One of the best things I ever did for myself was take a step back from riding during college. It was a good thing for me, because I needed time to mature and figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I’m forever grateful for that time, because it allowed me to come back to horses on my own and be 110% committed to being an equestrian for the rest of my life. As a fresh college graduate, this is not always easy — there are a lot of demands on your time and finances, and the only way to include horses in the equation is to be dedicated to making it work. However, this time away from the horse world also had a huge impact on my riding… and it wasn’t for the better.
The Time Crunch
Sure, I was busy in high school with homework, marching band and extracurricular activities… but it’s nothing compared to being an adult. Do you know how long it takes to do laundry, clean the house and cook three meals a day?! Not to mention working a full time job, making time to see other friends, take care of the dogs… the list goes on and on. I thought I had good time management skills in college, but it turned out I was just great at procrastinating. As an Adult Amateur, my time is more valuable than ever.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
I used to dream about how awesome it would be once I had steady income because then I could buy whatever I wanted! Show coats, helmets, saddle pads, boots… the list went on and on. Until the first bill came, and now they never stop. All that money I work so hard to accumulate quickly goes out the window to pay for the basic needs of myself, my family and precious ponykins. Now I have to wait three months to save up for that show coat. As an Adult Amateur I have a lot more money, but a lot more bills to go with it.
Sense of Mortality
I used to never worry about getting hurt when I was junior. I had no fear jumping big jumps or cantering through the trails for the first time. Try something new? HELL YES. Now I find that my self-preservation instincts have kicked in, at high velocity. Jump 2’6″? Well… I guess we’ve done it before so I should be able to again. Canter on the trails? Only if the stars are aligned and Mercury is in retrograde. Jump 3′ natural obstacles in the field? Hahahahahaha, you’re hilarious!! As an Adult Amateur, fear is a real obstacle.
Ability to Say ‘No’
Growing up isn’t all bad though because now I can say ‘no’. No, I don’t want to do 20 laps of no stirrups. No, I don’t feel like jumping that jump today. No, I don’t want to ride your green broke stallion who spooks at his own shadow. Now, I only do what I want to do, when I want to do it. As an Adult Amateur, you answer only to yourself.
It takes a few years passed becoming an Adult Amateur at 18, but once you get there, it’s miraculous. You know all that stress you carry to the barn from your job? Or the anxiety you feel heading into the show ring? Now you can combat that legally with some liquid courage. You can keep wine and beer in the fridge of your tack room, have a can opener hoof pick, and drink before you head into your class at a horse show (not too much… you don’t want to puke off the side of your horse). As an Adult Amateur, you can drink. ‘Nuff said.