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Eventing and 3rd/4th year med school...unrealistic?

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  • Eventing and 3rd/4th year med school...unrealistic?

    For those of you that have gone through med school, were you able to set aside time for horses? So far, I've been able to juggle both school and riding fairly decently (though not without lots of sacrifices in sleep), and even managed to go to a few events in our area. Now that the clinical 3rd and 4th years are approaching, I'm not sure if it's realistic for me to continue my riding. So far, I don't feel that riding has made a negative impact in my studies...in fact, I feel like it's helped in many aspects (exercise, stress relief, school/life balance). However, I realize that the 3rd and 4th clinical years are a completely different beast in and of itself. I've received such varying input from the upper-classmen/recent grads that I'm not sure what to expect from the 2 clinical years

    Although I'd love to continue eventing/riding, I will have to give it up for a while if I feel it's making a negative impact in school/clinical training (I'm aiming for a pretty competitive residency). I wanted to get some input from eventers that might have gone through the med school process already. Am I crazy for even attempting this?

    If my juggling act fails, I will need to have a backup plan. So far, I've only thought of 3 options. 1. Lease horse out (not sure that I trust anyone enough to do that). 2. Pasture board him and put horse on sabatical for a year or two. 3. Sell (not sure if I'm ready to do that, though it's probably the most practical of the 3 choices)...it's really tough to sell a horse that you've bonded with.
    Not sure which is the least worse of the three options.

    Though I really like where I am currently (takes me anywhere from 35 minutes to 50+ to get to the barn depending on traffic), I should probably look for a boarding facility that's closer to school. I think I might be information deprived, or there just aren't many decent options close by (I will make a seperate post to see if people on this forum might know of places).

    Thanks for reading through this long post. I'd love to hear about your experience with med school and riding, how you were able to make it work, etc. How far were you from the barn? How often were you able to ride during 3rd/4th year? All comments/advice/opinions welcomed

  • #2
    Deltawave did this- I am pretty sure- and I met her when she was doing a really tough residency in Cardiology.

    I am hopefully starting PA school in May. And I have leased and then sold my CCI* horse- he is in a super home, and I don't have to worry about him for the most part- he'll always hold my heartstrings. His new mom, however, is great- amazing as a matter of fact. For me, leasing is great- but I did not understand the impact emotionally that it had on both parties. Selling is super super hard. It, however, is the right thing to do to the right person.

    Where will you be in school? Maybe there is a good person that is on here that is near you??

    Good Luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm a 3rd year resident now...and I actually started eventing between my 2nd and 3rd years of med school (I went to UNC...as evidenced by my screen name). I managed to ride through 3rd and 4th years of med school...but it took some serious schedule planning and an understanding barn owner.

      A lot of how much you'll be able to ride will depend on the way your 3rd/4th year schedule is structured. For us, we had some rotations away from UNC in our 3rd year - so there were some months that I was limited to riding only on the weekends, when I'd come back to chapel hill. Other rotations were close enough that I could make a trip home in the middle of the week to ride...or where I'd commute back and forth on a daily basis. Overnight calls and weekends further complicated my riding schedule...but remember, post-call days are great for lessons, since you have some daylight time to ride. 4th year was easier as our schedule was largely electives with very little call or few weekends. I often found myself (especially during 3rd year) riding late in the evening or very early in the AM, depending on the rotation schedule. I had a very understanding barn owner, who was very understanding about my strange hours. I also didn't have my own truck/trailer, but my barn owner was great about trailering me to shows, as I tried to pick close-by or 1-day shows that fit into my schedule. Riding/showing during 3rd and 4th year was difficult...but do-able...provided that you scheduled things carefully and made sure to put your schoolwork first.

      I'm still riding and competing...probably more than in med school...now that I'm in residency. I picked my location for residency so that I'd be in an area where riding would be do-able based on proximity of good barns, events, etc. I got my own rig during my first year, and I'm fortunate enough to be in the heart of area 2 where I can event for a full season without having to go to events that run over more than 1 day. I schedule most of my lessons on post-call days (or use those to do longer bits of conditioning work). Now that I'm a 3rd year resident, I'm actually competing 2 horses and have been able to make things work. Between residency and the horses, I don't have much of a social life...but that's my own choice, and I'm happy with it
      ~Drafties Clique~Sprite's Mom~ASB-loving eventer~
      www.gianthorse.photoreflect.com ~ http://photobucket.com/albums/v692/tarheelmd07/

      Comment


      • #4
        I did it. tarheelmd07 and I actually were a year apart at UNC so I second everything she said. I'll also add that 3rd year of medical school was the hardest to find time, especially during surgical rotations. 4th year of medical school is like a vacation compared to the previous 3 years if you're not interested in some uber-competitive field of medicine. Even then, the writing may already be on the wall!

        Residency has also been workable. I evented a lot my intern year--it was my coping mechanism. Now, as a fellow (PGY4), I haven't ridden in about 8 months, but it's not because I don't have time.

        You can do it if you want. I would keep in mind that it will require sacrifices in other areas (my husband was sometimes none-too-happy that I "wasted" my last energy post-call on a stressage lesson )
        "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies...am surprised at the positive responses. My med school friends think I'm crazy for even trying

          My current plan is to go for it. I have to be prepared for the weeks where I don't see him at all, and be ok with that (hopefully I can find a barn close to school that understands, and is reliable). I suppose I'll have to do a lot of "starting over", especially if there are weeks where I can't ride.

          Comment


          • #6
            Can you find (afford) a trainer that you trust that can keep him going during times that you can't get there?

            I'm impressed with all the people that have been able to make this work!

            Comment


            • #7
              I didn't go through med school, but I was married to my husband while he did--and for him, it wouldn't have been possible. He did have some days where he went out to play golf, but to actually schedule 3 days away to compete--would not have happened. Not once in the 2 years. To be guaranteed able to ride more than once a week--would not have happened. During some rotations once would have been close to impossible.

              Granted this was 15 years ago--and I'm sure programs vary enormously. For his intern year, he had months where he was incomparably busy, and months that were fairly light; throughout most of his residency he could have swung it--though probably only by being able to compete nearby, I still don't think there were many times he could have taken 3 days off, but he would have had some weekends wholly free.

              Comment


              • #8
                well. I don;t have experience in that terribly. But I am a sr. in college, going to graduate in the spring. And I have had a horse with me every semester. Unfortunately the is really the first time I feel pressed for time with my horse-who is 25-30 min away. But it's just because I really want to finish this year up strongly, I have a job, and I have been studying for the GRE for the past couple of weeks and now it;s kind of taking a toll. I get out maybe 3x a week.
                For me, that;s not enough riding for competitions. So I pushed that aside and am just trail riding if I'm really pressed, and flatwork/jumping if I know I can ride consistently.


                But next year I hope to be in graduate school-however for a masters in science, not med school. And I really plan on having a horse there too-wherever that may be. For me, I need the horse, even if I can only get out there 2-3x a week. Its a stress reliever and I like spending time w/ him.
                For you- I would plan on riding- but don't get committed to competing/eventing, because you may find that you won't be consistent enough to have your horse going well-then you will be frustrated!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I did it and, like you, I found that the riding actually helped my studies.
                  One difference between your situation and mine is that I'm Canadian (from Ontario) and our events are almost all one days...so easier to schedule time off than the three day horse trials in the US.
                  There were certain rotations that were not riding friendly: OB, medicine, surgery...but I scheduled those in the winter months for riding reasons!
                  Good luck to you!!!
                  ps. certain residencies are more eventing friendly than others too

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What about limiting yourself to unrecognized shows that last one day of the weekend? Or CTs? you could even haul in the morning of and be gone by 6pm.
                    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't know about med school, but I know Hilary Dobbs (a top grand prix show jumper- she was at WIHS this week) balances going to Harvard and riding the grand prix circuit. If she can do it, so can you!
                      Different flavors of crazy, but totally NUTS. You know its true. - GreyHunterHorse

                      http://showertimecontemplations.blogspot.com/

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by blackcat95 View Post
                        I don't know about med school, but I know Hilary Dobbs (a top grand prix show jumper- she was at WIHS this week) balances going to Harvard and riding the grand prix circuit. If she can do it, so can you!
                        I think having extensive funding like she does probably helps too.

                        I'm not doing med school, but I'm in my first year of vet school and they're generally structured pretty similarly. Right now I'm able to balance riding 6-7 days/week and some (recognized) horse trials, but I'm also wondering how it will work when I get to clinical rotations, especially as my horse is ~35 min away from the school/hospital. I would not be able to pay someone to ride my horse if I can't, so my mare may get bred when I hit my third year... sounds like you have a gelding though. Have you found any boarding options closer to you?

                        I can't really offer much in the way of advice, even though I've been pondering this issue myself. Based on what you've heard from the upperclassmen, do you think you would be able to ride at least some of the time? Maybe find a closer (and very reliable) boarding option, ride when you can so that you get some stress relief and he doesn't totally forget everything he ever learned, and accept not competing for the next few years?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am sure it depends on your situation. When I went through, during clinical years, it was out of the question. Of course there were some months where it may have been possible but unless you have funds to keep your pony fit when you are working 5a-11p, then it wouldn't really be fair to ask him to jump around without that conditioning. I would have loved to have been able to, so if you have the funds/backing, then go for it. I do think it helps balance you mentally. I did reward myself going to ride one day/week come heck or high water, even during boards.

                          I actually did my residency in Lexington for the horsey atmosphere, and couldn't afford to move my mare up!

                          Best of luck to you. The fun part is that, once you finish, you will have a career that should support you and your ponies...just be sure to pick a specialty that you can create time to ride. Some are much more challenging than others.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well...I'm in my first year of law school which is also a large time commitment. I find riding to be a GREAT stress reliever and also a great way to balance my life. I go to school during the week and bartend on the weekends. I agree with the above poster about the CTs. I just entered one for a few weeks from now and I don't have to pay for a hotel or a stall so it's going to be REALLY affordable and fun while still offering a chance to test our skills. I tried to retire my event horse before school and he HATED being pasture boarded. Think about your horse's personality before you consider this option. Is he the first or the last horse at the gate when it's time to come in? Is he a harder keeper? Just a few things to think about. If you can swing it financially, do it!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Getting to this late. Can blame the job to some degree.

                              I didn't ride much in college--never owned a horse of my own until I was a lot older--and had to work too much to support myself. Medical school, I had a military scholarship, but my living stipend was TINY so competing would have been OUT of the question. I was just POOR. I was able to ride some by borrowing horses and working off lessons, and I did a couple of barn shows, but strictly from a financial standpoint eventing or any sort of serious showing was just not even remotely do-able.

                              So what happened to me? In my 3rd year of med school I fell in love with an old semi-sound school horse and begged and borrowed the gigantic sum of $2000 to buy her. The fact that I almost never had time to ride her probably did her a world of good. I rode just for fun and she was a great source of sanity to me, but it was hard, and probably sort of dumb in retrospect.

                              Anyway, long story short--no, I did not really have time to compete in my 3rd year, even if I'd had the finances. Fourth year was a lot better, but internship was way too busy to do more than ride now and then on the weekends. I didn't really get a chance to compete even halfway seriously until my 2nd and 3rd year of residency, and then it all went on the back burner again during the first year and a half of my fellowship. And right around that time I got pregnant!

                              I'm one of those types who just enjoys having horses in her life. Showing is great, I *love* showing, but I'm also OK with putting all that aside and just hanging out with them. Heck, there have been LONG stretches of my life that have been completely horseless. I didn't WANT it that way, but time, money, and commitments sort of made it a reality.

                              So my advice is to figure out, as best and as honestly as you can, how much competing and specifically eventing mean to you, and whether or not that's the only way you can be happy with horses during this part of your life. If you really think you have to do it, be prepared to give up something else. And realize that medical school is just a dress rehearsal--it gets MUCH busier, the responsibilities are larger, and there are no admission caps and mandatory limitations to the work-week once you graduate! (I'm grumpy because I never got to have any of those perks!)

                              Also, a lot of the workload and mental/physical drainage depends on what specialty you choose. No field is easy, each has its demands, but there are some that are a lot more of a commitment, time-wise, than others. I always had an easier time if I sort of embraced the really busy months and years head-on, putting the horses aside when I had to so I could just immerse myself in the suffering full-time with nothing tugging at the edges of my consciousness. As long as I knew those months and years were finite in number, I could cope.
                              Last edited by deltawave; Oct. 29, 2009, 10:39 PM.
                              Click here before you buy.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                So my advice is to figure out, as best and as honestly as you can, how much competing and specifically eventing mean to you, and whether or not that's the only way you can be happy with horses during this part of your life.
                                Great advice, and something I've been thinking over. I'm one of those types that wants to have my cake and eat it too As much as I like to 'push the boundaries', I also realize that I'm going to reach my limit at some point (both physically and mentally), and have to be ok with not accomplishing as much as I'd like in the area of horses/eventing.

                                Honestly, I just don't think I'd be happy without horses. I tried for a period of time during college to "wean" myself off horses altogether, but that plan backfired on me...my time away from horses made me crave riding even more and I ended up getting my current guy as a present for myself for making it through college without horses

                                I have to figure out how to stay involved without feeling pressure from myself to be constantly improving in my riding. Although I must say, the thought of becoming a 'weekend rider' is a bit scary for me at this point...I'll just have to get used to it. I realize some rotations will probably make me a 'bimonthy rider'

                                My newest thoughts are to rent a property near school with a pasture. I'm thinking that if everything's set up, shouldn't be much time involved in caring for 1 horse. 15 minutes morning chores, 15 minutes evening chores seems doable to me. Now if i can just find such a property

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                  So my advice is to figure out, as best and as honestly as you can, how much competing and specifically eventing mean to you, and whether or not that's the only way you can be happy with horses during this part of your life.
                                  Great advice, and something I've been thinking over. I'm one of those types that wants to have my cake and eat it too As much as I like to 'push the boundaries', I also realize that I'm going to reach my limit at some point (both physically and mentally), and have to be ok with not accomplishing as much as I'd like in the area of horses/eventing.

                                  Honestly, I just don't think I'd be happy without horses. I tried for a period of time during college to "wean" myself off horses altogether, but that plan backfired on me...my time away from horses made me crave riding even more and I ended up getting my current guy as a present for myself for making it through college without horses

                                  I have to figure out how to stay involved without feeling pressure from myself to be constantly improving in my riding. Although I must say, the thought of becoming a 'weekend rider' is a bit scary for me at this point...I'll just have to get used to it. I realize some rotations will probably make me a 'bimonthy rider'

                                  My newest thoughts are to rent a property near school with a pasture. I'm thinking that if everything's set up, shouldn't be much time involved in caring for 1 horse. 15 minutes morning chores, 15 minutes evening chores seems doable to me. Now if i can just find such a property

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Making It Work View Post

                                    My newest thoughts are to rent a property near school with a pasture. I'm thinking that if everything's set up, shouldn't be much time involved in caring for 1 horse. 15 minutes morning chores, 15 minutes evening chores seems doable to me. Now if i can just find such a property

                                    My concern with that plan is who will feed/turn in etc. when you are on call every 4th night and don't come home? I'm sure there are ways to make it work (no pun!!) but something to consider. I actually sent my dog to live with my parents when I was in 3/4th year medical school, but managed to keep up with eventing because my horse was boarded.
                                    Best of luck to you - I'm sure you will find a way!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My newest thoughts are to rent a property near school with a pasture. I'm thinking that if everything's set up, shouldn't be much time involved in caring for 1 horse. 15 minutes morning chores, 15 minutes evening chores seems doable to me. Now if i can just find such a property
                                      And when the bad storms come and knock your fences down and the horses are loose and it's your first day of your surgery rotation, or the day of your board exam?

                                      I have my horses at home, am on call and frequently have to go tearing into work at night. Yes, I've got the operation set up so that the bare minimum horse-keeping takes me 30 minutes a day or less. But that's BARE MINIMUM. Guess what all my free time is spent doing? The other chores that take longer. Oh, and after all those are done, sometimes I get to ride if it's not too muddy (I don't have an arena).

                                      Not saying this is a bad idea, but (this advice comes in handy in the field of medicine anyhow) always allow for the worst case scenario, rather than counting on the best one.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I am in grad school right now (which is probably still WAY less time consuming than 3rd/4th year med school, granted) but I've got to say, I love having my horse pasture boarded (and so does she!). If you can find a good place nearby that will take care of feeding, as my situation is, it might take a lot of weight off your shoulders (as opposed to renting a property and taking care of feeding yourself). I can no longer get out to the barn 6/7 days a week, so it is great to know that I don't need to worry about feeding, and the farm owner is wonderful about contacting me if anything seems amiss...so I am a pretty big fan of this type of situation since I don't have the time that I once did (if you can find a good place).
                                        And on another note, I, too, was worried about hating not being able to compete/ride as often/improve...I even had my horse up for sale/lease because of this at one point before I started my Master's (also due to $, but I found a way around that). But at the end of the day, I am just so glad that my pony didn't sell and that I can still ride at least some of the time; I'm quite sure I'd be going crazy right now if not for that stress relief!! And as an added bonus, I figure that not competing for now=less wear and tear=hopefully more years to compete once I finish up school...just have to keep the eyes on the prize Good luck!!

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