Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ammy Hour: Meet Nicku!!

It's time for a new series! I want to spotlight some adult ammies and how they make it work with horses. Let's face it: we all know the challenges. We all know what gets in the way. Here are some people who do the horse thing, the life thing, and still have to pay the bills.Without further ado, meet Nicku of the Polka Dot Periodical. I've always admired her--she balances a passionate horsey love and mad skills with a real person job, while being very social and staying involved with her church. She's never mentioned having a superwoman cape, so she's going to kick off our series in which we explore just how a successful adult ammy makes everything work.

1) You’re at dinner with work colleagues. How do you introduce yourself? I love working full time so very much, there's no where else I'd rather be tonight than this! Oh, what do I normally do after work? I ride horses. English style, no that's not the saddle with the horn, jumping colored poles, you've seen that on TV probably when you watched the Olympics this summer, no? But enough about me, did someone order wine yet?
 
2) But what you really meant to say was this:
If I could make money in horses, you bet your bottom that's what I'd be doing, but since that's nearly impossible to do here in Northern CA and not live out of my horse trailer I work my tail off so that I can afford to own a horse, take lessons and compete here and there. I actually am at the barn for at least 2 hours a night after work while you're home eating a nice dinner and watching American Idol with your kids, I am (and always have been) an Eventer, I jump stuff on my young horse that I trained myself that is solid and scary at high rates of speed, you'd actually think I was insane if you saw it. 
 
3) Tell us about your horse: Pongo is a 16.3, 6 year old, LOUD leopard Appaloosa gelding out of the Confetti Farms line of eventing appies. He's competed BN eventing successfully and schools at Novice/Training level. He's snuggly, sassy, bossy, proud, brave, smooth, smart and just all around fun to look at and be around. TOTAL momma's boy. Definitely not a beginner's ride, but he's appropriate to my level of riding experience. 
 
4) How did you meet him/her? We met in upstate New York in September of 2007. I found him on dreamhorse.com. It was true love at first sight. He was 1 year old and had an incredible presence about him that was so fun. He galloped full-tilt around his paddock, tail flipped over his back like an Arabian showing off and jumped a bush for absolutely no reason, that's when I knew, he HAD to come home with me immediately. I remember my parents asked me "...and what exactly are you going to do with a yearling stud?", I said, "I have no idea, thank goodness I have a few years to figure it out, eh?!"

 
5) What have you done together? Pongo and I just do life together. Having him since he was a baby meant I really never had an agenda for him. I always wanted him to tell me what he wanted to do versus me tell him what to do with his life. I got lucky though and the eventing genes from his granddaddy are strong, he is a cross country machine! We've competed BN eventing, schooled through Training Level, jump ~3'-3'3" at home and at jumper shows too on occasion, we do a lot of natural horsemanship work and love a good trail ride. Some of our highlights this year were getting a 29.5 in dressage at our last show (earning us 1st place out of 17 riders), schooling Training Level cross country jumps and clinicing with two-time Olympian Hawley Bennett. 

Kypped from recent youtube vid
 
6) Where are you going together? This year, Novice level, possibly Training by end of year. I would really like to do a Training 3 day on him maybe in 2014, but I have a super busy, full-time professional job, 45 minute commute to work both ways, wedding coming up August 2013 and God willing, we really want to have kids in the next couple of years. I try not to make too many plans in my equestrian life and just take what comes, I only have one Pongo and I really want him to last a long time for me, I just love riding him so much, so we're just going to see where the road takes us, no rush! 
 
7) How do you finance the addiction? I am blessed to have a good paying job. But, that is really a result of my Dad teaching me that to have horses, I'd better have a solid career, so I had to focus on school and work 100% for a few years and not own a horse. I had to catch ride/take group beginner lessons (OUCH to the prelim rider ego), do whatever I could to ride on the cheap/free until my paycheck was big enough to afford to lease and then eventually own a horse again. Even then, that meant buying a nice baby horse in 2007 and waiting *patiently* for him to grow up/be the trained horse I always wanted. I also am marrying the most wonderful man who has his act together and is extremely supportive of the horse addiction both emotionally and financially. I ask for evententries.com gift certificates and other various horse things at every holiday. My parents are trained that Pongo gets a Christmas gift every year :P This year he asked for a Back on Track blanket.

 
8) How often do you ride? 2-3 days during the week and 1 weekend day usually, then my trainer rides Pongo 1 day a week

 
9) What’s the single biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals? Keeping my goals very flexible and reasonable. 

 
10) If there was one thing you could say to people getting ready to join the ranks of riding (or re-riding) adults, what would it be?  Buy, or ride a horse that is appropriate to your current skill level (take an excellent cue from Aimee and snatch up the oldie, but goodie schoolmaster, have some dang fun, get your confidence sky high). If you work and ride, you probably (honestly) cant afford to fall off and get really injured riding a flighty horse or a project horse. I've had a few little things happen here and there and it is miserable trying to focus at work after a concussion, or sit in a meeting with a stiff back from getting bucked off. Safety first - and that means being properly matched with the right horse, doing activities that are appropriate to your level and working with a trainer who can help you. As a result of my falls I really dont ever ride other people's horses that often or horses I am unfamiliar with - I just cant risk something happening to me and it affecting my job/livelihood.

 
11) Bottom Line: Dont get caught up in what everyone else at your barn, or on the blogs are doing (I mean for reals, how DO THEY go to EVERY SINGLE EVENT offered and every clinic and schooling and not go broke?). Own it that being an adult-ammie rider, especially one who has to work full time, means you probably arent going to play by the same rules as someone who doesnt work, or has oodles of disposable income and that's OK. You'll probably always be either short on time or money or if you're like me, both time AND money AND oh yeah, most days energy too...but that doesnt diminish your passion and ability to excel at the sport. Do what you can each day (whether that's having a great lesson, or just realizing you need a night at home with no riding because work kicked your butt) and if you feel like it wasnt enough, try again tomorrow or the next day! Always go at your own pace, this is supposed to be fun, right? Oh and wear your helmet, every single ride, no exceptions. 
 
Many thanks to Nicku for taking the time to share! 
Any tips? Special ways you make it work? Things you have to give up? Want to be the next featured ammy? Hit me up in the comments or through our contact me page (just under the header). 

PS Don't forget to enter our contest!! Entries are open through 12/31.

26 comments:

  1. Great series, I enjoyed learning more about Nicku :)

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  2. Awesome! The picture of Nicku and Pongo is gorgeous!

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  3. Love the Appy...thanks for sharing. Another like minded blog to follow :)

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  4. One of my favourite Blogger duos! I would love to be part of this series.

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  5. Great series! And that is a *beautiful* appy. I look forward to reading more of these, because I'm sitting here at work right now reading horse blogs and waiting to go ride my horse his evening... so I can relate :)

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  6. Great and well-thought out! Although so sad she's going to ruin it with the kid thing, ROFL (sorry, I'm a non-breeder, can't resists, bwahahah). I 100% agree with her last point though -- you CANNOT compare yourself to people with regular lessons, positive bank balances, or even dual incomes in many cases -- as an adult amateur who has to pay her own mortgage, I have to accept my limitations and put in every spare second of imaginary energy I have to set my OWN goals and compete against myself. Never measure your own worth against someone else.

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  7. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share, this was so so so much fun to write up! We're changing people's opinions about Appaloosas one post and picture at a time! Yeah, and about the future kids...how can I grow up and be a crazy horse show mom without them?!?! I cant wait to see old man Pongo carting around my little ones someday, haha! AND dont forget kids are the perfect excuse to own an ADORABLE perfect pony! I have my eye on one at our barn already...Oreo watch out ;)

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    1. Loved the post. Glad to meet you! And I can vouche for sucessfully passing on my horse obsession to another generation. It's like having the BEST built in riding buddies!

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  8. This is awesome!! What a cutie-pie of a horse! I'm an adult-ammy now too (when did that happen?? seems like yesterday I was doing pony club...), I've got a new baby, two awesome step-kids, a job, a home, a hubby, and oh yeah, I'm going to college full time on top of training my OTTB. Fun fun stuff!! Can't wait to see more entries in this series :)

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  9. I love this feature! Rarely do I read something horse related online that resonates so much with my actual life!

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  10. Ah such a great idea and read about Nicku and Pongo! They truly are an awesome pair! :)

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  11. This new series is awesome! I love Appy's :), and I went and followed her blog.

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    1. Thank you!!!! We're so happy you're following!

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  12. I love this! I can relate in so many ways (and follow Nicku's blog for that reason!). I would love to be featured in an adult ammy post someday. :-)

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    1. Thanks!!! We love that you follow us!

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  13. Love it. Thanks for sharing this.

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  14. Great post. As an ammie myself, though not independent from my parents yet, its a great post that kind of gives me an inkling of what the future may hold for me. I.e. long hard hours at work, and probably less horsey time. But at least I'll still be able to have the horse, and maybe show her off sometimes too!

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    1. Yeah, put the hard work in now, even if it means less time in the saddle now and then you can enjoy the perks later, it's absolutely worth it and so rewarding!

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  15. Love love love this post! Nicku and Pongo are fabulous and inspiring!

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  16. I love this new series! I also love Appaloosas and Pongo is gorgeous!!

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