As many of you know, I kind of went MIA when my job with Don Stewart started. This was for many reasons, mostly lack of time and constant exhaustion, but either way, I’m sure a lot of you have forgotten that I exist. That’s okay! I’m back and a lot of things have changed.
To say that I learned a lot while working for Don would be a drastic understatement. Not only did I learn a lot about riding, but I also learned a lot about the business and myself, as a person. My days consisted of riding eight to fourteen horses a day, doing an ungodly amount of laundry, rolling countless polo and standing wraps, filing receipts and bills of sale, cleaning the office, sweeping the tack rooms, showing horses to clients, helping with pre-purchase exams, holding horses for the farrier, and the list goes on.
I showed once while I was in Florida. I rode a very enthusiastic and strong horse named Wallstreet in my second ever Talent Search class (and first at the new height standard). He had never done the open water and it had been a while since he had shown, so that was an experience in itself. Everything is a learning opportunity…
Anyway, the most important thing I learned is that, in spite of the 12-hour days, the 7-day weeks, putting holes in my tall boots, forgetting to eat, becoming a worshipper of Mondays (my occasional day off), and the overall exhausting work that is the horseworld, I love this. I love this as a sport, as a business, as a passion, and as a lifestyle. It is absolutely, undoubtedly, without question what I want to do with my life.
By the time March rolled around, I had worked myself into the ground and became very sick. After being practically comatose for two days, I awoke for work, and drove down my driveway to see a sold sign. Sure enough, Don had sold the portion of his farm which contained both the pastures for the retired horses and, you guessed it, my house. So, with only two weeks for myself and my two housemates to move out, it was time for me to go home.
The drive back to Georgia was an odd one. I had become very close with all of the staff at the farm so, in a way, I felt like I was leaving family. I knew I would miss the pride of working at such an amazing facility with such a great trainer, and I knew I would definitely miss riding so many amazing horses each day.
But, I was also going home. No matter how much fun I had in Florida, Georgia was, and always will be, my home. Despite driving away from my new family, I knew I was going home to my real family. And I was relieved. After three months, I was ready for a break. I had learned more lessons than I thought possible and gained more experience and connections than I could have ever hoped for. Plus, after eight to fourteen horses a day, I had legs of steel.
To make a long story short (yes, I’m fully aware that this is not a short post), when I got home, I took a bit of a break, got back into the swing of things, campaigned Ramsey in a few USET classes, won a few jumper classes, and then I took a three-week vacation in Maine.
As much as it killed my millennial-self, I was actually thankful for the lack of internet in my grandparents’ old log cabin. It gave me a lot of time to think about the direction I wanted my life to go. I went back and forth, debating whether or not I should try to find another job under another trainer, or if I should open my own business and try to make a go of it on my own. I came to the conclusion that I would open my own business.
So, here I am. I’m now a small fish in a big pond. I know I’ve picked a tough route, but I also know that following my instincts has gotten me this far. I’ve been fortunate enough that, in the three months my business has been up and running, I’ve already snagged a few lesson students and multiple horses in full training at my farm. Have I made the right decision? Who knows. But, I do know that I’m doing what I love everyday and I’m excited to see what my life as a professional brings.
Stay tuned for more updates on my life as a young, struggling professional trainer. Take a look at my website at www.Easton Show Stables.com.