Friday, January 11, 2013

Ammy Hour: Meet Emily!!

 It's time for another round of meeting the most interesting people in the horse world: the adult amateurs who make it happen even with all the challenges of real life. Ever wonder how they do it? Me too. Here's the latest feature blogger, Emily from A Mile High on Horseback.

1) You’re at dinner with work colleagues. How do you introduce yourself? Hey guys, I’m sure you’ve all seen me walking around, my name is Emily if you need a name to go with the face. If I haven’t gotten the chance to stop by your desk and say hi and ask how your day has been then here I am, l love my horses, my family and being outside, and I enjoy making small talk, how about you?

2) But what you really meant to say was this: This meal better not have anything to do with work – let’s just have a good time!!

3) Tell us about your horse: Ah, Call Me Mr Cash, also known as Mr Handsomepants (but he just goes by Cash most of the time). He is a 9 year old OTTB gelding who raced for nearly 4 years, won a few races and earned about $38k before he came to me. He’s big (16.3hh), bold, lazy yet energetic (right?), athletic, brave, easily distracted, and affectionate. He kinda reminds me of John Wayne, big and tough on the outside but really a total softy. He is the kind of horse that makes you earn his affection, but once you earn it he will give it readily and is an in-your-pocket kind of horse. He’s freakishly scopey over fences and has three very lovely gaits, what I love the most is how he naturally lifts his back in the canter, it’s an awesome feeling.

4) How did you meet him/her? Well, before I had my baby I was cleaning stalls on a regular basis for a couple who have this to die-for setup. I wasn’t really looking for a horse at the time, but I was putting away money with the intentions of starting my horse hunt for a youngster come summertime. Well, these folks both work at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital here at Colorado State University, and it was a connection through the school that the wife heard about this horse available from a local Thoroughbred breeder. I was out cleaning stalls one afternoon almost exactly a year ago when she walked in and goes “Hey Emily! I found a horse for you!” ... “Oh?” – Well, I went and looked at him and he was wild as could be on a blustery winter day after sitting untouched in a paddock for 4 months. But I watched him go, rode him a little, liked what I saw (like a huge floaty trot--yum), and the purchase price was exactly the amount I had saved up so far in my horse fund. Perfect.

5) What have you done together? Well, not much! See, not but two weeks after I bought Cash I found out I was pregnant.  How’s that for timing?  I was able to get some solid ground work and lunging skills on him, and then one month of riding before I had to give over the reins to someone else. I didn’t have the $$ to put him with a trainer so I put an ad up on craigslist (my favorite-est website ever, well… along with ebay) asking if anybody wanted a project horse for the summer. I made it very clear this was a big and VERY green off the track horse that needed an experienced rider. I got several responses and went with a gal who ended up doing a wonderful job with him; I can’t thank her enough for spending her time on my horse. I just recently picked up riding him again mid-November and we’ve been focusing on mostly dressage work (I’m one of those weird eventers who actually loves dressage), we’ve had a small setback as of late with some cracking hooves (booo), but I can’t wait to get him going and start jumping him again!

6) Where are you going together? If it all goes as planned: The Colorado Horse Park CCI* event is our goal. And I want to achieve this within the next five years (if I didn’t have work, school, and a very limited lesson/show budget I could do it in two… but, yeah, gotta give breathing room). Cash is more than capable of competing at (and even winning) that level. I can’t wait. 

7) How do you finance the addiction? Blood, Sweat, and Tears. ….. Ok, not really. But it is a lot of work and I often clean stalls or do other various barn chores to cut down on my boarding costs (which, no thanks to this drought we’ve been in, have gone through the roof, ugh), I will also teach lessons and do training here and there. It pretty much comes down to being able to budget, budget, and budget some more. Knowing where my money is going each month, even each week, allows me to keep my head above water and even have some extra spending money here and there.

8) You balance a combination of kids, work, and school while maintaining an adult relationship. What top three things help you stay focused? The first and foremost is honestly my faith, knowing that God has a plan for my life and will always provide for my family and I absolutely keeps me from going insane from all that I have on my plate (and trust me, it’s a big plate!!). Next would be a positive attitude, when you tackle any problem with an “I can do it!” attitude it makes all the difference. Third would be being able to find some down time. Now this isn’t necessarily “me” time, it could be hanging out with the family and watching a movie together, but the important thing is that it’s time when I don’t (and won’t) think about the nasty customer at work, the exam I have next week, or the dirty dishes in the kitchen.

9) How often do you ride? Not as often as I’d like. I aim for four times a week, if I can get more, even if it’s only ten minutes of walking, then awesome! Often, with the baby, it can be hard to get a solid uninterrupted period of time to work with the horses, so I take whatever I can get.

10) What’s the single biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals? Determination. Without a doubt. It’s the ability to soldier on no matter how hard or how long it may be taking to achieve that goal. (Having a husband who is encouraging and supportive is a big help as well!)

11) 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? Be ready to compromise. Be ready to abbreviate. As adults we obviously have adult responsibilities, like making dinner for the family, running kids to soccer practice, picking up a couple extra hours at work, keeping the hubby happy ;) … Sometimes the two hours you thought you had to spend at the barn turns into only half an hour. But just because you don’t have the time you thought, don’t pass on the barn altogether, get out there, see your horse, take him on a quick walk, groom him, whatever. He’ll be happy to see you, and you’ll feel better for it, because you at least accomplished something, even if it wasn’t what you had intended to do.

12) Bottom line: I thought about this answer all day, and decided to fall back on a recent quote that I read on Eventing Nation: “Plans are always made in pencil but writing down your goals makes your dreams achievable” – Sinead Halpin. The bottom line is even as an adult amateur don’t be afraid to dream big, make those goals and work towards them and don’t give up, no matter how many speed bumps you may hit along the way. And most importantly: Have fun doing it!!!

Many thanks to Emily for taking time out of her busy schedule to share! She's a fun blogger and I have nothing but respect for mothers getting it done (and aiming past Prelim, eek!). 


  1. Great interview! Even though I don't own a horse currently, I can definitely relate to a lot of what Emily said. Balancing an all-encompassing hobby with adult responsibilities is tough, man. Setting goals really does help to keep focus and enthusiasm alive, though. I predict great things in the future for Emily and Cash!

    P.S. I'm totally lusting after Cash after seeing his photos. DAT NECK!

  2. This was GREAT! I love all the advice!!!! Emily is awesome and God is good, he really is what makes doing all this possible. Our families and horses are such blessings!

  3. Love the interview, the series, and Emily's thoughts. I feel like a chicken with my head cut off half of the time and can totally relate, but it is worth it!!

  4. Yay a new blog to follow!

    Loved this!

  5. Well now you have added a blog to my reading list :)

  6. This was awesome. Im gonna go follow her now.

  7. Wow! Love her goal - reach for the moon!

  8. Thanks for spotlighting this blog, a new one to follow :)

  9. Thanks for the wonderful comments everybody!! I see I'm not the only one to think Cash is sexy ;)

    It was a lot of fun and in a way, eye opening to write this up. Thank you for the opportunity!

  10. Another great entry! Thanks for doing this series, I'm excited to read about Emily and Cash on their blog, he sounds like such a nice guy.

  11. I think Cash is sexy too!! This is another blog I found earlier today that I now MUST check out hehehe!


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