By Meagan DeLisle
I work for a Fortune 500 company in Human Resources. If any of my fellow Ammy’s work in HR (especially in a factory setting) you know how demanding it can be: irregular hours, challenging situations, demanding timelines. It is exciting and exhausting at the same time. Some days I love it, some days I pull out strings of my hair and tie them in knots in some sick, strange, self-soothing tick I have developed. Thankfully, the location I work with is great and understands my needs to balance my personal and professional life. Twice a week, I roll in at a frighteningly early 6:00AM to allow for additional training and HR coverage and while that sucks early in the morning (I live an hour east from work, so I get to wake up at 4:30AM in order to make it on time), I don’t mind it so much when I roll out at 3:00PM and make the one hour commute north to the barn for pony time.
crop prices have been steadily dropping for the past few years. Wayne busts his butt to make ends meet, but it is my income that pays for pony time.
We talked, seriously, about the opportunity for me to get to do what I love as a career, but it all led to the same conclusion: making my passion a career would inevitably lead to the end of my personal, competitive career. The spare funds for boarding a horse, training, showing, SmartPak’s, farrier work, vet work, show clothing, etc would be all but gone. My truck, which I purchased in order to pull a trailer, would have to make way for a smaller, more gas friendly vehicle. Our insurance? Yeahhh we get that from my employer. It became a sad reality that as much as I wanted this, at this point in our lives we just couldn’t do it. Sweet, sweet Wayne tried to twist every single budget to make it work, but ultimately it was my decision. As long as Wayne is farming, I need my job. It is reliable and has room for opportunity. It provides for us and for Joey and all his needs (trust me- OTTB’s have a lot of needs).
So for now, I help out at the barn when I can. I manage their sale ads and website, I help with marketing, barn chores, and help out at shows. I do what I can to part-time to add in a bit of what I love in hopes that one day, our finances will allow me to do it full time. Until then, I will continue to balance our crazy life to keep doing what I love and providing for our small family.
How do I do that? Well each week I have a set schedule, two formal riding days a week (my early days at work) and I keep spare riding clothes in my truck just in case I actually get off at 5:00 on a normal day so I can make a mad dash to the barn. Right now, it is harvest time. Harvest and planting are the easiest times for me to spend additional time at the barn as Wayne stays busy later into the evening. I try to ride once a weekend, if we don’t have other plans. My weekend rides consist of a lot of ground pole work, working on Joey’s flexibility and stamina, and spoiling him rotten. On non-riding days, I spend my lunch break and after work hours reading articles or watching videos on horse management, riding tips and tricks, and how to work with horses fresh off the track. I am a writer, so in my free time I am also reading other guest blogs and writing my own.
I get a little frustrated and lose a lot of sleep. Free time sounds more like a joke than a statement, but somehow I make it all work. While it was hard temporarily turning down my dream job, I know that this is a struggle many of my fellow Ammy’s go through and that when the time is right, it will hopefully present itself again. For now, I put on my big girl breeches and watch the odometer tick mile after mile, all the while focusing on the fact that what I do with my life now, will greatly impact my life in the future.
Stay strong, it isn’t going to be easy but it will definitely be worth it!