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Top Competitive Riders with Other Full Time Careers

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  • #21
    Originally posted by bambam View Post
    Kevin Keane who was on the shortlist for the Pan Ams this year and possibly the long list for the OG (can't remember) is a practicing vet. That is the kind of career that I would think accomodates a serious training schedule better than most.
    Depends on the kind of vet and kind of practice. Can't imagine any vet would be able to accomodate a serious training schedule in the spring if they're a TB Breeding specialist in racing country. (for example)
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

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    • #22
      No offense to Kevin, as he is a great rider and a great vet and his accomplishments are fantastic. However, I think he has a great gig to enable him to ride at the level he does. I believe his horse(s) live at True Prospect, ensuring that they are well managed and he has extremely easy access to world class training. Also, he moves to Aiken every winter, which is a two for one deal. Most of his clients go there, so he goes where his bread and butter is, but he also can continue to ride and train with the best. Also, he's the boss (I am 99% sure of that). Which means he has younger vets he can hand cases over to while he makes time to ride and compete. I am not terribly familiar with his practice, but I do believe it is mostly sports medicine, so I don't think he is getting up at all hours of the night for emergencies or working 20 hour days (like my poor vet did recently) getting dragged from one side of the world to the other. Most of his work is brought to him. So, yeah, it really enables him to have a good career AND ride extremely well...but I don't think a kid looking at vet school and also wanting to ride at the ULs should be looking at him thinking they'll be able to do it right off the bat!

      Vets gotta pay their dues. Even if you go into a practice like his as a young vet, you still work your tail off. Maybe less than a general, ambulatory vet, but still lots of long, long hours. Another world class vet, as a much younger vet in a world class sports medicine practice, gave up her riding because she couldn't do both. If you DO manage to find time for both, you are usually doing the same type of things DC and others have mentioned...riding in the middle of the night or before dawn, with head lamps and by head lights. At some point, after years of that, you can possibly have a practice and clientele like Kevin, but you gotta pay your dues first.
      Amanda

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      • #23
        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
        Vets gotta pay their dues. Even if you go into a practice like his as a young vet, you still work your tail off.
        I think this is a really good point about most careers. Opportunities for flexibility and good money generally require a more established career, while many UL aspirants are younger than that.

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        • #24
          YB- he is still someone who is successful at the UL and has a full-time job so he qualifies under the OP's criteria
          Are there various ways in which he has set up his life and his career that make it doable? well, yeah, that is a given and I think kind of the point- what have people who are doing it done to make it doable for them.
          I am sure Romeike had some sort of support system, including access to great facilities, that he needed in addition to having his dental practice so close to his horses that he rode during his lunch hour (remember reading that about his lunch hour around the time he won his medal).
          I agree with Beammeup- there are very few careers (at least that I know of) where you don't have to pay your dues before you have the kind of flexibility and income that would allow you to be successful at the ULs and have a full-time job.
          There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
            I think this is a really good point about most careers. Opportunities for flexibility and good money generally require a more established career, while many UL aspirants are younger than that.

            This is the thing that most don't get. I paid my dues for 10 years before I was establised enough to work more outside of the office. I still ride at 5:30am....after having answered emails when I got up at 4 am. And I still have weeks like this one where I didn't have time to ride. To have a successful career...you have to focus on the career. You have to put in the face time. When you are finally established....it doesn't always end....and lack of time is a huge issue. How people manage to ride competitively, have a professional career AND have a social life/family....that is one I really don't know. It is a myth that you can have it all! Every successful person will tell you something typically has to give....what gives will vary (although sleep seems to universally get cut first)...and how each person defines "successful" is different.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Amen, BornFree!

              I work at an established full time career that allows me to flex my schedule (sometimes) to accomodate hunting/events, etc. but I still ride at 6am before going into the office so that I can spend my evenings with my family and friends. I simply don't have the time or money to pay for training/care to bring my horses beyond the mid-levels.

              I did find the comment intersting that many upper level riders are now "young" --in their early to mid-20s and are obviously not working full time non-horse related jobs to support this habit. Where does the money come from--is is parental, sponsors, or debt funded?

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              • #27
                Originally posted by bambam View Post
                YB- he is still someone who is successful at the UL and has a full-time job so he qualifies under the OP's criteria
                Are there various ways in which he has set up his life and his career that make it doable? well, yeah, that is a given and I think kind of the point- what have people who are doing it done to make it doable for them.
                I am sure Romeike had some sort of support system, including access to great facilities, that he needed in addition to having his dental practice so close to his horses that he rode during his lunch hour (remember reading that about his lunch hour around the time he won his medal).
                I agree with Beammeup- there are very few careers (at least that I know of) where you don't have to pay your dues before you have the kind of flexibility and income that would allow you to be successful at the ULs and have a full-time job.
                Exactly. But, just like every other person mentioned here, "full time" career/job probably is a misnomer. I am sure he is a busy, busy man, but he has got to the point in his life, like many successful people, where he can make more time for himself and has that support system to do it. But you have to get the that point, first.

                And, really, you gotta pay your dues in ANY industry...which I think most young people, starting out, no matter what, often don't understand
                Amanda

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                • #28
                  I think that anyone can compete at a high level and have a career. HOWEVER, I believe that one can not be great at a high level and be great in their career concurrently. They both require the same amount of dedication and toughness. For example, some of the top vets in the world, while they ride as hobbies, could never be top riders given the time they put into being a great vet. They may be competent vets or dentists or professors or firefighters but never GREAT.

                  You become great at ANYTHING by obsessing working and persevering at what it is you want to be great at, as Nevertime alludes to. That is the choice we have to make.

                  Back to the OP, what do you define as "success?" Is it consistent competition at upper levels? Is it winning at upper levels? Is it winning at Prelim? Is it going to Rolex or the Pan Am Games?

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                  • #29
                    Kevin Keane is one of my vets...this man never stops working, he is the energizer bunny. No matter how booked he is (and he is always completely booked up) nor what time of day it is, or even if he is competing, he has made time to examine my horse. He has paid his dues over and over again and continues to do so. I have no idea how he has time to ride with the hours he keeps and the traveling he does for his clients. He is living proof that where there is a will, there is a way. And yes, it helps to be your own boss...but business success like his doesn't happen over night nor to slackers.

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                    • #30
                      I'm guessing none of these people have kids, either.
                      Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        RAyers--you ask a good question. I think for the purposes of this post I was defining success as as a rider who is able to travel frequently and be competitive (maybe winning, maybe not) on a regular basis. Someone who seems to be at most competitions in their Area with one (or more) that is seeking to move up the levels and perhaps qualify for a four star or national team.

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                        • #32
                          William Steinkraus (who I think won gold for USA in jumping) was a stockbroker.
                          Georgia Langsam
                          Team Gauguin, LLC - www.teamgauguin.com
                          Standing Gauguin du Cheval 9054, Prestige II TG, Gauguin's Impression, Gauguin's Brush and Weltfrieden TG

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                          • #33
                            Kevin Baumgardner was able to compete at Advanced, maintain his law practice and be USEA president by being always available to his clients via technology. He had a great support system at the barn and a "driver" that took the horses where they needed to go. So its possible but only with the right support system. Same thing with Amy- She did lots of swapping and a great suppot system for the horses and herself. Amy had a good crew when she went East, she could fly home and work 3-5 shifts, then have te horses be taken care of.
                            It is all about the support crew to be competitive at the Advanced level, whether you are a professional in the horse business or outside the horse business.

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                            • #34
                              Patty Mayer (her top horse was Exakt) was an upper level dressage rider who was an attorney in the entertainment industry while she was trying to make international teams.

                              http://articles.latimes.com/2000/apr.../mn-17353?pg=1

                              By many standards, Patty is wealthy. But she sinks most of her six-figure salary into her horses. She paid a trainer to fly from Germany to help her for five days as she competed for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. And she'll pay him to return Monday. As a result, she has little in savings, and for shows she splits a room with a groom at budget motels.

                              When each day is packed like an overstuffed suitcase, it's a question of choices. If it's getting a haircut or riding, the horse wins. After six months without a cut, Patty trimmed her hair in her office with desk scissors.

                              She gets up every weekday at 4:05 a.m., drives from her Culver City home to the Agoura stable, which has an indoor ring so she can ride despite darkness or rain. She brushes and rides two horses. She takes special care with Exakt, her competition horse, pressing hot compresses on his legs before she rides and using cold afterward. A rider without a horse is a musician with no instrument.

                              She bandages her horses' legs and fastens their blankets just as stable hands arrive to feed them grain and hay. Then she drives 70 minutes to Santa Monica. She usually reaches her office by 9 a.m.

                              As a lawyer and senior vice president negotiating movie contracts at MGM, she oversees a staff of nine, works 10-hour days and has never called in sick. On a good night, she gets five hours of sleep. She's done this for eight years.
                              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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