Everyone grows up, that's just part of life. Equestrians put a lot of emphasis on age. Hell, we've even developed a system to where we can physically be one age but horse show at a different age depending on our birthdays. No wonder people think horse girls are weird.
I'm here to tell you that adult ammy life DOESN'T SUCK! Here are the top five reasons why ammy life is better than junior life.
Aging out of the junior ranks or being a re-rider after time in Children's or Junior Hunters isn't the end all be all. Life doesn't end if you don't go pro.
Here are my top five reasons why life is better as an adult amateur.
1. No (or not as much) pressure
I purposefully put this as number one.
All the pressure junior riders feel is almost nonexistent as an adult amateur. The only pressure we have on our shoulders is typically self-inflicted.
Everyone knows we work to be able to ride. There's a little more leniency on your riding because you aren't out every day after work to ride because, you know, real life. Husband. Kids (two-legged or four-legged. Yes, I'm that dog mom!). Adulting - all those things that make it possible to ride often times come before riding.
Did you miss to the 2'6" single oxer? Yes your trainer might sigh and yell, "Come onnnnn!" or in my case yell, "Saarraaaahhhhh!" to which I reply "I know, I picked," or "I came out of the turn and didn't see anything." We quickly talk about it, do it again, and again and again til I finally get one decent distance and call it a day! I still had fun. I was in the saddle (and stayed on!) and that's all that counts.
Also - for those of us not blessed with a natural 'equitation figure' - no more 'big eq diets!' Yes, we need to be strong and fit to be effective, but no more worrying about trying to fit into a crazy, irrational mold of what a rider should look like.
2. The camaraderie and support system
I'm going to start by saying that no, this does not apply to all children and juniors, but most have seen it firsthand.
SOMETIMES the juniors get a bad rap. The cut-throat competition between who is better, who has the more expensive horse, who made the inside turn vs. who didn't.
Generally speaking, groups of adult amateurs are very supportive and encouraging to one another. We say things like, "Hey, you made that cross-rail gymnastics look easy!" and "Oh, I totally agree. Ground poles are WAY harder to find a distance to!"
We stick together. We know exactly what it takes for the others to get out to the barn, cause we're living it too. We relish in the before and after lesson time to chat with friends and catch up on what's going on in each others' lives. It's our therapy.
3. Timeline, says who?
Juniors have a set timeline. If their goal is to go to ASPCA Maclay Finals or any of the big equitation finals, they only have until they are 18 in order to accomplish that goal. If they want to ride in the USET Finals, they have to make it happen before they age out.
The good thing about an adult amateur is that there IS NO AGING OUT! Do you want to compete in the Adult Ariat Medal Final or Adult Hunter Finals? If it takes you one year or five, it doesn't matter! Once you're in the Adult Ammy Club, you're in! You don't have a timeline you have to adhere to in order to achieve your goals. The only schedule you're on is the one you set yourself!
4. You're in control
As children and juniors we're picking at the pockets of mom and dad. They say yes or no to shows, what is purchased for you as a rider and for your horse. Well....as an adult amateur YOU get to make those decisions. There's no one to tell you no. You are in control. However with that control comes great responsibility. We have to balance show schedules with work and school schedules, other financial obligations such as mortgages, bills and all that other not-so-fun adult stuff.
5. There's booze!
We all know that a drink after a long day is one of the perks of being an adult. Sometimes it's celebratory and others it is to mask a bad day. Either way, your adult ammy friends are always around for a "CHEERS!" or to commiserate with you (see #3).
Check out the perfect drink pairings for every type of ride. What's your go-to drink? Mine is a chardonnay.
Always drink responsibly and it should go without saying that this is for ages 21+. And yes, I understand not everyone drinks.
What are some reasons you think #AdultAmmyLife
is better than junior life?