Amateur Hour: Jennifer Lenihan
What is your day job and how often are you at the barn?
I am an insurance broker - specializing in Long Term Care Insurance and planning - on an individual and corporate level - as well as life insurance, annuities and hybrid products. Since riding is a sport that makes us more likely to sustain long term injuries or lay ups, I have started working with fellow equestrians more, to make sure they have a proper financial plan in place.
Fortunately my career allows me to work from a home office a majority of the time, which allows great flexibility for riding (and sometimes conducting business or conference calls in breeches lol). I am also very lucky to live less than 2 miles from my horses, so I am able to see them almost every day.
How do you plan your horse's training and show schedule around your work schedule? How often do you show?
Adding the third horse has been a little more tricky, but I usually rotate their days off and lessons so I only have one or two to ride most weekdays. I plan shows around my work schedule (Spring and Fall tend to be most busy for me with work), my budget, and what shows tend to be more budget friendly (more people from the barn attending, reasonable hotel prices, closer distances to keep trailering costs down etc., and appropriate classes offered for younger horses). This year about a half dozen AA shows with at least one or two of the horses. As they progress with their training more next year, we will add a few more shows to the season schedule.
What do you find you struggle with most as an adult amateur? And how do you overcome that?
I'd have to say making life plans in general work with the horses. For example, early this year, after losing a large amount of weight, I finally decided to pursue skin removal surgery from my abdomen. I am extremely pleased with my results as it has greatly improved my daily life in general and my riding as well. I have made the decision to have the excess skin from my thighs and arms removed this fall and winter. It's a big decision in itself, along with the recovery, but lining up riding and care for the horses for that 4-6 months adds to the process.
It takes a village, literally. There are some wonderful juniors and amateurs at the barn that are able to help me with the rides. Also, when that's not enough, my trainer is very experienced working with the younger horses and giving them professional rides when needed.
What's been the best advice you've received and what advice would you give other adult amateurs?
Trust your gut and judgement. Whether it comes to buying a horse or picking a distance. If something doesn't feel right don't be afraid to ask questions or take a step back if it's a big decision.
There's no right way to make this work and I'm always learning. Three years ago, I made the decision to get back into riding, after a 10 year hiatus, and bought a barely broke three year old. I had a rough idea of my goals, along with the right facility and a knowledgable professional, but I had no idea how much I was about to learn and experience. The process has become more refined with each horse, learning about them but more about myself as well.
What does being #AdultAmmyStrong mean to you?
Being inspired by other amateurs. I LOVE "meeting" and reading how they make it work - whether it be on tight budgets, time schedules or getting back into the game after years of not riding. I'm all for supporting my fellow ammy's and if you ever see me at a show please say hi!
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