We sat down with Southern Florida-based amateur hunter rider Laura Swanstrom Reece and discussed her life-riding balance, her gorgeous horse Dani and what being #AdultAmmyStrong means to her.
Name: Laura Swanstrom Reece
Discipline & Division: Hunters
Rusty Stirrup, hoping to move up to 2' with the goal of the Low Adults
Horse name & age: Danash's Northern Tempest (Dani) - coming 7
What is your day job and how often are you at the barn?
I am a wife, and mother of two teenage girls. We own Reece Worldwide Travel, a boutique travel agency helping people plan their vacations to Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and beyond! Our family has travelled significantly — collectively to over 35 countries on 4 continents! We have a lot of knowledge to share and enjoy helping people.
I try to be at the barn four to five days a week. After dropping my girls at school and walking the dog, I head to the barn to train.
How do you plan your horse's training and show schedule around your work schedule? How often do you show?
My work schedule is extremely flexible, I have a mobile office and can book travel from almost anywhere, so I balance my training and shows around my family's schedule. At WEF, Rusty Stirrup is on Sundays. My husband and I trade weekend days for our activities and shuttling children around. During WEF, his day is Saturday, and mine is Sunday.
My goal is to always show 12 weeks of WEF. It never works out that way, but I do rent a stall for the season so that I have the opportunity to be on show grounds as much as possible. I'm just happy schooling at WEF too. It's my Disneyland!
I also try to fit in a few ESP shows. This year Dani and I were circuit champion for Rusty Stirrup for ESP's Holiday & Horses.
What do you find you struggle with most as an adult amateur? And how do you overcome that?
I struggle with not being able to be 100% invested in the sport as many of the teens who are homeschooled or who have tutors are. As an adult, you are constantly juggling everything you can imagine and it's tough to stop, focus on your horse and enjoy the ride. But that's also why I enjoy it so much. Riding makes me stop and appreciate the small things; it brings me a great deal of peace in a wold of so many distractions.
What's been the best advice you've received and what advice would you give other adult amateurs?
Everyone loves to win. But a ribbon costs pennies, and the real goal is to do well. The overall placing is about how well you rode, how well you performed along with your horse, and if you learned something, grew, were challenged and found success.
What does being #AdultAmmyStrong mean to you?
AdultAmmyStrong means you can do this!
I may be 30 years older than most of the people I compete against, but riding is a sport you can do whether you are five or 50. I plan to not only compete, but to eventually win and enjoy the journey!
follow laura & dani on instagram