As most of you know, I love the COTH forums (especially the Hunter/Jumper forum). They are a wealth of information and I frequently use the search functions when I'm looking for info about a particular bit or piece of equipment, what show jacket/bridle/helmet/breeches to buy, or to get the real scoop on a farm, horse show, trainer, clinician, etc. I also like reading Around the Farm for the days when I can't stop daydreaming about someday owning my own place.
But this week, I have to say that I came across my favorite COTH thread of all time, the "Working Ammys show your stuff!" Thread. How fabulous to read about all these working women like myself, who have a hectic work schedule, stressful career, sometimes kids and families to juggle, and somehow still manage to ride their horses and go to shows on the weekends. You can't help but smile reading through this thread if you are someone like me. (And not just because of Post #7).
In a sport where I sometimes look around and wonder if I should have just married a millionaire so I'd have more time to practice and wouldn't have to check my blackberry right before I go in for the hack, it is really nice to know that there are others out there who are making things happen the same way that I am. I work really hard, and that earns me enough to keep Tucker and Julie in the lifestyles to which they've become accustomed, and afford entry fees, and lessons, and training, and two away shows a year.
Even with my (thankfully) lucrative career, I still have to save wherever I can, and it's nice to see that others are doing the same too. I ship my own horses, braid my own horses, do my own body clipping, grooming, tack cleaning, and just about everything else I can manage to do on my own, and buy everything at a discount (gotta love those consignment racks!), because otherwise I'd have to sleep in Tucker's stall with him (which would be lovely, don't get me wrong, but I have a feeling my co-workers would complain about the smell). But I wouldn't have it any other way -- I do all this because I love that after all these years I finally have an awesome horse to compete, and he gives it all back to me tenfold.
When I imagine the people who are really successful in my division or in my dream division (the High Amateur/Owner Hunters), I picture women who have no other care in the world, who travel up and down the coast all year long with their string of fabulous horses, following the fairest weather. In my mind's eye, these women and their beloved equines have the very best of everything, and they never cringe while they write checks, never think twice about what they're spending, never have to make a decision based on what's in the budget this month, and do it all without ever having to sit behind a desk all day.
It turns out I'm wrong, and a lot of them are just like me. Somehow, that makes my dreams feel a whole lot closer.