Friday, April 10, 2015

Ammy Hour: Meet Austen!!

Austen from Guinness on Tap gracious agreed to take time out of her busy schedule and talk about how she makes the ammy life work for her. She may be a DQ but I love (LOVE) her horse and I find Austen very relate-able. I don't know about the rest of you, but meeting the hardworking ammies behind my favorite blogs is definitely a highlight of the horse blog world.

1) You’re at dinner with work colleagues. How do you introduce yourself?
Hey guys! So... we're working late again? Super fun. I'm the marketing girl from upstairs, you know, the one swearing loudly when her computer crashes and creating enough paper waste to fill up a small van on a daily basis. How's it going? By the way, I'm going to need Friday off for horse show prep...

this one time i rode pig. JK OBV.
2) But what you really meant to say was this:
The sun is finally out today?! I had no idea! I'm sorry, I'm going to have to go take advantage of this weather and ride. (Also, can we get a window in my office?)


3) Tell us about your horse and how you met him.
Logic Lane (Guinness, Guinea Pig, Pig, Piggles, Captain Pigmachine...) is a 17 year old Irish-bred Thoroughbred. He raced the mile on turf in England, then was shipped to California in his two year old year. He ended up falling through the racing ranks, and was picked up by a hunter/jumper in his 6 year old year. When he was 11, that girl placed him with her friend in Lexington to sell. I found his ad on Craigslist, added him to my list of potential horses, and the rest is history.

she's a brave woman
4) What do you do with your horse?
I bought Guinness to be my eventing partner as I got back into the lower levels of eventing. Unfortunately, he ended up developing some severe arthritis in his front fetlock joints. At that point we switched gears. Now, we attempt to do dressage. When that fails completely, we go galloping through hay fields with my two Siberian huskies.

5) Where are you going together?
Literally we are going to D.C. (no, seriously, we're moving in June!). But really, my overall goal is to get my USDF Bronze Medal on this horse. So far we are on track, and have just started schooling 3rd level.

6) What does success with horses look like for you?
With this horse, success is keeping him sound and keeping his brain together enough to get above a 60% in the dressage ring. Those two things can be pretty tough, so I feel really good when they work out.

7) What keeps you riding?
I thought I'd be devastated when I switched from eventing to dressage, but I've really fallen in love with the sport. The detail and level of communication in dressage has really gotten into my head. I love breaking down a good ride or lesson and figure out exactly what I did to help make it so good (or bad!). That whole training breakdown is a complete addiction for me. It keeps me headed to the barn even when the weather is unbearable and my time is precious.

8) How do you finance the addiction?
I work full time, do some little freelancing, and try to save as much as possible. It's not easy, especially since my husband is in medical school (Just finishing up! Here comes that sweet, sweet double paycheck!).

9) What does your support team look like?
If you're talking at horse shows, it's just me. But, I am thankful to have a lot of great friends willing to pour me a glass of wine and commiserate, a husband who will sometimes come take video or show up to a horse show, a trainer who is wonderful, and some fantastic barn friends willing to check up on my horse when I can't make it out.

model status
10) What are your horse keeping arrangements?
Guinness is boarded at a facility about 40 minutes from my house. He's on field board, but the facility is a great blend of full care/ field. They don't mind switching blankets out for me, and bring him in to eat his supplemental feed every day. I love that he is on 30 acres of pasture almost all year round.

11) How often do you ride?
I try to get out to the barn 4-5 days a week during show season. Many times, those days at the barn also include multiple rides on other horses. In the winter, I'm doing good to get 4 rides in a week. Right now, I'm taking two graduate classes in addition to working full time. Unfortunately, that means my riding gets cut when I have big research deadlines looming.

12) What does being an Ammy mean to you?
I don't see being an Adult Amateur rider as an excuse to not be as good as I can be, instead I see being an Adult Amateur as a way to become the best I can be. To me, horses are a way of life and work is my hobby. I'm going back to school to make work something I love (history and art and preservation work), and at the same time I am juggling a full time job and horse with a full training and showing schedule. Being an Adult Amateur means I think I can juggle all of these things and stay happy. Being an Adult Ammy doesn't mean I'm a winner, but it does mean I'm a rounded person, with something to offer in every facet of my life.  Of course, it also means I have to work 50x harder to keep up.

13) What’s the single biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals?
I'd have to say being a morning person. I'd be lost if I wasn't able to happily get out of bed by 5:30 a.m. to go for a run, do research, and get to work early. Getting a lot of things out of the way early in the day lets me spend the evening at the barn without falling behind on everything else.

14) 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?
Plan out your time efficiently. Make sure to figure out what your priorities are, and realize how devoting more time to those things can effect other areas of your life. Also realize that those priorities can change on a weekly, or even daily, basis.

Some weeks my whole schedule gets reworked so I can finish up a paper, some weeks my riding takes a back burner to my work schedule, and some weeks I have a show coming up and nothing can keep me from the barn. I have to sit down and really think about what's important to me and make my time decisions based on that.

15) Bottom Line:
Don't let the craziness overwhelm you. I wouldn't trade in my time with my horse, or this journey for anything.

Again, thanks to Austen for participating. To (try) and keep up with her and Guinness, head over to her blog. Want to be featured on Ammy Hour? Know someone who should be? Contact me and let's talk!


  1. I love Austen and Guinness. Such a beautiful pair!

  2. There is so much chestnut on this page. That makes me so happy. :)

  3. One of my favorite pairs! Having the pleasure to get to know these two a bit thru shows has been great - terribly sad they are moving to D.C.!

  4. One of my favorite pairs as well!

  5. What a great pair :) So cute!

  6. Handsome chestnut guy! These two are awesome :)

  7. Austen is such a great member of the blog community. Her comments are awesome!

  8. I love Austen! I tell Ries he needs to grow up to be Pig

  9. Austen is the best! She's my favorite dressage blogger :)

  10. Love this partnership! Austen is always so positive, she is such an inspiration & of course Guinness is Irish so gotta support the expats ☺☺☺

  11. Austen is awesome, and she brings so much positive energy!!

  12. Love following their journey!


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