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Horseback Riding, Horse Shows and the Balance of Life

Julie Frykman

Posted on June 24 2015

Horseback riding, college, or life- most people say pick two, I circled all of the above. by Suzannah Simon of EqueSimon Dressage

Work, Life, Balance.

For many, an equestrian career ends after the Junior/Young Rider program.  College, work, and those darn significant others take the front seat, while being an equestrian athlete becomes a thing of the past.  But for me not riding was not an option.  I found a way to make everything balance!  Though college is not for everyone, I strived for both an equine and academic education. Just like other student athletes in college, I had a schedule, workout plan and an academic support system to help me reach my goals both in and out of the arena.  

 Success doesn't come to you, you go to it.

Keys to Success:

Have a Plan-  Just like when you ride, it is important to set monthly and yearly goals in order to measure progress.  Pick a career path that is both applicable and enjoyable to you and your future goals.

Time Management-  By far one of the hardest things to do, but critical for success!  Just like a budget for your money, pre-planning your time each week can help you be successful and eliminate stress from last minute cramming or skipping workouts/rides.  Yes, 4 AM papers happen (we all know that’s when we do our best work ;)), but setting yourself up with a schedule can hopefully help to prevent these.

Sleep-  You think I’m joking but don’t skimp on this one... two hours + red bull and a nap does not count; trust me I’ve tried. Lack of sleep can wear on training and academics.

Support-  In training and academics, don’t be afraid to get help.  Continuing to work with a trainer or coach can prevent bad habits and keep you and your horse fit to compete.  For academics, find like-minded people.  Whether it’s a study buddy or tutor group, class mates can make or break a difficult class.

Take ‘me’ time-  Schedule time each week to refresh and recharge.  Put normal people clothes on (for me it’s anything but a baseball cap, breeches and a polo) and take some time away from campus and the barn.  Volunteer, take a nice run, or enjoy some quiet time in order to help prevent burn out.

Suzannah Simon Dressage Trainer & Competitor.Some say that it’s not possible to have a successful college experience and still be a competitive equestrian athlete, but with balance and motivation I believe that anything is possible!  How would I know you ask?  This year I finished up a 4 year science and psychology degree (wahoo) while still training/riding 6 days a week.  It’s possible, I promise! Keep working hard Equestrianistas!  - Suzannah Simon

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