By Emily Logan
The first time I sat on a horse I was 3 years old. It was a pony at the zoo, and I was hooked.
Fast-forward 15 years, and my life a whirlwind. Suddenly I’m managing a barn of 22 horses, I have 6 of my own, including two foals that I’ve bred. I’m working towards Young Riders while planning to take online classes for university for the first year. It’s everything I thought I wanted.
Fast-forward another 7 years. I’m 25. I no longer have a barn. I never made it to Young Riders. I called it quits in the dressage world for a while, and it took a friend to get me back into it. I went to school, rode for my Intercollegiate team, and then moved across the country to pursue a Masters degree. I spent over 365 days out of the saddle and can candidly say it was the worst year of my life.
In that year I realized I had no desire for a career in what I was wasting my money studying. All I wanted was to be around horses. I had found every excuse while in grad school to be around them. I drove 3 and a half hours one-way to go to a big show. For a school project. Yeah. That’s right. Unregrettably I saw some amazing things. Dressage at Devon, Pennsylvania National, Washington International… I even met Giacomo and other great Thoroughbred stallions at a personal tour of Heritage Stallions, a new breeding farm in Maryland. But I wasn’t riding. So I wasn’t happy.
I dropped out of my second semester of my master’s program, finished out my summer commitments, and headed home. But I’ve been lost ever since.
My trainer helped me find an amazing, special, quality horse to ride, that’s not the problem. The problem, is what do I do for a career when I’m only happy around horses but I can’t be a horse trainer?
When I was a junior in college I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. In laymen’s terms, my body hurts all the time. I can only do so much a day. I get by working at the barn doing feedings or grooming (I’m a show groom for my trainer, which is amazing), but that’s not a career. I’m not happy when I’m doing anything not around horses, but my body can’t take training, so I’ll forever be a true amateur.
I’ve had a lot of suggestions, but none seem to fit right for me.
Vet or Vet Tech? No, too sciency. I have a degree in communications for a reason.
Racehorse Trainer? My closest track is about an hour away and only runs about 3 months out of the year. Not really convenient.
Technical Delegate or Judge? I thought about this a lot and explored the TD side of it, actually trying to learn the things and going into the beginnings of the process over the summer, but I think it’s not really for me.
I started the process to start an online tack store, but was turned down from a lot of companies I wanted to sell, so that was a no-go.
Really, what I’m getting at here, is that it’s hard to find your place, but that’s okay sometimes. We live in a society that tells us we’re too young to make a decision like pick our president until we’re 18, but we’re forced to make life altering decisions when we’re that age or younger. There’s not a lot openly available for someone like me to do in the dressage world, especially where I live. But that’s okay. I’ll find it eventually.