What is your day job and how often are you at the barn?
I am the Staff Director for a committee in the Florida Senate, which is a very time-consuming job for part of the year and a very flexible job for the other part. I average 5-6 days/week at the barn when I am not busy and 3-4 days when we are at our busiest (during legislative session).
How do you plan your horse's training and show schedule around your work schedule? How often do you show?
I have 2 months a year where I cannot leave work early for lessons or take a day off for a horse show, along with a few weeks like that scattered over the prior months – this makes it pretty easy to eliminate any shows that are happening during that time! My barn has a few shows they do every year (Venice summer series, HITS Ocala, etc.) and they give us a good idea of where else they plan to travel months in advance. I look at my work schedule (namely: can I take Thursday and Friday off that week?) and my budget and decide where I will be joining them.) When prepping for a big show I try to be on a regular lesson schedule but there are times where I will have to go a month or so without a lesson. I am fortunate that there are people who love to ride my horse when I can’t, mostly the high school student who used to own him. The way legislative session is scheduled this year means I will be going straight from two months of very little lessoning to two weeks in a row at HITS – not ideal by any means, but it is the only option for me (unless I want to skip HITS, which I don’t want to do!!).
I typically do 6-8 local shows and 5-6 A/AA shows a year.
What do you find you struggle with most as an adult amateur? And how do you overcome that?
My biggest struggle is guilt. My family supports me and my job allows me to be flexible at times, but I am in a constant battle trying to balance it all. The daily challenges are tough – can I leave work a little early so I can get to the barn ahead of schedule and make it home for dinner with my husband and stepchildren? More than that, though, every time I write a big check or pay my barn bill after an away show I think of all the other ways that money could be spent. This is truly my passion and my family supports it, but that doesn’t make the guilt go away.
What's been the best advice you've received and what advice would you give other adult amateurs?
One of my trainers loves to remind the adults that if we aren’t having fun and enjoying ourselves, we are doing it wrong. Because I make all the sacrifices mentioned above, if I am not enjoying (almost) every minute at the barn and every away show, then I am wasting this opportunity and the time away from my family and job. I think that is the biggest difference between being a junior and being an adult amateur – I am sacrificing so much to be doing what I am doing and it needs to make me happy to be worthwhile. The hacks in the dark and the financial sacrifices have to be worth it in the end.
My advice would be simply: If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong!
What does being #AdultAmmyStrong mean to you?
Being #AdultAmmyStrong means finding the balance, weighing the risk and the reward, knowing when to add leg or to half halt - in the ring and in life.
It also means there is a reason adults get to drink wine.
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