Friday, February 15, 2013

Ammy Hour: Meet Amy!!

Welcome to another round of the Ammy Hour series, where we spotlight some of the hardworking adult amateurs who make this whole 'horse thing' happen one day at a time, with real lives, real jobs, real problems, and real successes. This week I'm talking to Amy of Slow and Steady Wins the Race about how she rocks the awesome in her corner of the world. I've followed Amy's blog for a long time and she is an incredible woman. It is so fun to get a little deeper into how she makes her crazy life work.

1) You’re at dinner with your peers. How do you introduce yourself?
Hi my name is Amy, I am 32 years old, I am married to Ryan and we just celebrated our 11th anniversary.  I have 3 beautiful little girls ages 9, 7 and 6.  I love horses.


 















2) But what you really meant to say was this:

I am Amy, I am 32, I am married with 3 kids and for the next few hours I am going to try my best to pretend that your conversations over the latest Twilight movie, your love for shopping and book club don't make me want to die a slow and painful death.  I would much rather be out shoveling horse crap, moving hay bales, fixing fences or maintaining pastures than wait in line to watch a movie with some strange mid 30's women obsessed with pale faced teenage vampires.  (as you can see I don't fit in well with  my peers) 









3) Tell us about your horse:

To sum up a horse like Steady Smiler in a few short sentences is impossible.  He has been, done and seen more things in his 13 years than I have in my 32.  He is a thoroughbred and he raced until he was 10 years old with 75 starts and winning $322,980.  8 firsts, 9 seconds and 10 thirds.  Yes you read that right he raced for 8 years!  And more amazing he came off of the track sound.  

He became mine in April 2010 and for as much as his world changed that day from a life at the track to a family pet in my backyard, he changed my life even more.  He has an unforgettable presence about him and he has impacted peoples lives all over the continent.

4) How did you meet him/her?
I found him scouring dreamhorse.com.  I was specifically looking for a gelding off the track and he fit the bill.  I went and saw him and within minutes new he would be mine.












5) What have you done together?

We spent a year trotting, yes an entire year.  I had never taken a horse off the track before and this would be my first experience retraining and OTTB.  We took it very slow with the main goal of just enjoying the journey.  That first year served us both well I dropped 50 lbs and he was going through his off track changes. The end of 2010 we competed at our first schooling event at Starter.  

From that moment on I was hooked on Eventing.  2011 we started to train and compete more.  2012 was our eventing debut.  I did not consider myself an eventer until we competed in our first recognized horse trial.  We finished 3rd among solid competition in Beginner Novice division.  Together we have competed in many schooling shows and a couple recognized and have had good days and bad days.  Everything from championships, many blue ribbons to big E's on the show results.  More than anything he keeps me grounded, humble and makes me work for every success but in turn he gives me his whole heart and what more could a girl want from her horse?
6) Where are you going together?
I used to set limits on where we were headed together.  Or first limit was Beginner Novice, the second was Novice and now Training does not seem all that far off.  Prelim?  Who knows.   This year we will go Novice and after that we will see.  What I do know, that no matter how far Steady goes or doesn't go is that he WILL be treated with the love and respect that he deserves until the day he crosses that rainbow bridge.  To me it is not really about how far we go or what we accomplish than it is the journey we take and giving that horse the same amount of my heart that he has given to me.











7) How do you finance the addiction?

Ha!  Loaded quiestion right there.  I have been a stay at home mom for nearly 9 years.  Up until the last few months I have become a substitute teacher in the local schools.  So with one income, 3 kids, a morgatge on our farm, truck payment and  all of lifes other expenses finances have proven to be a challenge.  I have I mentioned that my husband who brings in that one income does NOT like horses and does NOT get the point in the expensiveness of it all.  

The ways I have helped provide is to cut costs anywhere I can.  I cook at home and from scratch, I garden and can and freeze most of my families food, I raise some of our meat, I have a milking goat, I breed and sell goats each year, I have had many small business ventures I have done everything from pony rides for parties, summer farm camps for kids, baking bread and making homemade pasta and selling it at the farmers market.  Yes I could have gone out and gotten a job but my family and raising my girls is my first priority so I found ways to make a little extra yet still be home for my family.  

I take lessons and ride clinics when the money is available and I try to video and write down information so that I can keep it fresh in my mind and keep working on those things until we 'get it'.  I read and watch as much as I can of training information.  I audit clinics when I can't afford to ride in them.  I volunteer when I can't afford to compete.  All of which I firmly believe have made me better and more educated on training, horses and my sport.  Anytime I do anything I give myself 100% to it and it does pay off.  We may meet our goals slower than others who have more resources but goals are something to work toward but my reward is in the process.

8) You balance a combination of kids, running a farm, and competing while maintaining an adult relationship. What top three things help you stay focused?

We can add in there that I work 2-3 days a week now too.  Never getting my priorities out of whack no matter how hard that may be.  I am a very driven and focused person which is a great trait but has it's down sides.  I want to do everything that I do 100% and that just can't always happen  because we are only capable of so much in life and many things are out of our control.  I have found that always keeping my priorities in line with my actions that most of the time things do work out.  

I love my horses but they are not my #1 priority my family is and that balance can feel like spinning 10 plates on sticks just waiting for one to come crashing down.  Which they WILL come crashing down at times.  I find that if I just go back and realign my priorities that everything can work but it takes patience and purpose.  It is not all just going to fall into place.  With a shit load of hard work, compromise and dedication and you CAN have it all!  A rewarding and happy relationship, beautiful, respectful and amazing children, a farm, training and competing and fulfilling my dreams.  That is my dream though you never see in the dream all the downright, hard, dirty and sometimes ugly work it will take.


9) How often do you ride?

Right now?  Like never.  I am a slave to the bipolar northern weather and I find I have to take a break for part of the year.  So normally December-February I don't ride much.  If Steady was capable of relaxed hacks when he is out of work then I would keep up with that a couple times each week.  But he cannot behave himself properly without work so my safest place is choosing to stay on the ground during this time.  If I had an indoor then it would be a different story but for now it is what it is.  But during the months of March-November I ride 3-5 days a week.












10) What’s the single biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals?

Persistence 

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? 
Do IT!  Follow your dream but don't do it half assed.  Make goals, keep focused but be realistic  Don't sacrifice the people you love to follow your dream, that is the easy way out.  Instead find a way, no matter how hard, to enjoy the journey with them.  I said it once and I'll say it again it is about the journey so make the best of it!







 12) Bottom line: I am just a woman with a super cool horse who both love to event!










Many thanks to Amy for participating. If you don't already follow her, hop on over to her blog here. I love that Amy works her butt off and is completely honest about it on her blog. Good and bad, she always tells it how it is. 

Like this series? Want to participate or know someone who should? Contact me through the comments or by email on the 'contact me' page of the blog. I love your comments and suggestions! It's always fun to meet new people.  

8 comments:

  1. Ahhhh! How inspiring! I am on the cusp of making major horsey decisions and need to hear more stories just like this to take the plunge! Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to be featured right here too:)

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  2. I am fortunate to have met Amy in person and see her at shows now and then. She is fun, geniune, and talented. Great interview once again!

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  3. Love Amy's blog! Great to learn more about her! :)

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  4. Number two made me crack up!!! I love Amy! Hers is one of my favorite blogs to read. :D And I LOVE all the pictures. I can't wait to have nice riding pictures of me and Chrome. :D

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  5. Wow! I am really impressed and especially enjoyed the list of farm-related business ventures. It must be fun for the kids to help raise goats and harvest food that goes on their table. I love that and wish I owned a farm so that I could do something similar.

    Steady is gorgeous!

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  6. I love Amys blog...great interview!

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