The Working Amateur-Part 2

A day in the life of the working amateur…

5:30am, first alarm goes off.  If I got to bed before 11pm, I can often start moving.

5:50am, if I got moving, a couple of times a week, 23 minutes on the treadmill…need that cardio! Or some mornings, out to get in two rides, the coffee has to be ready to drink for this to happen…I should remember to set it up the night before and use the timer feature.

6:20am, start drinking first cup of coffee, stare at iPad, possibly Facebook, maybe a forum.

6:30-7am, depending on how tired I am, Sometimes I slept through that first hour of steps, so it is out to the barn to fill water buckets, add beet pulp to the feed, and grab a horse to ride.

7am-8, ride…first or second horse, rinse horse, wipe tack, dunk bridles (I use synthetic bridles because it is efficient!), bring in rest of horses, feed, and run inside.  Often my husband will help by bringing in the horses while I’m riding, he’s the best!

8:15-8:30, shower, bolt food if my husband left me a breakfast, skip food if he didn’t, dry bangs, if I have a meeting, put on eye liner…my nod to makeup.  Hope for warm weather so the convertible top can be down and dry the rest of my hair…

8:30-8:45, get out the door…I like to say my work schedule is 10-6, but I try to arrive around 9:30, unless there are early meetings, in which case my whole morning schedule goes to hell in a handbasket.

9:30ish to 6:30ish, I have to get in my 8 hours of work a day, so lunch can make the day longer, if I’m late, I leave later…etc.

7:15pm, home, run inside, change, hustle to get the horses turned out. Some days I’m lucky that my boarders will be out and have done this, and they help me do stalls on those days, those are luxury days!

Clean 6 stalls, toss the horse I might want to ride into the small, close paddock, the rest go into their regular fields.  Check water in fields, drop hay from loft, put hay in stalls, blow aisle, scrub & dump water buckets, make breakfast.

It is usually 7:45 or even 8pm by the time I finish all that, then I grab the second horse of the day, and some nights, I am tired, I pet the pony and go have wine…but for today…it is a ride day.

8:20pm, tack up horse, ride, yeah, it is dark, so what?  There is a light in the eave of the barn, that is good enough.  I’m not jumping…so it is incentive to not look at the ears and neck while I ride!

9:30p, get in the house, put water on the beet pulp for the morning (it lives in the basement).

9:30pm, start cooking dinner…because even if I’m too tired and it is too late to eat, I need lunches, and I always make enough for several meals for all of us.

10:30pm clean up, staying off the internet helps this, but sometimes I actually want to relax a bit.

11:00pm, bed…ideally.  Frequently, on these late nights, bed is closer to midnight.  I end up doing things like paying bills, starting a load of laundry, possibly reading for work…

Rinse and repeat the next day.

Fitting in a lesson takes a pretty big effort.  If I can get an instructor to come teach at 7am, it is easy!  If I haul out for a 7am lesson, that really cuts into sleep, since most lessons are about 45 minutes away, so that means leaving at 6am to be tacked up and ready to ride.  Those lessons don’t happen often, even if they are the easiest  for my schedule.  An afternoon lesson, now that means leaving work early.  Note the 10-6 work schedule.  If I am to commute home, turn out horses, leaving stalls until I get back, load tack and horse into trailer, commute to lesson, that means leaving by 4pm for a 7pm lesson.  That is 2 hours that I have to make up another day at work.  Oh, and I get home at almost 10pm, have not eaten, nor cleaned the barn, and so all that still has to be done before bed.

For 3 years I managed to stay on a weekly lesson program, but life happens.  I made good progress with that program, but the trainer kept going to Florida for the winter and I realized just how tired that was making me.

This post is simply to emphasize again, why amateurs without great basics show up in a weekend clinic.   I was not offended by Catherine Haddad’s blog, I did cringe a bit when I read it because it did come across a bit harshly, but sometimes humor misses the mark.  Hopefully this  also explains why some of them bristle when they perceive an instructor is suggesting that they do not work hard enough or they lack dedication to become a good rider.

Not every amateur is going to have the same schedule or duties, but some have kids to drop off at daycare, a long commute to the barn, after a long day at work, we often have supportive spouses who actually want to spend time with us.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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