Horseback Riding, Horse Shows and the Balance of Life
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
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.
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.
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