Being an equine professional was always my dream, but as I grew older and had to face the reality of making enough money to eat and live, I had to make some tough choices about what I was going to do. I choose not to support myself solely by profit off horses, boarding and training, because it allows me to be able to make more ethical choices.
When you are living off ramen and working 14 hour days, how easy will it be for you to tell the person trying your sale horse that the horse might be a bit too much for them? Will you be able to tell owners that their horse still isn't ready to compete or move up a level even though you've been working with it for X months (or years)? Will you be able to resist throwing that horse that's just a little too skinny an extra flake of alfalfa even though the owner doesn't want to pay for it? There's very very little money in this business and you will have to ruthlessly nickel and dime your clients in order to be successful. You will need to have the business sense and fortitude to fire bad clients (which includes horses that may be too difficult or destructive, even though they have nice owners). Horses get hurt, colic, die, behave badly, etc. You will have to be able to deal with these situations as well as be strong enough to counsel other people through them. You will always be working, the work will never be done, and you will have to be "on" when other people are off work (after 5pm, all day on weekends, etc). If you live on site, you will never be able to take a sick day, or even veg out at home while clients are on site without them thinking you are lazy/rude/etc. This is just the tip of the iceberg....I have a BA in English and an MBA. I have a small boarding farm w/ 10 horses. My husband and I do all the work on the farm and and also both work a 9-5 jobs. Even though we both end up working 12-14 hr days I thank god for my office job every day. It allows me to have enough money to feed my horses well, continue to improve my farm, compete, take lessons, and even take the occasional vacation!
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Adventures eventing as a semi-pro in the mid-south.