Amateur Hour is a blog series featuring some of the adult amateurs I've had the pleasure to "meet" through the endeavor that is #AdultAmmyStrong. They've answered a series of questions about their "real" jobs, their barn, training and show lives as well as what it means to them to be #AdultAmmyStrong.
First up meet Natalie, a show jumper living in Toronto, Ontario.
What is your day job and how often are you at the barn?
I work as a hairstylist and makeup artist at Marc Anthony Salons in Toronto, Ontario as well as working for my dads company (With-Seidelin private wealth management) one day a week. I'm also in school full time for Equine Studies at the University of Guelph. I opted to do my entire schooling by correspondence since that allowed me to juggle my busy schedule.
My young jumper and I are in a full training program. I ride 4-6 times a week, one ride is always a lesson and my coach gives my 6 year old a pro ride usually once a week as well. My retired jumper still loves to work and she currently is part boarded 3 days a week, and I will normally ride her the other 1-2 days.
How do you plan your horse's training and show schedule around your work schedule? How often do you show?
My coach and I are very flexible with what day we lesson from week to week and usually play it by ear; same goes for the pro rides my horse gets. I'm lucky enough that I only work 3-4 days a week so the days I don't work I usually head up to the barn in the morning and then hit the books for school. On the days I am at the salon I work 11-8 so I'm at the barn at 5 a.m. to make sure I fit in rides on both horses. I've been at my job for quite some time which gives me some great flexibility over the show season when I need time off or need to move days around. Also, if I don't have any vacations planned I usually use my 2 weeks vacation for horse shows and break them up over the season.
Last season I showed every other week but only showed from July-September since my 6 year old had never shown in her life before. This season may be different and my coach and I haven't set a particular schedule yet.
What do you find you struggle with most as an adult amateur? And how do you overcome that?
I find that adult amateurs can kind of get lost and forgotten about a bit, especially if they are trying to make a name for themselves in the process. Sometimes we can find ourselves in a place a bit like limbo where we can't qualify for specific division championships because of age or don't necessarily have the backers to make the shift to being a pro. I feel as a competitive amateur you really have to work for all the recognition you want to get.
What's been the best advice you've received and what advice would you give other adult amateurs?
The best advice I've ever received is to not quit on your goals. Timing is everything and if you work hard, are passionate and dedicated you will achieve what you have set out to do.
Also, brand ambassadorships are a great way of getting your name out there. Don't be afraid to apply or approach companies and express interest. You'll never know if you don't try!
What does being #AdultAmmyStrong mean to you?
Being #AdultAmmyStrong is about being a confident, strong and smart individual and rider. As adult amateurs we have the advantage of being in control of our entire lives and that gives us the freedom to choose exactly what we want to do.
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