Written by: Hannah Tyler
A little over one year ago, I became part of a very special team. A more fitting label, though, would be family. Family, “a group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.” Except the objects are people, and that characteristic is our passion for all things horses. About a year ago, I joined Team Tack Shoppe. When I was invited to work with The Tack Shoppe of Collingwood as an ambassador, to say I was excited would be an understatement. This was my first opportunity to develop a professional relationship with a company, and it was a perfect fit. Equine related? Check. Awesome products? Check. Kind and dedicated team to work with? Double check. But any and all expectations I had going into this were exceeded in no time.
You see, around the same time in which I joined Team Tack Shoppe, there was a pretty significant change going on in my riding life as well. Until that point, the majority of my riding career had been spent in small barns and local shows on (mostly) forgiving lesson horses. It was in these years that my love and passion- for the sport, for the horses, for just being around the barn- grew. And it kept growing. But I was ready for a change. After making a lot of calls and braving a couple of interviews, I landed a position as a working student. Gone were the quiet days at the barn, leisurely post-lesson strolls, and crazy shenanigans with my riding friends. It didn’t matter that I had spent the better part of my life around horses, this was an entirely new environment. Transitioning to a show barn was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I’ve made, for both my riding and personal growth, but it was not easy.
As soon as everything was final and I was set to begin my new position, I took to the Team Tack Shoppe Facebook group to provide an update. I wasn’t really expecting anything from it; I just wanted to inform my team about what I considered to be a major change. Keep in mind, this was maybe two or three weeks after we had begun working together to support the Tack Shoppe. But in just a few hours, I had received numerous congratulations, wishes of luck, and expressions of shared excitement. There were even people messaging me to offer advice from their own experiences as working students or grooms. The support was immense. The first couple months on the job were challenging to say the least. I was so out of element, so far out of my comfort zone. But that’s okay.
I’ve realized now that you have to push yourself, force yourself to get out there and learn, if you want to progress. The Tack Shoppe has no shortage of high-quality, professional attire, so there was no problem looking the part. I made sure to pick up a couple new pairs of breeches (Tailored Sportsman and Struck Apparel-yes please!) and tops to maintain a polished appearance. How many people get to wear riding clothes to work? I don’t even mind waking up early if it means I get to throw on breeches and head to the barn. Now, a year later, I am proud to be part of two incredible families. The first being my barn family-I have met and learned from so many talented people, some of the best in the industry. And the second, Team Tack Shoppe. Whether it be the impressive range of products to choose from, or the equally as impressive people I get to work with, The Tack Shoppe of Collingwood has been a support system I didn’t even know I needed. So if there is something you’ve been wanting to try, a new step you’ve been wanting to take, please do. You never know where it could lead or the opportunities it will present. And finally, don’t forget to support small businesses like the Tack Shoppe! In doing so, you’re not just supporting a business- you’re supporting a family.