A Day in the Life of a Competitive Equestrian
_LadyM_ wakes up at 3 o'clock. IN THE MORNING. It hurts us just to think about it.—Sparkitors
Horses are my life—and I say that without a hint of exaggeration. I ride 7 days a week, and when I’m not riding I’m doing barn chores or helping my sister sort out a difficult pony (I gave up on homework years ago). It’s hard to sum up the way that I feel about riding. Most of the time I love it. Other times, my mare makes me frustrated enough to jab a spur in my eye. Either way, I’m in this sport for life, and nothing will change that. Oh, and if anybody says that riding is not a sport, you and I will have a meeting tomorrow, and I will drop a hay bale on your head. They're heavier than they look.
For those of you who aren't a part of the “horse-world,” we have shows Friday, Saturday, and Sunday almost every weekend all summer. Here's a typical day in the saddle:
3 AM: The alarm goes off. I do my best to ignore it, without much success. This is why my coach makes me go to bed at 7:30 PM.
3:15 AM: I get dressed. This is easier said than done, because my outfit consists of skintight pants, a button-up shirt, and a blazer. Have you ever tried to line up buttons when you should be sleeping?
3:25 AM: I put on my “tall boots.” Again, this is more difficult that it sounds, and requires special equipment to get the job done (boot pulls).
3:30 AM: It’s time to load the horses. I pull the truck and trailer into the driveway. If we’re taking 4, then 3 of them will load perfectly and the other will be a beast. Getting a 1500 lb animal to do something that it doesn’t want to do requires a combination of bribery and brute force.
3:55 AM: It’s time to get on the road—we’re running late!
6 AM: We arrive and scramble to get our things together so that we can lunge the horses.
6:15 AM:We lunge the horses.
6:30 AM: The ring closes for lungers. Good thing we got an early start!
7 AM: We grab breakfast at the Pavilion. Horse shows have good breakfast sandwiches. I always get bacon, egg, and cheese.
8 AM: My division starts. I wash the mare that I'm riding today. She’s grey (which really means white) and always gets filthy the night before a show. You can’t even tell that I spent an hour bathing her yesterday.
10 AM: I’m finally required in the ring. Luckily, all goes as planned. My horse loves the attention and always behaves when she’s in the ring, except for those times when she bucks me off. Today we get over all of the jumps nicely.
1 PM: Grab lunch. Horse shows also have very good poutine. Mmm.
1:30 PM: Ogle cute he-riders. Sadly, 95% of horse boys are gay. Which is totally cool, except when you want to date them.
2:15 PM: Jogging. I hate jogging. It requires me to get off the horse and run to collect a ribbon. Running=unnecessary physical exertion. I often have to jog because I'm usually in the ribbons.
2:30 PM: The hack class. This is the stage when all of the horses go in the ring at the same time and the judge decides who is the most beautiful. Luckily, my horse is a stunner (I’m a proud mother, so forgive me for bragging).
3:15 PM: The horses are taken care of and loaded; it’s time to go home.
4: 30 PM: Dinner! We pull into a rest station and skillfully maneuver the trailer through the busy parking lot. We do rock, paper, scissors to see who has to go in and order the food. We’re almost oblivious to the funny looks we get when we wear our riding garb in public. Almost.
5:15 PM: We arrive home and unload, then finish barn chores like feeding the horses and such.
6 PM: Collapse into bed, sleep, and prepare to repeat tomorrow.
Sounds totally exhausting! Any other competitive equestrians out there?
Related post: A Day In The Life