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StrawberryFields
Nov. 1, 2009, 09:32 PM
How many people on this forum just ride and compete for pure pleasure vs. those who do it as a career? I would love to continue to learn in the horse world and to also move up the levels but I would not mine doing that at a slower pace. I love horses and they have always been a part of my life. For a majority of my highschool years I wanted to ride profesionally. now I am 18 and a college student and I realize that I appreciate riding so much more than I ever have before. After selling both of my horses (to my neighbor and my aunt- so neither went too far!) I have the chance to ride many different horses on the riding team and back at home. It is so fascinating working on my position and learnint about all different types! it has made me as hungry as ever to learn and ride and to eventually own one or two horses again. I know that I do not want to make this a job but I would like to compete still... I would love to do a one star eventually- esp morven park. My goals are much more realistic these days and I feel like I don't need to compare myself to others anymore!Does anyone compete and aspire to these goals but have full time jobs/school? Did these goals ever change as you got older? And of course- riding should always be fun! Was it hard to let go of previous goals?

yellowbritches
Nov. 1, 2009, 09:42 PM
Many, many, MANY people event as their hobby and aspire for nothing more than fun and enjoyment. For those of us who do it as a career (and, just for the record, I do it for the pleasure and enjoyment, too! If I didn't, there would be ZERO reason to do it! ;)), we would have a hard time being able to BE professionals because we have to have clients to teach, coach, train horses for, sell horses to, etc, etc, etc. It is hard to be a pro (at least in this country) and not have amateurs to bring in the business!

I can't answer all your questions, since I'm not at the same place you are, but it is people like you who are the predominant reason this sport thrives here. Without riders with "real" jobs in the "real world" who can actually afford the sport (at various levels) there would be no sport. :yes:

lizajane09
Nov. 1, 2009, 09:54 PM
I'm on more or less the same page - I graduated from college in June and am now in my first year of veterinary school. It has always made sense to me to have a non-riding job that I could then use to pay for my riding (not that they pay equine vets all that much! :lol:). However, I did bring my OTTB mare to school with me (both undergrad and now to vet school), and we're doing our first Intermediate in about three weeks. So yes, I compete, but I don't make a career out of it. It also has the advantage that riding is my "get away from real life" time, when I can relax and take a break from school/work. My goals have changed along the way as things changed with school, with my financial situation, when my mare got injured, etc. If I get to clinics in two years and I don't have time to ride six days a week, the mare might get bred... so I would say yes, my goals have changed, and I anticipate they will continue to do so :).

4Martini
Nov. 1, 2009, 10:46 PM
I event purely for enjoyment (although I took this summer off due to having a baby on the way.) I really love being able to do it just for fun. I'm not as ambitious as you though- I'm ride at BN! I have gotten to learn a lot. I've done clinics with lots of people- I tend to choose clinics over competitions since I enjoy the learning part more than the competing. It's great to be able to pick and choose what you want to do!

Bobthehorse
Nov. 1, 2009, 11:03 PM
I am neither a pure pleasure competitor, nor do I do it as a career. I wont fool myself into thinking I can make money at this without sacrificing my ethics, but I would love to compete at the ULs.

scubed
Nov. 2, 2009, 08:29 AM
I made the decision looong ago to have a job that would support my riding habit and ride for fun. That said, riding is an integral part of my life and I've been involved as a rider, owner, sponsor, volunteer, official, etc

riderboy
Nov. 2, 2009, 09:19 AM
The goal may be to win. The point, however, is to have fun. At least for me. Otherwise, why bother?

Kairoshorses
Nov. 2, 2009, 09:27 AM
I've wanted to event since I was nine. Now, forty years later (!!!), I'm finally doing it. It IS more fun than an adult should be allowed to have. But I also love learning.

I'm a Jimmy Wofford disciple, and I didn't move up from BN until I was totally bored. Now I get bored more easily....but I want to get really, really good at a level before moving up. I'm DYING to move up to Training (and will do my first one next month), because I want to do a T3D (and, frankly, when I walk the N course, I'm thinking "oooooh, the T jumps look like SO MUCH FUN!"). But I also want to make sure I'm good enough at N to "earn" the move up.

That might mean moving back down to N if I feel I'm not ready for T. And I'm willing to do it--because I want to do it well, but it's still got to be fun.

I don't think I'm unusual at all. I have a LOT of friends who think along the same lines. It's fun, but it's also learning/challenging, and that balance makes this the best sport in the world.

StrawberryFields
Nov. 2, 2009, 01:00 PM
these stories are so interesting!! I feel the same way as everyone who has posted on here... thanks so much. keep them coming? :)

bornfreenowexpensive
Nov. 2, 2009, 01:14 PM
I started eventing a bit later in my riding career. I did my first event while in law school. I rode all through law school...brought my first horse up through Prelim in law school (an OTTB that I started). I ride because I enjoy it...and would like to be competitive at the ** level. Once upon a time I wanted to do a **** but I'm being more realistic now...I don't think that I can give riding enough time to compete at that level given my career that pays for the horses. Being a solid ** rider is very possible...anything beyond that, I'll just have to see how it goes. I also like starting green horses...and bringing them along.... and the two goals don't always go hand and hand.

But yes...you can ride and compete and still have regular job...even a pretty high power career. But it isn't always easy. I work my ass off and don't have much time for a social life. We all make choices.

sisu27
Nov. 2, 2009, 01:15 PM
I am neither a pure pleasure competitor, nor do I do it as a career. I wont fool myself into thinking I can make money at this without sacrificing my ethics, but I would love to compete at the ULs.

Sorry Bob but that is an odd comment and smells a bit of sour grapes. So you don't think you can be a pro and maintain your ethics? You don't think they exist? I am sorry that you have had the misfortune of dealing with rotten people in the horse world if this is how you really feel. There are many reasons why I wouldn't want to make a living at it but keeping my ethics in tact is not one of them.

I am the same as Bob though in that it isn't my career but I am still competitive and would love to get to the ULs as well. I find I am actually better now that I am older and not even considering this as a job. More patient for sure and less likely to be overly hard on myself if I don't have a good day. Healthier outlook I guess.

wildlifer
Nov. 2, 2009, 01:41 PM
Sure, I do it for fun! I also work full time and don't make a lot of money. (gov't employee) I could make more money, but I am very very committed to what I do and believe deeply in conservation, so I have had to find the balance to event on a budget. If you don't care what you do, then it's even easier to put yourself in a job where you will have an easier time affording the (freaking expensive) hobby of eventing. My goal is to complete a T3D, which, after volunteering at one just recently, I am seeing is very attainable. Now, if only a money sack would fall from the sky.

Ajierene
Nov. 2, 2009, 01:42 PM
Sorry Bob but that is an odd comment and smells a bit of sour grapes. So you don't think you can be a pro and maintain your ethics? You don't think they exist? I am sorry that you have had the misfortune of dealing with rotten people in the horse world if this is how you really feel. There are many reasons why I wouldn't want to make a living at it but keeping my ethics in tact is not one of them.

From my short-lived training career, I think there is a lot of validity to what Bob is saying. When you are training other people's horses, it is hard to tell your 'boss' that the horse is not ready for X or your program follows path A, not path B.

It depends on how desperate for money you are. Take a look at some of the comments Oliver Townend made and really take a close look at what some of the up and coming riders face.

Everyone has a different code they live by and when someone else and their code don't match up to yours, but they are paying the bills, it is very hard to say you don't want to march to that drummer.

Personally, I have never encountered horrible people in any of my horse business, but I have encountered people with a different code than mine.

deltawave
Nov. 2, 2009, 01:46 PM
Training and selling horses is a career. Running a boarding/lesson/training program is a career. Riding at horse shows is not, unless you're an extraordinarily well-paid catch rider.

I don't know anyone who shows horses as a career. Trainer? Yes. But the showing is only about 10% of what they do with horses.

Horse shows, in the end, are all about entertainment for the gigantic majority of us, and a place to recruit more clients and showcase a business for a teeny minority.

That doesn't mean that one can't be a VERY serious competitor, but again, in the end, horse shows are self-gratification and entertainment for just about everyone who enters.

(and a very odd form of self-gratification, too, when you think about it!) :lol:

((and it also makes one pause when, in this light, comments like "so-and-so NEEDS to compete or complete or get a qualifying score at such-and-such", are made))

sisu27
Nov. 2, 2009, 02:38 PM
From my short-lived training career, I think there is a lot of validity to what Bob is saying. When you are training other people's horses, it is hard to tell your 'boss' that the horse is not ready for X or your program follows path A, not path B.

It depends on how desperate for money you are. Take a look at some of the comments Oliver Townend made and really take a close look at what some of the up and coming riders face.

Everyone has a different code they live by and when someone else and their code don't match up to yours, but they are paying the bills, it is very hard to say you don't want to march to that drummer.

Personally, I have never encountered horrible people in any of my horse business, but I have encountered people with a different code than mine.

So you are both saying that you might try to make a go of it but will not be successful unless you are willing to compromise on your ethics/beliefs? I guess I am naive to think that doesn't have to be the case. Or I am missing the point. I know plenty of people that seem to do pretty well and from what I can see....aren't evil. Sounds pretty jaded to believe that is the only way to make money in the horse business. Or even that that is the majority rule. Or maybe I have a lower standard for ethical behavior? I couldn't do it because I have great trouble even selling a horse I don't like, never mind one that I do!

I am looking forward to meeting Oli Townend this weekend. From how he has been made out to be on this board (with carefully chosen quotes cited and all) I am curious to see what sort of vibe I get from the guy.

Blugal
Nov. 2, 2009, 03:08 PM
Riding helps keep you sane whether you're doing school or a full-time job. School or the full-time job keeps you sane when your horse brings you another vet bill and is laid up for a couple months. (At least, that's what I keep telling myself.)

I've been lucky to be able to ride most of my life, and to keep riding during University and then after. Many people helped me along the way!

I did my first CCI* in the fall of my 2nd year of University, my first CCI** in the fall of my 4th year of University. Then another CCI* in the fall of my first year of law school (thank goodness for year-long courses, and great friends, so I had a chance to catch up again). Kept riding/working and entered a CCI* in the summer between 1st and 2nd years of law (though had to withdraw before Phase D unfortunately).

Went on exchange for 3rd year, put my green horse in a field, and was able to ride a bit while I was away - got to go foxhunting in Ireland and riding on a beach in Scotland, which were great.

Now I'm back to green horses and aspiring to get another one up to FEI levels. I'd like to do a CCI*** one day. Ultimately, a 4-star would be cool, but actually with the way the sport is going these days, I am quite happy to be on greenies and see how things are playing out and aspiring for a Training 3-Day and Prelim 3-Day for now.

Like other posters, my "riding as a career" phase was pretty short. Learned tons as a working student. Learned even more when I quit my regular job and tried to pay the bills by riding for a couple months. Decided that 'lifestyle' just wasn't going to work for me.

CANTEREOIN
Nov. 2, 2009, 05:29 PM
As a kid and a young adult, I had a secret dream of being an Eventer - no horse, no formal lessons (but an accomplished barn rat)... one day.

Then I bought the horse of my dreams at age 45... I was afraid to jump her when I went to try her out with my trainer. I bought her and rode her while I had professionals compete her and continue her training...

I did pre-elementary in 2005 (was so scared on XC that I had a major anxiety attack and cried), then I did elementary in 2006. At the end of 2006 I found a new training partnership(s) and ended the year thinking that if I could do Beginner Novice I would be happy.

The great thing, as I get to be a better rider, my aspirations change. I got bored at Beginner Novice this season and finished HAVING FUN at Novice.

I am looking down the tunnel at Training Level. It is so possible! (And I am now carrying a new secret ;).

So, things change as your life circumstances change... who'd thunk that I would ever do Novice after a breakdown at my first pre-elementary course.

I am an amatuer, with a really stressful, rich, full-time job, living in New England (with an indoor) riding 5 or six days a week. I do it because I LOVE it.

Good luck! And, be sure to take the time to enjoy!

Ajierene
Nov. 2, 2009, 05:56 PM
So you are both saying that you might try to make a go of it but will not be successful unless you are willing to compromise on your ethics/beliefs? I guess I am naive to think that doesn't have to be the case. Or I am missing the point. I know plenty of people that seem to do pretty well and from what I can see....aren't evil. Sounds pretty jaded to believe that is the only way to make money in the horse business. Or even that that is the majority rule. Or maybe I have a lower standard for ethical behavior? I couldn't do it because I have great trouble even selling a horse I don't like, never mind one that I do!

I am looking forward to meeting Oli Townend this weekend. From how he has been made out to be on this board (with carefully chosen quotes cited and all) I am curious to see what sort of vibe I get from the guy.

It is not about being 'evil' or 'good'. It is about compromises.

As an example, someone called to see if I wanted to work with the horse she had at my friend's place. At the time I was working with my friend's horses. She asked me if I could follow her training plan (she was a trainer herself, but apparently did not have the time for this horse). I said I would with a caveat. If the horse comes into the ring and is scared of one corner for some reason, I would have to work on that that day. She said no dice. End of relationship.

Now, if I had relented and followed her training plan, that would have been another client. The fact that I did not is part of the reason I did not get as far as some others. The other woman was not evil in any way, she just had a different set of goals, a different ethical guideline, a different worldview.

People like their horses broke to walk/trot/canter/halt in 30-60 days. I am usually barely cantering at day 60. I just like to move more slowly. Sometimes I move faster, but it all depends on the horse and I don't like to be pressured to fit into a timeline when working with horses.

If you have a desk job, you have one boss, maybe two or three, depending on your job. If you train horses for a living, you have as many bosses as you have clients. When it is eat or not train a horse to canter when you do not think it is ready, what are you going to pick?

Even now, with a pony I am riding, I am compromising. I ride the pony once a week, which is better than what he got before, but in order to really train him, I would much prefer to ride him 3 or 4 times a week. I understand the money issue and she pays me when I ride, which is during the lessons she teaches. So, no lesson, no riding. Still, it is a compromise. She is not evil, just trying to get her ponies broke (she has a few young ones) and putting food on the table. I don't train for a living now, so it is not as big of a deal (no reputation to build to bring in more clients), but it is still a compromise.

It can be an ethical one, I don't think young ones should be ridden only once a week - they forget everything between rides. I don't think I am doing that much good, but the owner is happy, so there you go.