Amateur Hour: Chelsea Ireland Kulp
What is your day job and how often are you at the barn?
I am a high school English teacher and a doctoral graduate student at the College of William and Mary. For the past three years, I lived in Richmond, Virginia and had to commute an hour and a half to ride Surely at Freedom Farm. I was only able to ride about twice a week, and it was a big commitment to drive a total of three hours after work twice a week. Fortunately, my husband and I just moved a few miles from the barn, so I am able to see Surely basically every day! Having to spend so much time away from her for the last several years has made me really appreciate being so close now. I love being able to stop by to graze her or groom her instead of just commuting for lessons.
How do you plan your horse's training and show schedule around your work schedule? How often do you show?
Due to the expense of our sport, we are only able to show about once a month. We have had Surely since she was four years old, so she has been in a great program with my trainer, Peg Seals, for many years. My ability to ride and to show would not be possible without Peg! She is the real reason that I am #AdultAmmyStrong! I have ridden with Peg since I was in middle school, and I would not be able to ride as an adult without her flexibility. When I rode in college and when I lived in Richmond, Peg was always willing to work with my schedule. Whether that meant coming for lessons ridiculously early in the mornings, late at night, or absurd hours on the weekend, Peg has always helped me no matter what. She cares so much about Surely and our progress, and we would not be able to achieve anything without her help! I am also incredibly fortunate to have a horse like Surely. She takes horse showing very seriously, and it is so nice to be able to always count on her. Even if I don't get to practice very much, I know that I can step into the show ring and she will try her hardest no matter what.
What's been the best advice you've received and what advice would you give other adult amateurs?
It sounds cliche, but the best advice I have ever received is to just HAVE FUN! I am often guilty of putting way too much pressure on myself when I walk in the show ring. Surely is always perfect, so I know that if one of us is going to make a mistake it's going to be me! It's important to take a deep breath and to have fun! Once I got control of my nerves and relaxed, it was amazing how much more fun and relaxing horse shows became!
What does being #AdultAmmyStrong mean to you?
I have absolutely loved following and being a part of the #AdultAmmyStrong community. It is awesome to know that there are other adults out there following their passion and making it work, despite crazy schedules, time constraints, and finances. I am so proud to be #AdultAmmyStrong!
Connect with Chelsea
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