jealous of others and sad for myself, or I can be supportive of others and look for ways to broaden my equine experience.  Due to my full-time job, I cannot be a working student like I once was. However, I am lucky to be friends with my amazing trainer and am able to go on trail rides with her once in a while, but I make sure that I pay her properly for the lessons I am able to schedule.  I volunteered to help with a clinic she held and hope to do so again. I act as groom and paparazzi sometimes which enables me to learn through experience and exposure. I hope to be able to go to more clinics or shows this year, watching from the sidelines and helping out when I can.  These little things help me feel more involved instead of a floater in and out of lessons.

“I try to not view the money I spend on my horse Rio as a hobby. Rio is so much more than that to me. He is my therapist, my gym membership,  my way to de-stress after a hard day at work. Not only is he a member of the family that I love dearly, he is what lights my soul on fire. When I consider all that he does to enrich my life, I stop worrying about the dollars spent and just feel thankful that he is in my life.”

– Kelly Wilson; @hunky_hanoverian

I fell in love with one of the most expensive sports on the planet.  Slap the name “equestrian” next to an item and the price skyrockets. Regardless of whether a person is just starting to take lessons or a seasoned professional, every equestrian I know struggles to make ends meet.  A large misconception of equestrians is that we are all rich and have oodles of money sitting around. LIES. In my experience, equestrians are some of the hardest working people you will ever meet, frequently going without so that their horses can have the best lives possible.  

“This blog title perfectly sums up the two main themes I have running at any given time when it comes to ponies & money: frustration that much of what I want to do is financially out of reach, and gratitude for what I do have. A new job allowed me to move into my first (half) lease ever, and with it came new expenses of course, but also new goals, which happen to be the same as from my childhood (basically more saddle time!) So, on the one hand, I’m so happy and grateful that I’m finally getting to pursue my horsey dreams! On the other hand, it’s a constant struggle of balancing costs with my 4 kiddos activities and monthly bills, (1 of whom has also started riding!) and keeping that frustration at bay because I’d really like to do more, like full lease, or show, or even own one day. I wish it weren’t all so darn expensive, but in the meantime I’ll keep looking for ways to make it happen and remind myself that what I currently can do is terrific.”

– Joy Musser; @joyride4

Money may make the world go around, but it shouldn’t define who we are and what we are capable of.  Being a good horse person is not directly equated to the amount of cash in your bank account. Horses do not care.  What matters is making the most of the moments we can spend in the saddle and finding ways we can continue to educate ourselves.

“My biggest tip is to stick to your budget! Sometimes it can be challenging learning how to balance personal bills and horse bills but I find budgeting each month helps me. I see what I have to pay and what I have to set aside. Being a college student with three horses isn’t easy financially and not something I’d highly recommend. If you have the means I’d definitely say stick to one! Also there is no shame in leasing a horse out when need be!”

– Jordan Even; @westphaliandreamer

I have moments when I feel like a second-class citizen compared to those who own their own horses.  What can I do to make this goal attainable?  Is it smart to budget for this now or should I pay off the credit card?  When I start to feel low about my current financial circumstances, I need to remember the good I have and focus on ways to enhance my future.  I need to remind myself that I am not putting myself or a horse in a tense situation by not having the excess money to take care of them. And I should continue to find ways focus on what really matters: improving myself as best I can and being thankful for the opportunities I receive to pursue my passion, one paycheck at a time.

Love from a lesson pony, Connie

“In thinking about my finances related to being an equestrian, the first thing that comes to my mind is how important being at the barn is for my mental health. Without that outlet, I would be a ball of anxiety and a lot more high strung than I am now. That being said, it makes it a lot easier to justify the financial burden of riding when thinking of my overall happiness.  I wish I had a sage piece of advice about how to save money, but I’m still learning myself how to budget myself. Although one thing I have learned is that being thrifty is the way to go. Or babysitting. But do a tack trunk clean out and try to sell what you haven’t picked up in a year. It might mean that you could do one more horse show!”

– Caroline Lurie; @clurie.eq

Breech Body

I can still hear the sneer in the kid’s voice when he bullied me on the bus ride home from elementary school.  A holier-than-thou tone mixed with his own gently nurtured southern twang as he squawked at me, “Hey. Did you know your arms are fat? You have fat arms!”  Feeling embarrassed and ashamed, I got off that bus as quickly as I could, wiping tears from my cheeks as I hurried home. It is strange how certain moments hang in our memories like spider webs that we cannot brush away.  Out of all the moments I have felt insulted and belittled about my appearance, why did this one stick with me longer than the others?

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and yet how many times do we let another person’s opinion infiltrate our own perception of ourselves?

I have always been on the heavier side, especially in middle and high school.  I lost weight in college and thought I looked my best at 23 and 24 years old when I was working 4 part-time jobs and working at a horse farm (yay for mucking fields!).  It was only then that I started feeling like I could tuck in my shirt without looking like a whale. That my booty could fit into those evil skin-tight breeches we equestrians love to loathe.  It was then that I allowed myself to start feeling like an Equestrian with a capital E.

2012 Cross-country schooling at Rocking Horse Farms, Ocala.

Fast-forward five years later and now I work a full-time desk job, have gained weight (ugh) and struggle to feel confident like I did a few years ago. When I look at pictures of myself now and see that extra bit of wiggle in the top of my thighs, my initial instinct is to cringe and never show the picture to anyone ever because clearly that’s all they will see.  I recently hesitated to share a picture of me riding on Instagram because I hated how I looked, but although that moment in time wasn’t brilliant, the lesson that day was actually fabulous. I posted it anyway, thinking how ridiculous it is that our society has been brainwashed into only showing perfection.

Lesson from Spring 2017

I wondered how others related to their self-image, positively or negatively?  Did they feel like I did? I reached out, and the responses that flooded back broke my heart.  I expected a mixed bag of answers, but almost every single person saw something truly dark in their reflection.  All ages and sizes, mothers and influencers, riders and actors, each person found something negative to obsess over in their self-image that I did not see.  I wanted desperately to give each of them a hug and thank them for their bravery. It is one of our society’s biggest lies: the perfection of beauty. The lie that beauty must equal sameness, and irregularities are less-than beautiful.  This goes for men too, and they have to deal with another layer in the definition of masculinity. Deeply rooted in our learned concept of body image is this voice that whispers, “You are ugly. You are worthless. You are not capable.” I want to punch that voice in the face because it’s NOT TRUE.  Don’t believe that voice. Please.

Why is perfection regarded more highly than progress?

The equestrian community is obsessed with perfection. Perfect equitation. Perfectly done hairnets.  Perfect riding outfits. Perfect horses. The perfect Breech Body. But just because you don’t (or you do) look like a Dover model, it does not make you any less valuable to this community.  I see so much hate on social media, directed at anyone who shows a moment of imperfection. Comments can hurt, and those keyboard villains are the lowest form of jerk. No matter what end of the spectrum you are weight-wise, you can still be an amazing rider.  Is your balance centered? Are you light in your seat and strong in your core? Are you an effective rider first, focusing on the comfort and fluidity of your horse? And most importantly, are you constantly trying to make progress in your riding for the benefit of your horse?  

Progress is gradual betterment.  It is not the pursuit of perfection, but a forward motion, higher or more advanced than before.  My personal progress is incremental, and sometimes it backtracks. I sometimes feel the weight in my chin or the tightening of my pants.  Other times I feel the soreness from a good workout, or the moment of suspension when I ask for my horse to lift its back to me. I will keep reaching for those moments of progression in my body, or in my training, or in my mental awareness of who I am.  

So screw perfect. I want progress. I want my mistakes and my scars. I want to wear my stretchy breeches and tuck in my shirt to show off my cute belt. I want to be balanced and feel my strength grow and take pride in myself as a rider.  I want to share my happy moments complete with a belly laugh. I already have a Breech Body, and I want to allow myself to show it.

Love from a Breech Booty, Connie


What is a Stage Manager?

The stage was shrouded in darkness and only a faint blue light lit the actors’ way in the black as they got set in position. I peered through the glass separating the booth from the audience, looking out to see the stage, watching for their movement in the dark, knowing that if they took too long and the light cue was not on time we would miss the proper start of the show. As soon as the actors were set, I tapped the “GO” button on my light board to bring the stage to life under the lights. I glanced at my light board computer to ensure the cue was still correct and working properly, and that the next cue lined up after it. I looked at my prompt book to double-check the cues I already knew by heart, and back to watching the stage to track the lead actress’ movement which would be my next cue. I took it as she crossed to center stage, and again at the change in the music, and again at another change in music and movement. The lights followed the movement on stage, and then revealed more of the set. I hit the button on my radio, my connection to my crew backstage, “Stand-by for scene change. Stand-by for scene change.” I said in a hushed voice.  “Standing” I heard in reply from my assistant stage manager. They are ready. The song came to its final chord and as I hit the button for the blackout, I called: “Scene-change GO”.

In every theatre in every corner of the world, there is a person tucked away in a tiny booth controlling and managing the lights, sound, projections, set changes, and just about everything that happens on stage. A good theatre production relies on a good stage manager. A director is able to focus on their job with a good stage manager at their side. The crew and cast is kept happy and well-run by a good stage manager. When a show is good and everything appears like magic, thank a stage manager. While a less glamorous job than acting or directing, everyone in theatre knows that when they work with a good stage manager, they will be protected, safe, and able to worry less in order to focus on their craft.

As I came to love theatre as an actress and singer first, my focus as a stage manager is always for the safety and benefit of my cast to allow them to focus on their creative process. I advocate for my cast as much as possible to make their experience the best it can be.

So, what exactly does a stage manager do?

Master stage-sweeper. Provider of pencils and band-aids. Keeper of gaff and spike tape. Controller of lights and sound. Herder of actors. Peace-keeper of cast and crew. Protector of her flock.

The main function of a stage manager is to organize rehearsals, take notes and blocking, communicate between the crew, designers, director, and cast for production updates and plans, and to run the show during performances. I think of it as a spoke on a wheel, being the main source of communication across departments. The stage manager is with the production the longest, from the first production meeting to the closing night.  

Rehearsals

During rehearsals, I arrive early to set up the space for what we need, sweep, and organize any props. I write down notes for the production or requests the director has for the design team. I also use shorthand to write down the blocking of the scenes, which is the movements, entrances, exits, and actions of the actors on stage. Sure, the actors write it down too, but my prompt book keeps a log of everyone’s blocking so we can reference it during rehearsals (or correct an actor if someone forgets what side of the stage they enter from). Here’s a peek at one page of blocking I wrote for Red which I stage managed last year at The Vintage Theatre in Aurora, CO.

Take a look:

When I take blocking, I really like to have my script printed single-sided, with the text on the left and a blank page on the right so it is easier to take notes. I got a little fancy with Red and printed the blank sides with lines for the blocking, and used numbers to line it up on the text side. Dork moment but I LOVE IT!

During rehearsals it is also my responsibility for managing rehearsal props, set pieces, and any other essential items for the actors to work with for familiarity. I spike* the stage for our set pieces or furniture (*spike: marking set pieces or important areas on stage using spike tape. Hint: to make a stage manager happy, get them a bouquet of tapes!) I keep a box of essentials I call my stage manager kit such as spike tape, gaff tape, first-aid kit, sewing kit, a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, pencils, post-its, Shout wipes, and a variety of other things. That way, I am prepared even if the theatre has run out of something. I always keep this kit with me but I do not leave it in the theatre until the show opens.

When the actors have memorized their lines (and thus have gone “off-book” as we call it) I stay “on-book” and am ready to call out their lines if they forget them. It’s very important to me that NO ONE else reads the lines if an actor calls “line” unless I have given them permission to. This way the actors know exactly who they should be listening to if they forget. Also, I expect actors to adhere to theatre protocol and say “line” clearly if they forget what they need to say. Long pauses or “erms” and “uhs” can often turn into an actor suddenly remembering their next words. Preemptively shouting out a line before it is asked for can hinder their memorization process and flow.

Hell Week and Performances

Tech week is universally known in the theatre community as Hell week. It’s the week of technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals leading up to opening night. It’s long, arduous, and the most exhausting week for everyone. A technical rehearsal is a run of the show with the technical elements of lighting and sound and whatever else mixed in. A dress rehearsal means you add costumes, and it should be as close to a real performance as possible. It’s a time to make mistakes so they can be corrected, so that the performances are as perfect as possible. I always feel better if I falter and mess up a cue during the first or second tech rehearsal because then I don’t do it during the performances!

Prior to the first technical rehearsal, I like to have a cue-to-cue with the lighting designer and with the sound designer. The lighting and sound designers at this point have already completed (or very nearly) their designs and have programmed them into the sound computer and lighting board. During the cue-to-cue, I put all the sound and lighting cues into my prompt book (a brand-new single sided script, as I hate having cues and blocking mixed together) and I like to go through each cue with the designers so I understand how they are to look or sound. I like to do this with only the light and sound designers in the space as it helps us focus and it’s really for me to get the feel of the cues in my bones.

Here is a sample of my cue script from Red, to show you the difference from my blocking script:

On opening night, the show should be considered set unless something drastic needs to be changed. At that point, the director is reliant on me and the cast to continue their vision. I literally run the show at that point! During the performances, I arrive 30 minutes before the actors are called to set up the space and run through my cues to ensure everything works. I give notes if needed to maintain the safety and smoothness of the run and am everyone’s go-to person with any concerns or notes to relay to the designers if something needs to be fixed during the run of the show. I set the call times, oversee fight calls, coordinate with the front of the house for the start and intermission, review actor warm-ups if needed, and continue to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

To me, being a stage manager has been the most demanding and rewarding job I’ve ever done. It can often be a thankless job full of high-stress risk mitigation and scrambling madly to get things done, even when it isn’t technically your responsibility. But it can also be full of satisfaction when everything goes just RIGHT, and you get to witness magic happen that you helped create.

Love from a tiny booth, Connie

Glossary

Blocking: The pre-planned movements of actors on stage. Comprising of entrances, exits, directions of crossing, and any important gestures or actions (such as sitting, standing, kissing, slapping, etc)

Spike tape: Brightly colored fabric-backed tape used for marking furniture, big props, and set pieces.

Gaff tape: Strong fabric-backed tape. Typically comes in black but also in white. Strong but does not leave residue like duct tape. It holds our universe together.

Prompt book: Magical binder filled with blocking script, cue script, contact sheet, ground plan of the set, and a variety of other important items.

Off-book: The actors should have their lines memorized and no longer carry their scripts on stage with them.

On-book: Stage manager or appointed person reads along with the scene and calls out forgotten lines if an actor calls for it.

Technical Rehearsal: A run of the show with the technical elements of lighting, sound, props, and set pieces.

Dress Rehearsal: See technical rehearsal, add costumes and makeup.

Run: A rehearsal in which we practice the show through from start to finish. No technical elements.

Run of Show: The complete time the show is performing, in terms of weeks or weekends.

Fight Call: Running through the moment in a play of risky action, such as falls, slaps, lifts, sword fighting, etc. We do this at slow speed, then medium speed, then at performance speed. I usually call actors for a fight call 15 minutes before the house opens.

She is Fierce

Today is a brand new day in 2019. As I write this, the air outside is so cold it snatches your breath away instantly. Snow covers the ground around our little house, but fortunately the sun is high in the sky and light filters in through our curtains. My husband, Carlos, sits across from me at our table immersed in his work. He is a filmmaker, artist, and composer and I cannot help but smile as I catch his eye. Our dog, Nutmeg, some sort of terrier mix with blonde fur and blue eyes, is basking in the sunlight that hits our front rug. She has a way of convincing us to open the windows and doors for her sun-soaked habit (I mean, if you see her face, you know why). And so starts our new year, quiet and sun-soaked with the chill of winter.

It seems rather cliché to start something new on the turn of the New Year, but this year it feels so appropriate that I am fully embracing it. Welcome to snippets of my life. I ride horses, stage manage theatre, work full time and try to live life to the fullest. I try to be kind to others and listen to those who need it, and in turn find a purpose for being here.

This blog will not be about one particular thing, but rather an honest view of my life. I will fluctuate between moments at the barn and my riding progress, take you backstage and through the rehearsal process as a stage manager, and I will share my thoughts and bits of what it means to be human.

For Christmas, a friend gave me a bracelet that says “Though she be but little, she is fierce”.  Many of you know this quote comes from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This quote hit me right in the gut (in the best way) when I opened it.  I have been feeling little and insignificant, and like I am not strong enough. I was apprehensive to start this. But with the help of a few very good friends, they convinced me that I do have something to offer to the world. And why not? I have a voice, so I will use it. So here is my goal for 2019: use my voice. State my mind, encourage others, sing, and contribute what I can to the world. To be Fierce.

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