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Ode To The “Farmily”

When you get there in the morning, do you feel like you’re home? When you look around at the grooms, riders, and trainers do you think “This is my crew, these are my people?”
Well, you have a “farmily.” You know, like a farm family. See what I did there?

Every farmily is unique. Hopefully, you’ve got at least one caring ear to tell about your personal life disasters and get advice from. One person who makes stupid jokes all the time and ruins all your angry rampages by making you laugh. Someone who keeps an eye on everyone when they all go out together. And at least one person who gets your obscure movie references.

A balanced farmily will have a couple people you don’t want to tick off and the good sense to warn one another when they’re in one of their moods. There will usually be a “youngest cousin” who whines a lot and makes unreasonable demands. A “crazy uncle” type who is occasionally suspected of day drinking (not that it’s ever been proven). A “neurotic aunt” who, you know, just has this particular way of folding coolers and she’d rather do it herself because you’ll do it, well, wrong. A “bossy older sister” who better stop telling you what to do  because she ain’t the boss of you. A “goofy little brother.” That annoying cousin that everyone complains about. And if you’re really, really fortunate, someone who goes around singing (they’re good for morale!) Even the people who don’t come around too often, like the vet, the chiropractor, and the truck drivers are an essential part of your extended

Even the people who don’t come around too often, like the vet, the chiropractor, and the truck drivers are an essential part of your extended farmily. It wouldn’t be the same without them, and every different personality adds to the soul of the group.

You spend a lot of time with these people. Probably more than you spend with your actual family. Often, these are the people that you call when your car breaks down or when you need to be picked up from the airport at 3am. They give you advice, lend you money on occasion, and hug you when you need it. They know almost everything about you, not because you meant for that to happen but because you all figured each other out by osmosis.

The best thing about a farmily, like a family, is that you can argue and fight and still love each other. And even that cousin you barely talk to and never really liked, you accept.  Because you’re accepted. Because that’s what farmilies are about.

Some people think you need to maintain constant professionalism in your working environment. I respect that, but what my fellow grooms and I do isn’t a job. And for the serious amateur riders around me, what they do is no hobby. This is a life. Unless you’re a robot, everyone needs space to be themselves, to feel accepted as they are, and to feel supported by those around them.

So take this moment to appreciate your farmily, and I’ll do the same. Guys, thanks for tolerating my bad puns and my singing and the fact that my response to most emotions is crying. You are the best.

About the Author

When she’s not sharing hard-won #groomtruths, Brooke Nicholls works as a professional groom in Canada.

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