It’s no surprise equestrians have a reputation for being crazy. The 4am alarms, the 6-hour round trip drives to go eventing, the numerous falls face first in the dirt – I guess we would all admit we are a bit mad for doing what we do! I am no exception to the rule.
As I’m sure many others will relate to, I work full time to fund my horsey heaven. Half the week this means I am living the city life, working as a Marketing executive for American Express in the big smoke of London. I am incredibly lucky that work life balance is a real priority for this company, so I am given the opportunity to work from home part of the week. This means a 4-hour journey home every Thursday to my family yard in Shropshire. Whilst financial services might be a long stretch from British Eventing, the marketing skills have really helped me develop content for my sponsors, so the office job does come in quite handy.
Fridays are what I would describe as… frantic. An early morning start to get all 3 horses fed, mucked out, ridden and turned out before my 9am work begins can sometimes be a bit of a manic rush. I am 100% a night owl and not a morning person so I absolutely relish the long summer evenings when the horses can be ridden leisurely at 5pm but during the winter I must learn to love the dark chilly early hours. Now we are in February Fridays also mean competition prep! Sometimes we can be out competing with 1 horse on Saturday and another on Sunday so plaiting, bathing and tack cleaning are the focus of my ‘big Friday nights out’. Don’t feel too sorry for me though, a home cooked meal and a good glass of vino in front of the fire welcomes me after the jobs are all done.
The weekends are all about pony partying! I am really lucky to have 2 horse crazy parents and they truly are my dream team. My dad drives the horsebox and handles the youngsters, my mum ensures the tails are always gleaming and has the dressage test ready for any last-minute memory loss and my little dog Ruby is my number 1 course walker companion. In fact, it isn’t just weekends that I rely on their support but even more so during the week. When I am working in London it is these 2 superheroes who look after the horses back home. They may not ride much anymore but they will put them on the walker, lunge them and occasionally even hack a couple of times a week. Without this I wouldn’t be able to compete, so I am enormously grateful to them! Social media often focusses on the horses and the results, but it really is the people behind the scenes that make it all happen.
I would be lying if I said it was easy. I feel like I spend half my life on a train. Paying full rent to live in London only part time means there is rarely a spare penny lying around and Saturday nights out socialising with friends truly are a rarity for me. Sometimes it can be frustrating. Thoughts such as: ‘if only I could ride full time our progress could be so much faster’, ‘I wish I could ride an extra day, they always feel so much better by the end of the weekend’, ‘I’ve missed another birthday party, will my friends forgive me’, ‘I feel so guilty leaving my parents with the horses whilst I can’t be there’ are often thoughts going through my head. But for me, at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. It might not be practical forever but for now I wouldn’t change it for the world.
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