Horsemanship through college, and everything beforehand
I am fourteen and have been around horses my whole life, riding them for ten years now. I have always ridden arabians until recently. I rode saddle seat up to a national level (none of the abusive stuff), and jumped for four years + four years of hunter/jumper (I jumped and practiced hunt seat simultaneously). I don't really know anything about western although it is one of my favorite disciplines and I have ridden western several times. I am currently trying to get western lessons and dressage lessons. I spend all my free time studying horses and the rest of the time at the barn or at school. My life is dedicated to them. I love all breeds and all disciplines. For my age, I think I am pretty good at training horses. I own a four year old arabian gelding who my family bred ourselves and has been raised mainly by me. For training him under saddle of course I have turned to a professional horse trainer. Anyways, I have used mainly natural horsemanship techniques for ground training him and he has turned out fine, although I admit it was definitely a rocky start. He was born when I was ten, so it took me a little bit to figure out raising and training a baby horse would take some extensive research and effort on my part since my family has basically no involvement in horses. So he did develop a biting habit and bad ground manners at first, however once I got a grip on basic horse ground training I straightened him out.
I know it was unwise for someone my age to be entrusted with a foal, but I didn't at the time, so please no commentary there. I have NEVER lived on a farm, but I have spent all my time at stables. The problem is I want to breed and train arabians when I grow up. It is the only thing that makes me truly happy. However everyone I see who succeeds in this business either has the assistance of a trust fund or grew up in an extreme horse family. I possess neither of these advantages. Not only that, but my twenty year old sister loved horses too and when she went to college she was forced to drop everything horse-related. I am terrified that is what will happen to me.
So, obviously, if I am going to have the faintest chance of making a living off horses I am going to need not only a backup job but an INSANE amount of skill, knowledge, talent, time, and beforehand money. I need all the help I can get. Do you guys know any types of camps, courses, classes, books, documentaries, ANYTHING that can help me? Any tips? ANYTHING.
Then comes the problem of college. I know of colleges that have show jumping teams, but I don't have much experience in that field, nor do I have the money to buy a national level warmblood for that (or even to show A-circuit, like I used to) plus I have a learning disability and it will be all but impossible to get the straight A's required to get into those colleges unless I spend all the time that I need for horses studying. I need some way to keep up my studies with horses throughout college.
Whew, that's a fast and tall order. I know it feels like everything in life takes FOREVER right now. I was chomping at the bit to finish high school and start my REAL life, lol.
My best advice would be to not sweat the time and dedication required to reach your goals. Yes, school may lead you down a parallel but unlinked path to horses, but you can maintain your connection on your own, eventually taking that learning-turned-successful-career back to your first love. Essentially, you can't do it ALL, all at once. The drive you have to do so, imo, is what is going to make you a success.
I try to stay fluid in life, with my gaze shifting back to that end goal, but also taking in everything along the way. Whatever road blocks may appear to pop up are usually tools in disguise that help me doing things better. Relax into it and keep ready to snap up any opportunities that may come your way!
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