A Balancing Act
Being a university student and a rider is definitely a balancing act. There have been a few discussions on twitter recently about how equestrians manage school and riding, and it got me thinking about how I manage the two.
As with many hunter and equitation riders, I’m a perfectionist, which carries over into my school work. This semester my goal is to focus on doing well, but not sweating the small stuff. I don’t need to get straight As right now. Yes, it would be nice, but I just have to maintain a moderate GPA to stay in my program and graduate. I’d rather take a bigger course load and do okay, then take a smaller one and do amazingly.
With that being said, I don’t take a full course load right now. I’m one course shy of a full load, which I do online during the summer. I also take 1-2 online credits a semester as well, which enables me to be more flexible in when I get course work done. The library is slowly becoming my favourite place to be, as I’m actually more productive there! I’ve found that I’m more willing to go and do work if I have a study buddy – thanks Taylor!
I keep Ophelia at home, so I’ve structured my school schedule to be able to come home every weekend. It means I only get to ride her 3 times a week, instead of 5 or 6, but that’s okay. This year I’m going back to basics with my riding, and filling in some holes. I don’t have any plans to show through the winter or spring, so I can just enjoy riding right now, which is actually super nice!
My rides now need to be about quality, not quantity. In the summer, one of my rides would usually be a walking hack around the property and the track through the woods. Fun, but not so productive! Creating a riding plan for every week has helped me stay focused on my goals. Right now I’m working on gymnastics, so every ride involves pole work. I also integrate no-stirrups into every ride now. My leg actually feels stronger than it did a few months ago, even though I haven’t ridden as much!
Even though I’m riding less, I still try to take a day every few weeks to just have a relaxing ride with no real purpose. I had an amazing lesson Saturday this past week, so Sunday we just did 20 minutes of easy ring work at the walk, trot and canter, mostly stretching down into contact, and then I went for a 45 minute hack around the property. By the end of the ride, Phee and I were both relaxed and sighing contentedly!
Riding in college isn’t easy by any means, but you can make it work. Whether it means only riding on holidays, joining your school’s riding team or club, or bringing your horse to school with you! It’s taken me 3 years to find the perfect balance between school and riding, but it works for me. I’d love to hear from some of you how you balance school and riding, and how you decide what your priorities are!
Tagged: college, college life, equestrian, personal, riding, student