Amateurs Like Us: Life Happens And Ribbons Are A Bonus

Jan 24, 2017 - 5:02 PM
I'm looking forward to a fun show season with Finn!

It’s been about a couple of weeks since the Amateurs Like Us profile article on me hit the Chronicle’s website. I never thought I would be sitting here, writing/blogging or pondering about myself and Finn.

As you may have read, I lead a very hectic life between my three jobs, one full-time and two part-time. I am a career firefighter/paramedic, work part-time as one and then also do some barn work at a dressage farm that is about an hour away for an occasional lesson, something that I’m still trying to make work!

I work a 24-hour shift, which starts at 7 a.m., and I roughly work nine or 10 days a month. I average between 24 and 72 hours a month at my part-time firefighter/medic job with Clarke County Fire Rescue on my days off from Warren County Fire Rescue.

This is me in my work life.

In addition to all of that, I married my husband and his three kids in 2013. So, I’ve got them as well! That part has not always been easy and it’s something that challenges me everyday to be a better person. It’s hard to be a step-mom, especially at their ages (8 to 15). I still make their events, help with the normal day-to-day routine and do fun stuff with them when I can!

Many people have reached out to me after reading my story… “I don’t see how it’s possible;” “I don’t see how she has time to be a wife/mother.” Ironically, the night my story hit, my husband and I were able to feed the kids dinner, hit the gym together, and follow that up with a low key dinner date at the local Cracker Barrel. Glamorous, I know! 

Parenting is part of the mix of my everyday.

As Camilla Mortensen pointed out in the Amateurs Like Us article she wrote about me, I’m a DIY hunter rider. I don’t have a trainer—I just started taking dressage lessons actually and I’ve only had three or four ever with Finn.

I help the owners of the farm where I board every chance I get with stuff like feeding or catching a horse. We have only five horses at the farm, so it’s very low key and family-oriented in addition to being a 10-12 minute drive from our house!

Due to my crazy schedule, I don’t ride every day. I don’t go to the barn every day, but I make sure I go out to see Finn every chance I get. It might be to ride or it’s for a simple hello, a handful of carrots and giant hug out in the field. It’s what works for me and him.

I never expected Finn to be “that” horse for me, but he has been and in more ways than one. I love that I am able to go to work, often for several days at a time, and come out and get on and go for a ride—in the ring, the trail or even at a show. Finn doesn’t care about much!

It’s almost like he knows I need him just as much as he needs me. Finn trots or canters up to me in the field every time I go out to the barn, it never fails. However, his new thing is to buck and run around if I hook the trailer up. Even then, he still trots or canters up to me. I think it’s sheer excitement that he gets to go on a field trip!

When I go to the barn or a show, I don’t care about much other than having fun and we have zero pressure on us. I told myself when I started showing after a seven-year hiatus, it’s not about winning. It’s about having fun and if you get ribbons, that’s just a bonus. We have a couple of shows coming up and a clinic next month. I never would have thought 15, 10 or even three years ago I would be where I am today, but I love every minute of it. 

My husband, Sean, is very supportive of my riding, serving as groom and jump-setter. 

After all, that’s what it is all about for me. I’m a firefighter, paramedic, wife and mother. It’s all about balancing and making things work. I work out while I’m at work, on my way home from work or in the evenings when my husband gets off from work. It’s “our” time. It has made a world of difference with me and my riding. I think that is part of why I am able to keep the hectic schedule and keep such a balance.

I’m always on the go. However, there are days I come home from work and just crawl into bed and say the heck with it—and that’s OK! Life happens! I’m actually sitting at home in my chair bundled up watching a movie with my husband and dog, Mikey, as I write this. A day off… something I don’t get often!

We’ve got some exciting things coming up in the near future and I can’t wait to share them with everyone. I went to a show a few weeks ago, all alone, no help! That was an experience after a shift at work! After a few more small shows, I’m heading to a Bernie Traurig clinic at Denny Emerson’s farm next month. I’ll make sure to blog and fill you in on how that goes!

Elizabeth Grubbs fits riding her off-the-track Thoroughbred hunter, Finn, around her full-time job as a firefighter/paramedic and two part-time jobs. She also juggles that with her life as a wife and stepmother to three girls. You can read more about her in the Amateurs Like Us profile “Elizabeth Grubbs’ Bumpy Road Led To The Right Place.


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