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Making Life Choices that Make Being an Equestrian Possible

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    Making Life Choices that Make Being an Equestrian Possible

    Have you changed your life so that you could have horses or just simply ride more often? In considering your next job or even where you will live what are the good or bad decisions you made for love of the horse/horse lifestyle? Would you do it again or advise against it?

    I didn't go to college right out of high school because "my" horse wasn't technically my horse and I couldn't take him with me. About 5 years later he became mine and I took him to college with me. I definitely regret it because I'm much further behind in school than I should be (30 getting my masters).
    Last edited by Jarrn; Feb. 13, 2020, 12:17 PM.
    Lots of things you could do with a stopwatch...


      It's impacted gobs of stuff. Currently, I'm in a job making less than I should relative to my education and work experience. However, it is no big deal that I won't make it in until noon because I've got a farrier appointment one morning. I can also take lunch at the end of the day so I can make it out to the barn before dark in the winter.

      When I calculated how much more I would have to make in order to pay someone to do the extra rides, holding for appointments, etc. it makes more sense to stay put (for now). If we were to move to a bigger city, the increased cost of living for a horse and accessibility of quality barns is also a big consideration.

      We are childfree by choice which helps. As a byproduct of that, it isn't a big deal if I don't get home until 9 PM in the summer M-TH because I ride a few horses after work.

      Looking back, I wish I was horse and animal-free during college. Studying abroad and other cool opportunities seemed less accessible because of my animals and I do regret that.


        I moved to part-time in my field (legal) and work from home. We made the choice to move to a low cost of living area, so I get paid quite well for what I do. I also run a 10 horse boarding facility, doing all the labor myself, and ride 1-2 horses 5-6 days per week -- as well as taking care of my 2 kids.

        I definitely took a several six-figure pay cut, as I worked before as an antitrust attorney in a major International law firm, but honestly I wouldn't go back for anything. I love what I do and at the law firm I was lucky to ride once or twice a week, not to mention my horse commute.

        I built a very nice indoor facility this year and am hoping to finally get back out showing this summer (locally). I have some promising young horses to develop, have a delightful trainer working out of my farm, and we bring in her Grand Prix trainer monthly. I finally feel like I am making progress again albeit in a different sport (dressage vs. jumpers).


          I have my own business which gives me more flexibility. It means that I can keep my horses at a self care barn, for one thing, which brings my costs way down. I have two kids, who are now almost grown, but for many years I balanced doing things for them vs. time to ride. I have never missed their sporting events and that meant a lot of horse events that didn't happen. I prefer foxhunting over competition, which is less expensive. I don't buy new saddles, and my horses live a low maintenance lifestyle (out 24/7 with a run in shed, one is barefoot).
          Last edited by Bogie; Feb. 13, 2020, 10:29 AM.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


            Absolutely. And looking back, I have done that all the way along.

            I was one of those "nose pressed to the glass" poor kids who would do any amount of work in order to ride. I'd also ride whatever I was given, so I learned a lot about how to forge good, safe working relationships with a lot of horses early in my riding career.

            When I was in 8th grade, I went to work for some friends of my father's who had a barn with the owner's horses and an on-site pro who was making investment jumpers for them. That turned into me living there every summer and weekend until I went to college.

            God threw me a bone and gave me admission to the best university on my list which was just over the hill from their barn, so I continued to ride while in college. But I was prepared to go to the East Coast for college. I didn't have a plan for horsing there, though I think I vaguely thought that I'd again just find someone to work for. At the point in my life, I didn't see how I'd just do the normal thing of buying my own horse to ride since that had not yet been possible for people as poor as me.

            My dad died my junior year in college and with the tiny pile of life insurance money he left, I bought an OTTB, PDQ.

            When I graduated from college, I got a starter job, bought an investment horse and got "in the family way" with the OTTB mare. I couldn't afford all those horses (really), but it was the first time in my life that I didn't have 24/7 homework and disposable cash (it would appear). After all, I had been so poor for so long that I was happy to live paycheck to paycheck and have time to ride without "looking over my shoulder" and thinking about all of the life-improvement stuff I should have been doing. Notice that I didn't get married, pregnant and mortgaged (to a house and to another person's life/career).

            That starter job and paycheck-to-paycheck lasted a year and a half or so before I applied and went to grad school on the other coast. Of the PhD programs that would have worked in all the ways those have to, I picked Cornell because I could bring a horse. I moved from CA to NY and left the two mares and colt in CA. I sold the mares ASAP, but it took a year. Notice that I still had not guy or kid to be accountable, to. This was for the horses in part, but it was also so that I could pursue the job ops (paid-for PhD).

            I had been raised to know that I had to have a real job (family or not), so I think that taking that first job with horses during high school, which really kept me out of the normal high school experience, prepared me to be willing and able to change my life and be ready to pursue the next best opportunity that came. That helped once I was a young academic because you have to be willing and able to go to where you get a job. Again, that industry assumes your spouse (probably your jobless wife) and kids will be dragged along. Some people can't imagine moving across the country or leaving relationships and family, no matter what. I started doing that in 8th grade, thanks to horses.

            The bottom of the academic market started to rot out after the 2008 recession, so I looked for an exit strategy. Also, my field had the best jobs at high-end universities (the ones that could afford an "extra" department like mine), and so I found myself looking down the barrel of living in major cities. Also, professing in a tenure-gaining way means a 60+ hour work week, so putting these together, it became clear to me that I'd never see that wonderful view of the world between two horse ears for a good decade. And I'd have to hang with people who liked "high culture" instead of the smell of a horse and the meditation practice of cleaning a stall, and the experiential authenticity of trying to live in your body and emotions as you sit on a horse and have a physical conversation with him. There was nothing about my academic life that spoke to this horse-given half of it, and I didn't want to give up what I got from the horse half of my life.

            My last post-doc was in Corvallis, OR, back on the West Coast to a day's drive from family and, in theory, a horsey place. I learned to do investment property while I was there. But the horse scene was absolute sh!te compared to what I had scene in the SF Bay Area and then in NY and CT when I had lived there. I tried hard to figure out where on the West Coast I could live and ride, probably buying a farm. I was priced out of everywhere with good-quality horse infrastructure (as far as I know).

            So I picked up and moved to Aiken, SC in order to ride until I'm too old, ugly and unsafe on a horse to do that anymore.

            And here's the thing: When I can't ride anymore, I'll completely bail and have a last chapter of my life doing other, more cosmopolitan stuff that I did not do while I was tying so much of my life to the dailiness of horses. I will descend into complete Crazy Cat Lady status, but by all outward appearances, I'll be a normal urban old lady.

            I have no idea if I'll have a long-term boyfriend by then. I will never be married, as it seems unnecessary and probably financially unwise. I'm glad I didn't have kids. So much of what I have been able to experience and do would not have been possible if I had chosen the role of wife and mother because you can see how much of my moves for career and horses would have required an impossible amount of docility from another adult who would have his own life and career to build.. and then the children would have exerted their own constraining requirements.

            IMO, you can't have everything. Or, at least, you can't do everything well, at the same time unless you have a great deal of money to support that by buying help (and perhaps compliance) from other people. But so much in life is a trade-off in that old, "Work to Live, or Live to Work" way. Because, early on, I could do my non-negotiable A-job (getting into a Serious College) in high school, and my B-job (learning to ride at the highest level a poor barn rat like me could), AND because it was possible to do both of these serious-but-kiddie jobs (if you had focus and a work ethic), I got an early experience with being able to choose what would make me happy. And I just kept choosing that, one move at a time.
            Last edited by mvp; Feb. 12, 2020, 07:10 AM.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


              I joined the military right out of high school because I wasn’t the kind of student to get scholarships and my family couldn’t pay for it. I sold 5 years of my life in exchange for a full ride. I left the military with an associates degree. I went to nursing school. I obtained VA disability for what happened to me in the military. As a nurse I work night shift 3 nights per week. I own my own farm and offer retirement board. On my farm I grow hay and have an AG exemption so I pay less in taxes. I am married with 2 kids. Since I was a horse crazy kid I knew this is what I wanted in life and I’ve owned my farm and have had this life since I was 27. I just turned 29. I ride as much as I can at home in my arena. I trailer out to get lessons from a professional. I do clinics and horse shows. It’s amazing and I’m glad it worked out this way. I figure upon my nursing retirement I will be an accomplished enough horsewoman to go professional and live full time doing what I love. My kids are also riders and we enjoy that together.


                Childfree by choice, only marginally for horses.

                Applied myself for grants for school and worked my tail off to graduate with less than $1500 in loans, gone in less than 6 mos.

                Applied myself at my work, promoted in 10 yrs (not screamingly uncommon, but 2nd youngest at my dept and 2nd earliest).

                Made good financial decisions despite an ex's attempts otherwise and bought my own farm.

                My last vacation cost less than my annual farm health visit. I have no other expensive hobbies.
                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                  Went to a college that wouldn't have been my first choice because my mom said I could bring my horse if I went there. Thanks for that, mom, it was free so no student loans. You don't even know how far ahead that gets you in life.

                  I got married shortly after college and almost all of our disposable income went to the horse. We didn't have enough money to really spend on anything else. That marriage didn't work out (for other reasons, not money related). I found myself single with 2 large dogs and a horse to support and realized something had to give. My wonderful BO offered to lease my horse from me as I was going through that difficult time. I eventually sold him to her. It really worked out well, but it was a lesson learned - we (I) didn't really have enough money for a horse at that point in my life. Shortly after my divorce, I met my now-husband. He taught me how to be better with my money. I was never bad, always paid my bills on time and had great credit, but he has instilled in me the importance of being debt free.

                  Fast forward 4+ years - I have worked hard and have excelled at work. Been promoted several times, make a good salary, and still have a relatively flexible schedule. Guess what? I still don't have a horse. I'd like to get back into leasing or ownership within the next few years but my husband and I have agreed upon a savings goal before we do that. I'd rather make smart financial decisions now and wait a bit on the horse thing, than use all our discretionary income now on the horses potentially at the expense of being able to afford things down the road. I don't ever want to be "horse poor" again. It wasn't a good feeling.

                  As I've grown up, I've found other things I like to spend time doing as well. Running, hiking, biking, and spending time with my dogs and family are just a few of them. I still miss riding, but I find it equally as important to be happy and fulfilled in other parts of my life. And I know that when I do jump back in, I'll be fully prepared for all of the costs!

                  My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


                    I picked a career that would give me the financial stability to ride, independent of a spouse. It has moved me around a fair bit, I got to spend 3 years in Europe, 9 years in Hawaii, interspersed with a few years horseless in Korea. I was lucky enough to find an amazing husband who was also willing to put my career first. It didn't hurt that his career field typically bounces around jobs to learn different skillsets, even if they don't bounce around the world. I chose Texas over Maryland this last move because the cost of living made it easier for me to have horses. (Okay, okay, I also don't do snow, or traffic, or traffic in the snow.)

                    I have always prioritized financial security over horses. We chose not to have kids, and don't regret it for a minute. Our only debt is the house in Hawaii, and the renter is paying the mortgage on that. I retire from the military in 2 years and we'll have some choices to make then, the ability to live comfortably within our means will be the primary motivating factor in those choices, horses/hobbies will come second. Fortunately horsekeeping in Texas is relatively accessible. I very firmly believe that if you can't set fire to $3000 and still be perfectly fine money wise owning a horse is a poor life choice. (Or at least enough money to humanely euth and dispose of them). You are far better off stepping away from ownership, taking lessons if you really can't give it up, and using the time/money to establish yourself.

                    One thing I have found helpful in those times were I wasn't able to ride or wasn't able to ride the way I normally did was to look for the silver lining in things. I couldn't ride in Korea, so I took that time to research cross-training fitness programs that would help improve my riding when I could get back to it. I couldn't really pursue hunters in Hawaii the way I wanted to, so I branched out into other disciplines. Played a bit of polo (I am horrible at it), and kept myself open to a different way of doing things. Riding in Europe was a huge change. I was used to loping over pretty little fences all lined up perfectly on my OTTB and they plopped me on a stubby cob and had me galloping solid fences in a field with a bunch of other folks. (I fell in love with those stubby cobs, really wish you could find them over here for less than the price of a kidney.) I am using Texas to learn how to drive.

                    You don't have to make your life revolve around horses in order to keep having horses in your life, you may just have to be a bit flexible.

                    For the horse color genetics junky


                      Yup. Instead of going into an animal-related field as I originally planned, I decided to get a degree in engineering so I could afford horses and keeping them at a decent facility. I do have a decent amount of debt from school, I was incredibly stupid and blew my full ride because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, took me like 6 years to finally figure it out. A lot of that was the way I was raised, I love my parents but they really didn't give me the best upbringing to be successful in life, let me get away with a lot, and my mom is absolutely not the best role model when it comes to handling money. And I'm still figuring out the whole money management thing to this day.

                      But, that being said, having at least one horse the whole time through college up to now taught me a lot of the things I had been missing, especially self discipline. I am still getting control of my finances (which would be MUCH EASIER if crap would stop happening that I have to pay for), so I have a decent bit of debt still, but I have a pretty good job now that is letting me get it under control while still keeping a horse. I have no intentions of having kids, so not worried about that.

                      I do feel like a bit of a failure, I'm getting close to 30 now and I have made so many mistakes that I regret so far in life. But the horses is definitely not one of them. And I'm glad that I made the choice to get a well paying degree (even if it cost me a ton of money figuring that out) so I can keep the things I love as a hobby, not a profession to get burnt out on.

                      As far as my next job, the one I have now doesn't pay as well but is incredibly flexible. My next job will either have to be as flexible, or I have to make a LOT more than I make now.

                      And we take into account distance from the barn, or at least other decent barns, when we look at places to move to. Renting an apartment now, but the plan is to get a house within a year or so (boyfriend is the one that is smart with money, he is the polar opposite of me in that regard and I am SO glad he is).


                        I was a once-a-week lesson kid for years until my parents couldn't afford that any more. I lived in poor area that was saturated with kids like me who wanted to work to ride, and without reliable transportation, I was even more disadvantaged. My parents drilled it into me that I needed to focus on school, go to college, get a good job, etc. So I did. I gave up riding horses for ~15 years to focus on my education and career, with a few lessons interspersed. Just this year, I finally decided that I wasn't happy living in Los Angeles working in a flashy office, even if it did come with good money and "prestige." So I upped and moved to the North Carolina.

                        I was lucky enough to secure another job with similar pay and benefits, but even without that, I am much happier living in a place that is accessible to horses and other hobbies I enjoy. I'm riding 2-3x times a week at a barn that is about 20 minutes from me. Compared to what I was paying in LA (approximately 2x more per lesson) and the amount of time it took me to get to an appropriate barn (90 minutes each way), it's a no-brainer.

                        I do regret allowing myself to be so focused on how I could be stable vs. how I could be happy in my earlier years. Because once I "made it" in LA and was living comfortably, I realized that I still wasn't happy because I couldn't easily do what I liked to do (ride horses, go on a hike, camping, etc.). If I could do it over, I probably would have taken the lower paying jobs that got me out where I wanted to be instead of following the more illustrious jobs into places I ended up not liking.


                          I really like this topic. I've absolutely made life decisions based on prioritizing my continued ability to pay my horse's bills. For one, when I moved I made sure I was moving to a place more affordable that I could live comfortably on my own without roommates (high priority for me) and afford board for my horse. Moving from expensive central NJ to NC made that possible - while the city is a little expensive still, it's so much better relative to my previous state, and board is more reasonable too.

                          That being said, I had to adjust my expectations about what I could afford down here for a boarding situation. I moved from a well-kept large facility in NJ with all the amenitites like indoor, large stalls, ample turnout, etc. to a full pasture-board only barn in SC. We still have amenities, it's truly the nicest pasture board situation you could imagine, but we don't have an arena. We do have jump fields, a grass dressage court, and 30+ acres of fields to ride on. A few years ago I would have turned up my nose to this situation just based on what I'd been used to, but readjusting my expectations has made my horse happier, my wallet happier, and has turned into an overall affordable situation. We're still a competitive barn and I'm lucky to be able to make my situation work within my budget and horse goals.

                          My main point is, a lot of people equate horse ownership with the ability to show. For some, sure that might be super important, but for me keeping my horse in my life was more important than my ability to compete and lesson every week. There are ways to stay involved in horses and own horses that don't cost a second mortgage.
                          Last edited by Lyssabd; Feb. 12, 2020, 01:06 PM. Reason: grammar.


                            I love reading the responses to this! I'll add mine though I've got a lot less figured out than some on this board.

                            I currently work for a nonprofit in my field. It's not the best job, but the pay is reasonable, the benefits are excellent (I am only 29 but have mucked approximately a million stalls to pay for school, so chiro and physio and massage and acupuncture being covered are worth a LOT), I'm building a pretty awesome resume for the next job, and the best part is I only have to be in the office 4 days a week. Having a 3 day weekend almost all the time makes a huge difference for me trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air. If it weren't for that and the short commute I would have been tempted to move on a lot earlier.

                            I own two retirees and depending on how you do the math I can't afford to ride on top of their costs. But towards the end of my horse's career I had some really bad experiences and I decided that I needed to prioritize getting on a good horse and "righting" some of those wrongs. I hope it makes sense but I just picture the reality of not riding for another 15 years, letting some of those fears and habits metastasize and never getting over them as a re-rider. So I found a lease on a lovely mare that I can mostly afford, and can work off the rest of.

                            If I didn't have horses at all I probably would have made some much wilder career moves, and I would travel a lot more. I don't let myself dwell on this and spend a lot of time reminding myself how much I missed riding when I was away for grad school. I do expect to have to take some significant time off for career and life in the near-ish future, so I'm enjoying it while I can, while I have a horse that suits my needs, and while my retirees are already requiring me to spend time and money at the barn. Maybe it's a sunk cost fallacy, but it's my sunk cost fallacy and I love it.


                              Being an equestrian is part of who I yeah...I’ve made a lot of choices in my life along those lines. And like MVP...I was willing to up uproot and move long distances (and think it is good to go away from home and in live in different parts of the country and world). I chose my undergraduate college based on both top academics as well as horses. I did horses full time right after college but figured out quick that while I could support myself, it was a risky and tough way to make a living and not having a trust fund or a lot of money, I wasn’t going to get ahead. I had a strong work ethic and a brain so I went back to school. I picked law school as a way to to have a flexible but potentially good earning career. I chose a career over a job (I know many others who picked 9-5 jobs instead) because that gave me the most upward gain....but I sacrificed social life and sleep to ride. I made what I do...but have no time for dating or marriage or kids. I have friends with kids so that is enough for me! I ride as much as I want...I just lose sleep. I work in a career that at least has a bit of intellectual aspect...I live in a wonderful horsey area. My farm is a good investment...horses...not so much! I already am the crazy cat lady but most people don’t know it until they come to my farm and see my barn cats follow me around (then they start to realize I might be a crazy cat lady). Would I change any of Life is about choices and paths. There is no one perfect way....and I’ve managed to keep horses a part of my life the entire time because THAT was important to me. Everyone makes choices....and you have to have priorities....and trust me, most careers require that you work hard (I still buy the occasional lottery ticket). But if horses are important to can make it work with the right effort.

                              ETA: one tip though....pick the right area to live. I chose the mid Atlantic because of easy access to competing and top professions in my sport AND for my career. I had NO family in the area (that was actually a plus ). And I always lived near my horses and commuted to work. Those two choices made it tons easier to keep horses in my life IMO. And did not sacrifice my success in my career.
                              Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 13, 2020, 12:58 PM.
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                Went into teaching in part because it wasn't going to be 9-5 and I'd have summers off. Original goal was high school science, but ended up getting a PhD and ultimately teaching at a community college. At this point, almost all of my teaching load is at night during regular semesters, with one afternoon lab. I can have this schedule by a combination of seniority and a lack of full-time faculty who are willing to teach at night. But there's sometimes stuff I'd like to do at night (friend comes into town and is available for one evening to meet up with a group, celebration dinners...) and I can't go. Unfortunately I have acquired a second expensive hobby, photography.
                                The Evil Chem Prof


                                  I'm a re-re-rider. I rode for about 4 years in my mid-late 30's (after not riding since I was about 19), up to age 39 then quit again for financial reasons. I never thought i'd have another horse, let alone show again.

                                  In my mid 40's, I went through a rough breakup with a guy I thought might be the one and was so sad about it. My gay BF, who rode in the appaloosa breed shows had 2 horses and invited me to come hack around just to cheer me up. That turned into a once a week lesson situation with a trainer at the facility where my friend boarded, which then snowballed into a (free lease) half lease deal at another barn. I was able to show the half leased horse at A shows near home, which made my wheels turn....

                                  I somehow talked my father into letting me move in with him for a year to "save money for a house". About 3-4 months into that situation my dad had a revelation, asking me "you do realize there is only a 1 letter difference between house and horse, right? I hope you're really saving for a house". Hmmm, not so much.

                                  That horse had to suddenly retire in the spring of 2018 as I simultaneously and also quite suddenly found myself in full on panic mode over wth I was going to do to be able to keep riding. The idea that i'd have to cough up a big chunk of money to plunk down to lease one by the year seemed kind of dumb given a huge chunk of what I earn would go into the monthly costs of board/lessons/shoes/vet/maint, etc. So, my dad and I chatted about the situation and how well it was working out with me living with him (he's 71 now and i'm 49).

                                  We agreed that I could make it work if I was living there so I set a (very) low budget to buy something, knowing it would likely be VERY green and possibly an OTTB. The barn I am at doesn't really have any customers in that low budget range so it's not something that was going to be easily found, mostly because it's just not their business model but I tried to be patient about it. Over that summer we got some team horses in the barn from SMU to use for lessons and I half leased one of those to keep myself going while shopping/waiting for the right one to come along.

                                  I found myself making all kinds of budget cuts in my lifestyle to be able to keep throwing money into the horse coffer. Each month my budget went up a little more and a little more because I found myself not doing things like getting my nails done every 2 weeks, no more tanning bed (don't judge...if you can't tone it, tan it), not as much going out with friends, no vacations, no buying new clothes on a whim, etc.

                                  By the time I found my horse at the end of the 5 1/2 month period of time it took to find "the one" (I tried 6 or 7 along the way), my budget was enough to buy one that was fairly good quality to do the local A's and AA's, young enough to last me a long time, already had a few show miles under 3' on the Trillium Circuit in Canada so he was still eligible for the 3' greens but not so green that I couldn't ride him. The budget was still low relative to what a nice, amateur friendly hunter costs in the US but I feel like I got a great deal. I got lucky.

                                  It did and still does require A LOT of sacrifice to have to live with my father, who now has a serious girlfriend in the picture but did not at the time I moved in. There have been many, many stressful moments along the way and much family strife about the situation b/c of his different lifestyle with a GF in the picture, but I honestly do not know how my mental health would fare if I had to give up horses again. So, I keep on trucking with my decision to make the sacrifice in order to be able to ride and show. In my opinion, and in my personal situation, it is worth it to me. Others may not feel the same way if they were in my shoes but like our horses, we are all individuals with our own individual thresholds for what we can and cannot tolerate.



                                    I wouldn't say any were necessarily difficult sacrifices. And my mom also rides so I've always had someone in my corner.

                                    Right from the get go my parents told me that if I wanted to keep horses in my life I would need a good career. For a long time I wanted to be a physiotherapist, luckily I had the opportunity to volunteer in a clinic while doing my undergrad. I realized very quickly that I didn't think it was something that I would enjoy doing long term.
                                    I took a year off and groomed for a BNT, went to Florida for the winter, etc. I went back to school and did a post-grad in cardiac sonography. I love the job, but big draws were certainly the pay and the hours. M-F, even in the hospitals.

                                    Upon graduation Ontario was full of part-time and casual jobs. That would have been doable...except that I had a horse. So horsey and I moved across the country for a full time position that allowed me to keep riding and showing. Luckily SO is an electrician and has been willing to follow me across the country twice. I gave up that dream job to move closer to home a few years ago. SO and I both wanted to be closer to family, but I missed my mom's horse, and my mom and I wanted to buy another young horse to develop together. Turns out I love running a clinic lab more than working at a cutting edge hospital so it was a win.

                                    I'm also a penny pincher. My parents are people who don't "waste" money on extras, but instead save for retirement and spend on bigger ticket items. I learned from them. I buy no name everything, I buy and sell used, I use coupons and rewards programs, I rarely eat out, I can count on one hand how many times I've had my nails done, I don't do anything to my hair other than a trim every 6 months, I drive a 10yo honda civic, etc.

                                    We're currently childless. I would be perfectly happy staying childless. SO is on the fence, however he recently started his own company so we will stay childless for the foreseeable future. Until I know the company is going to stay afloat I'm not signing up for all of the costs associated with children. Because if it came down to my horse or our house, I realistically know that I would have to sell the horse. Which is heartbreaking to even think about, he's been with me longer than my SO.


                                      Originally posted by mvp View Post

                                      IMO, you can't have everything. Or, at least, you can't do everything well, at the same time unless you have a great deal of money to support that by buying help (and perhaps compliance) from other people. But so much in life is a trade-off in that old, "Work to Live, or Live to Work" way. Because, early on, I could do my non-negotiable A-job (getting into a Serious College) in high school, and my B-job (learning to ride at the highest level a poor barn rat like me could), AND because it was possible to do both of these serious-but-kiddie jobs (if you had focus and a work ethic), I got an early experience with being able to choose what would make me happy. And I just kept choosing that, one move at a time.
                                      This is an excellent quote. The rare individuals I know who can do many things well are all significantly wealthy individuals and even then, there is only so much that one can do in 24 hours before you start compromising important aspects of health like sleep, diet, etc. Lots of money definitely helps though!

                                      I was a gym rat before I started riding and hit the weights most days of the week. Now that I'm much more serious about riding and taking lessons 3x a week (sometimes more) my body can't take multiple weightlifting sessions, riding sessions, and swimming so I've reduced my days in the gym. On top of that, I've tweaked most of my workouts at the gym to accommodate riding and now I place a large emphasis on mobility, flexibility, core strength, and endurance rather than on how much weight I can lift off the floor and how big my biceps are. I've also significantly increased my cardio.

                                      I'm turning 30 next month and there are a few activities I take part in now that really made me realize how valuable time is and how much time I wasted in my 20s. I'd be a much better rider now had I not wasted time spent with people who were going nowhere in life and on activities that I was less passionate about and don't contribute to my life.

                                      There are a handful of passions I have now (riding is one of them) that I truly want to excel at and they make me realize that life really is short and that wasting time is a tragedy. If I wanted to dabble in hobbies here and there, I can be less serious but to pursue excellence in any activity, let alone multiple activities, requires time. So now I'm much more diligent with my time, I've eliminated most people from my past, have streamlined and adapted my health and fitness to allow me to engage in these activities at a high level (now and into the future), and make it a point not to take part in anything that I know won't be fulfilling or beneficial to me in any way.

                                      My life is drastically different now than it was ten years ago, but I'm determined to learn from my regrets in my 20s so that the next part of my life is significantly better. Riding is one of those things that has helped me structure all of this.


                                        Horses are the reason I went to law school. Seriously.

                                        And it worked! Self-funded horse life, here I am! It was probably not a great life choice in that it's one doozy of a life-changing career, but here I am. The hours are also somewhat flexible (I mean, I work A LOT, but I can work at 3 am or 3 pm and don't need to be in the office for a lot of it - the independence is helpful. My laptop gets a lot of barn dust on it).
                                        Mr. Sandman
                                        sand me a man
                                        make him so sandy
                                        the sandiest man