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Miles 2015

At the Barn = In the Office

Today’s fun fact: I briefly considered majoring in Equine Studies in college. I actually visited the University of Findlay with that goal in mind. While the campus was beautiful and the barns were gorgeous, I ultimately decided to keep horses as a hobby, instead of making them my career. Looking back, there are a million reasons I’m glad I made this choice, the least of which is that I’m simply not good enough to be a professional. But nevertheless, that choice became a defining moment in my equestrian journey.

Way back when, I chose to have fun with horses and not make them my work; I chose make going to the barn optional, not a chore, and I never forget that. I work a desk job and a lot of days, I’m really excited to put on my breeches and head to the barn. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, but I also love getting to leave at the end of the day and enjoy what I love. But you know what really sucks? When all of a sudden your escape becomes another office.

horse trainer
Horse trainer I am not.

Right now, riding Miles isn’t fun: it’s frustrating, it’s difficult, and it tests me physically, mentally and emotionally. I work all day and the last thing I really want to do is leave my home office and drive 20 minutes to another office and do a few more hours of work. And right now, that’s what the barn and riding Miles feels like: another job, more hard work. This is the part of horseback I dislike the most.

Miles Jumping at Equivents
I want riding to be like this, all day every day.

But I keep going anyways, and every day I keep working hard. I tell myself it’s going to be worth it, because on the other side of all this shit I’m slogging through is my dream, my goal. Progress is slow, agonizingly slow, but there is progress. It took me 30 minutes yesterday to get Miles to extend the canter when I asked without histronics, but he did it. Progress.

Miles 2015
I miss happy cantering.

While there’s a lot to be sour about in terms of riding right now, I’m also trying to remember the good things I have going for me. I’m not missing any rides or any lessons, thanks to Moiya. In fact, I’m riding and learning more than ever. Plus, I have the best team of support that any adult amateur could ask for: vets, farrier, Trainer and BFF/working student are all working really hard to help me — and for that, I’m eternally grateful. So even though Miles and I aren’t having a ton of fun right now, I’m confident that in a few months we will be going better than ever. All I have to do is hang in there and keep working.


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

17 thoughts on “At the Barn = In the Office

  1. I totally get where you are coming from with this post. I, too, have an 8-5 job that requires a lot of my focus, effort, and attention; one that I don’t particularly enjoy, but it pays the bills. When struggles come in my riding life (and they inevitably do), it makes it that much harder, because I already HAVE a job. I totally empathize with you. All I can say is, keep slogging through. You have a great team and this too shall pass!

  2. I’ve decided the same thing as far as the horse career thing goes. I didn’t want my #1 escape and only escape some days, to become another stressful job. It’s nice having that time to relax us. And you and Miles will get back there soon! Red and I had the WORST few months in the beginning of this year, and now we’re having the best time we’ve had together. You’ve got this, it’ll improve!

  3. My brief time working in the horse industry has led me to believe that it’s much better suited as a hobby for me, not a career. Keep on pushing through with Miles.

  4. I know where you’re coming from. Some days, it takes all my willpower to sit in traffic just to deal with a pony I want to punch. Usually I use the money excuse in myself to motivate me (“you pay tons of money to only ride 3x/week, so skipping a day is basically lighting money on fire”). And sometimes I get there, and all I want to do is groom my pony and snuggle with him. And that’s OK. It makes it less like work and more like r&r. Just remember that this phase always comes and goes and soon it will be a distant memory!

  5. Yep. 100% agree with everything. Riding may get hard sometimes but it’s not a job or a chore. We may get frustrated but we still love it as our hobby. So glad (no matter how small) you are getting bits of progress with Miles.

  6. I live this a little too – there are days when the last thing I want to do is leave work, drive to the barn, and pay even more money for a not so great ride on lesson night. The only thing to do is to note the small wins and keep on working 🙂

  7. Riding is hard, and can be frustrating, but it’s the passion that keeps us coming back, day after day! If you want it bad enough, you can work through this rough patch and come out the other side a better, stronger, more confident rider. Don’t give up!

  8. These are the times that make you second guess yourself and such, but these are the times we really build on and push through and then get rewarded with something awesome on the other side. Hang in there lady, it will get better!

  9. So much of this resonates with me as I go from horse trainer to office worker and keep horses as a hobby. It’s SO nice to feel like I want to go to the barn rather than dreading it. It’s unfortunate that riding feels like work for you now, but it’s so nice to have another horse to ride who doesn’t give you such a hard time and hopefully you and Miles will be a team again in no time!

  10. i made a similar decision when i was younger – i had always wanted to be a vet right up until i spent enough time at the barn to realize how *busy* vets are, and i decided ‘nope, too busy and not enough time to ride my own horse’ and never looked back. every now and then i wish i could do horses full time but… it’s just not practical for me. so i totally get where you’re coming from in thinking ‘it’s supposed to be fun, not work.’ i also admire your attitude and determination to slog through it tho – and i think it WILL be worth it!!

  11. I can relate to what you’re saying and I totally get it. I hope you break through the barrier that seems to be beinging him back to work and start having fun with miles again soon 🙂

  12. I know exactly what you are talking about. I have this feeling that Knight and I are improving, and then something that used to be so simple becomes very challenging (like sitting trot or canter depart). So keep plugging away. That’s what I’m attempting. All the challenges are what makes this passion/hobby/lifestyle interesting and rewarding (on the good days).

  13. I feel this so hard. I work an 8:30-5 office job plus have my own farm and three horses. One is retired but super high maintenance, one is a failed project (ugh), and the last my show horse, who is emotionally never going to move past 5 years old…. But all the hard work, long days, frustration, and exhaustion are totally worth it on those occasional days when all the stars align and everything just clicks. It doesn’t always last that long, but you have to embrace it and appreciate it while it does!
    Try to remember too, that Miles lost some fitness while he was rehabbing his foot. He’s a lot like my horse in that he’s not super motivated for all the work, so it’s extra hard for him to do the hard stuff (like extending the canter) since he’s not as strong as before. You’ll get back to where you left off in no time! And you’re going to be even better since you’re achieving so much with Moiya!

  14. I know things are super frustrating, but I just have to say, you’ve got the greatest attitude about it. Very admirable. You WILL get through this and you WILL meet your dreams and goals on the other side. =)

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