BY MEGAN ROSENTHAL
Covid-19 has taught me that people can essentially be broken down into two main groups: Those that approach conflict resolution with a team based outlook, and those that do not. I’m not saying one is more correct than the other, but after being locked down in quarantine and having both our health and economic affairs threatened, Covid-19 has reminded me to be grateful for those belonging to the first group. Never take them for granted.
I am indebted to those who act as if the only way we’re going to get through this is together. Of course, this grand claim is made in metaphor. Though we are together in spirit, we remain socially distant. #sixfeet
Looking at my most immediate circle, even within our own barn, Covid-19 has shown me that in a crisis not everyone operates with this mentality.
Naturally, we have experienced tumultuous levels of change through the pandemic. We’ve had new clients walk through our doors, and had clients choose to walk away. We’ve had clients offer to prepay their board, knowing the hay and grain bills don’t pause just because our industry has. We’ve had clients offer to keep paying for lessons they weren’t taking. We’ve also had clients question if they cancel their lesson late, if they would still have to be financially responsible.
We’ve even had staff offer to cut their paychecks for the time being knowing that one day, Covid-19 will have passed and they would rather have a place to call home and keep working than be looking to start over in the aftermath of a global pandemic. They know that if the barn survives, we all do. To that point, I’m grateful for the sense of community that Covid-19 has strengthened amongst our team.
Additionally, I’m grateful for our office manager and her family’s mask-making skills. My butterfly mask and I are eagerly waiting to expand our trips from the grocery store to horse shows.
But beyond just our immediate team in the early stages of living in quarantine, I felt a new sense of loyalty and a bond between trainers. In a lifestyle and industry that unfortunately thrive on taking care of ourselves first, all at once we were thrust into a situation where the playing fields were leveled with closures—no showing, no lessons, no travel, and very little sales. This resulted in limited income and no foreseeable end to the uncertainty. In those first few weeks, my phone pinged almost everyday with texts and messages from all over the east coast. Trainers and friends checked in to see how we were doing, how we were operating, if at all, and hang in there. Stay safe.
I have friends between businesses and for that I am lucky. But Covid-19 showed me just how fortunate I am for my network of good people.
As far as the horses go, the backbone of our industry and day to day lives, they don’t know what Covid-19 is. To them, this “coronacation” has been a much deserved break from the stress of travel and preparation for competition. They have settled into a consistent routine of training balanced with ample turnout time.
And cookies. Covid-19 has given them extra time for lots of cookies.
Spending quarantine in our little bubble at the farm, I have reinstalled a sense and appreciation of home. I am fortunate to have spent my quarantine days outdoors in beautiful weather with beautiful horses. I have the opportunity to take a breath and reset the training and the facility (ask me later about the flowerbeds, fencing, and staining we’ve been doing). While so many bad things are happening in the world, Covid-19 has made me appreciate the closeness of my community all the more.
It has also taught me that I can indeed cook at home, minus the one oven fire mishap.
I never in a million years would have predicted this was the way 2020 was going to turn out. I remember waking up on January first of this year thinking, this is it. This is going to be a great year. If I could change the course of the coronavirus, I would absolutely have put a stop to it.
But if there is one positive thing we can take away from living through this history textbook chapter, I hope it is that we surprised ourselves in our ability to come together when the world was trying to fall apart.
I hope that when we look back and tell the story of living through a global pandemic, you will be able to say not just “I survived,” but we survived.
Megan Rosenthal is a professional working for her family’s business, Fairy Tale Farms, out of Charlotte NC. She graduated summa cum laude from Queens University of Charlotte ’19 with a major in Creative Writing.