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Life after Exercise Riding

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  • Life after Exercise Riding

    Obviously posting under an alter...

    I have a full time job. I make good money, have good benefits, etc. I'm miserable in my job. I don't want to go into work every day. I'm trapped in a bad relationship.. border-line abusive. I have an offer to go ride for a trainer full time. Right now, I only help out when I can. I'm seriously considering the offer. The money really isn't an issue. Without having to live in a certain area for work, I can make due with money from galloping. My biggest concern is what will I do 3, 5, 10 years from now when my body gives out and says no more, or if I get hurt. What are career options for "retired" exercise riders? What do most end up doing?

    I want to be happy, but at the same time I don't want to end up in a cardboard box. I want to ride, but I don't want to get hurt and end up crippled because I didn't have enough insurance to pay for me to go to doctors. Please help.

  • #2
    How old are you? I am in my mid 40's and gallop 12+ a day , every day. I only gallop horses I train. So I would say training is a good job for you after galloping.


    • #3
      I galloped and rode races in my twenties.. then had two children and my mother insisted that I get a real job with benefits (I should say that she guilted me into it).. I went to work for the government, but still went to the barn and got on horses on the weekends...(My ex was a trainer) I hated the office, and left after 10 months... went back to the track in the winter! I made some huge life changes, getting rid of 1st husband was one of them... Never looked back since.

      Fast forward to now... I'm 43, and stopped galloping 2 yrs ago, although I still enjoyed it somewhat, I stopped enjoyng the rough horses. (I also had 2 more children who are young). I took out my trainers license a few yrs ago, and my husband also trains. We have a farm and breed a few mares and pinhook... and also have a small bloodstock company we are just getting started.

      There are alot of options, you can still be involved in the business without getting on horses every morning. Life is too short to be miserable.. I took that advice when I was, and it all worked out.


      • #4
        My recommendation is if you happen across a nice refrigerator box, hang onto it just in case! (Just kidding!!)

        In all seriousness, it's good that you're thinking about it now. A lot of people don't and those are the people that tend to wind up in trouble. I used to gallop, but not professionally, so I can only speak from what I know of others. But, I do also know a lot of people galloping well into their 50s. I also know a lot of people that become trainers, bloodstock agents, breeders, gate crew, racing office employees, etc. Saving some money for retirement/medical emergencies is key, though.

        Good luck! I hope everything works out well for you!


        • #5
          Hubby started off galloping and then moved into training in 1976. He's still training and galloping, despite trying to retire for a few years at the turn of the century. So at 59, he's training our horses, galloping our horses, enjoys breezing them immensely, gallops a few for his old cronies, and is in better physical shape then people several decades younger then he is.


          • #6
            I galloped in my early 20's and then went to work for a hunter jumper trainer for a few years as a barn manager/beginner instructor/exercise rider. When I started seriously dating my now husband, I decided to go back to school.....I really miss the track sometimes but do have my own now so I get my horse fix. Maybe you might consider going back to school while you are galloping and finding a career that fits you better. The schedule would make scheduling classes pretty easy. If I could do it all over again, I would have gone pre-med then vet school instead of the CS degree I got

            Good luck And I hope you find where you want to be


            • #7
              Try to pick up as many skills as you can beyond galloping - at ANY age, ANY rider can get hurt. Being around TBs as much as you are, learning to be a good groom is a possibility, and that can be something to have up your sleeve when the time comes that you no longer wish to gallop. In many places, while the money isn't necessarily top dollar, it can still provide a decent living.
              Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
              Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


              • #8
                One of the most spectacular ladies I know, is in her 70's and still gallops race horses daily! She's amazing! She also has her own farm and breeds TB's as well as trains all those she rides. Right now she's breaking some of her 2 y/o's, all the while, her spare time is spent riding show horses!

                She's quite amazing...although I know not everyone can gallop as long as she has, but just thought I'd mention her...oh yeah, and she's pretty much got a full cage (internal from injuries) and multiple screws, pins, and other things that did not come naturally.


                • #9
                  Steele, I do know the woman you are talking about... she is one tough lady, thats for sure!


                  • #10
                    Agreed, it isnt age as much as how well you are aging. Several trainers in their 60's are still galloping at Penn National, most of the exercise riders are over 50! --- a pony girl is 65, another early 60's. Im 54 and pony all morning with ponies between 9-10yrs old ---
                    Many move on to training..grooming, pony work --- there are plenty of choices. I think the general attitude is to simply take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself. Good luck!
                    IN GOD WE TRUST
                    OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.


                    • #11
                      DO IT
                      Seriously. I have had a heart to heart with myself recently about this 9-5 corporate stall boarded human BS i tolerate for the sake of a few extra bucks and bennies. I am ready for some turnout!!!
                      This weekend I am going to all the feed stores and tack stores looking for ads of a boarding barn looking for a manager or trainer. I am under utilized sitting in this 6'x6' cubicle stall, and if something doesnt give, i think i am going to take up cribbing.
                      Ya only do this once, use your body up til the boots fall off, then you can go be a corporate box staller when you cannot do what you love anymore. This world's got it backwards, do what you love while your body still works.
                      If you don't follow your heart, you'll never be happy
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • #12
                        I think you should go for it. Get out of the miserable job and bad relationship NOW, since you have an offer to ride full-time. Once you get situated, you can figure out what comes next. Sounds like there are several options to stay in the horse business. Or as someone else mentioned, you can go to school do something else that you will enjoy more than your current job. There are many online classes and colleges now, so you don't even have to be near a college.

                        Good luck!


                        • #13
                          Life after....

                          I totally get what you're saying. I've been there.
                          There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and dreading/hating going to work (been there, done that) Life is way too short and work takes up way too much of your life to be unhappy doing what you do. Since I have been exactly where you are right now the best advice I can give you is get your ass to a computer course, preferably one aimed towards the horse industry. While galloping I completed a night course in 'Equine Business Administration". Believe me it was the best thing I ever did. I am now business manager for a large TB breeding farm. From much experience I can tell you that it is impossible to find good (horse) office staff - I would gladly hire someone who has "hands on" knowledge of horses with week computer skills before someone with great computer skills and no horse experience. There is great money to be earned if you have the right office skills and your horse background counts for so much. There is a major shortage of good equine office staff - believe me!!! Go do a computer course and you won't regret it.

                          Good luck.


                          • #14

                            Where did you take your Equine Business course?


                            • #15
                              Equine Admin Courses

                              I did mine in Europe before I came to the States but I know there are plenty of them out there, try searching the internet, I'm sure you'll find one in your location - if you can't find an equine related one a regular computer course is just as good.
                              good luck


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I appreciate the ideas about going to school at night. The problem is, I don't know what to do. I thought I'd found my dream job. I already have a bachelors degree. I guess I could go for my masters, but I'm not sure what I'd want to do with it. The only thing I can think about right now is riding.

                                I'm a Type A personality planner. I have to know exactly what's coming up next all the time. I live on my Blackberry, and can't survive without the calendar. I've never just "winged it". I wouldn't know how. I'm so jealous of the people who can backpack across Europe for 3 months, never knowing where they're going to sleep that night. Not me at all. I'd have an itinerary for every day, and every hour. That's just me.

                                The possibility of giving up this structured life and just going where the race track winds blow scares the crap out of me, but at the same time is so tempting and exciting. I've just come to a fork in the road, and I don't know which way to go.. stay with the familiar and safe or follow my heart and see where it takes me. I guess I'm the only one who can make the choice, but you all are making it a lot easier. Thanks.


                                • #17
                                  I'm not sure where you are located, but there are tracks with racing year round... You can actually have a home, family, etc! I did it for many years, I traveled around when I was younger, but once I had kids we settled in one spot and bought a farm.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                                    I'm not sure where you are located, but there are tracks with racing year round... You can actually have a home, family, etc! I did it for many years, I traveled around when I was younger, but once I had kids we settled in one spot and bought a farm.
                                    That is true. I galloped in Illinios and could live near Hawthorne/Sportsmans for the winter season and drive to Arlington during the summer.

                                    You know....you already have your bachelors degree....maybe you just need some time to figure out what you want to do with it. I have mine and am not working in the same field as my degree. So many people do not end up working in their field of study. Maybe while you are taking a step back and galloping for a living for awhile, you can look at options where is it helpful to have a degree but not necessary for it to be related. My degree is Computer Science and I now work in the mortgage industry. You will not regret your decision to take time to work at the track. I certainly did not regret any of the time I spent working with horses