College Life

A Summer in the Saddle | A Little Bit of Everything Post

I can’t believe my first year as an animal science major and second year at UGA is already over! This past school year brought with it a lot of really cool experiences and taught me a lot both academically and personally. I got the opportunity to get down and dirty with some awesome animals at UGA’s teaching dairy, beef and sheep unit, and swine unit during my practicum class, attended a Temple Grandin seminar, started a new job at a small animal clinic, joined an absolutely amazing new barn family, and met some really great people along the way!

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Despite all of all of the great things that came with this past school year, it definitely wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I have to say, life definitely didn’t take it easy on me – especially this semester. A series of family health emergencies caused me to miss quite a few weeks of classes and left me struggling both emotionally and academically. My grades also took a hit as I struggled with my anxiety and depression throughout it all. However, with a lot of hard work, late nights, coffee, and, of course, some pony therapy, I was able to salvage my grades and make it onto the dean’s list with five As and one B!

Enough about school though – IT’S SUMMERTIME!  That means there will be a lot of pony-filled days in my future. To say I am excited would be a little bit of an understatement!

In preparation for me moving back home for the summer, we moved Diablo to Southern Sky Farm to live with his little brother, Dies. He settled right in like a champ and has been as happy as a lark. I’m so happy to have my two boys back together in one place again as now I can ride both of them more often!

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D trailering to his new summer home!
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D’s first ride at Southern Sky!
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D’s first ride at Southern Sky included a field ride!

As usual, my trainer has been doing an absolutely amazing job with Dies while I have been away. I got a chance to watch her jump him around a couple of days ago, and oh my gosh guys, he was amazing! He has gained so much confidence over fences that he was able to jump some larger jumps without even blinking an eye! That definitely wouldn’t have been possible a few months ago. There are definitely still a lot of things we need to work on, but for his first time jumping jumps this high, he was a rockstar!

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Diesel jumping 2’9ish!
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Diesel jumping 2’3ish!

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I have been able to flat him around twice since I have been back home, but sadly I didn’t get any video or pictures. However, I will be having my first lesson on him in two months tomorrow and I am hoping to get some pictures then!

I can’t wait to start lessoning regularly and get back to riding how I used to before college. As of right now, my goal is to do our first show together on June 9th! I hope that we can make that happen as I am really eager to get back to showing after a two-year hiatus! Fingers crossed!

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College Life

10 Things That Happen When You’re A College Equestrian

Continuing to ride in college can be quite the challenge and not for the faint of heart. As we all know, horses have a way of consuming all of your time. But wait, doesn’t college do that too? Here is a list of 8 things that happen when you’re a college equestrian:

1. Coffee is the only reason you can still function. Let’s just face it, you could probably own Starbucks by now with the amount of money you have spent on coffee just in this past month. Between early morning rides, classes, long afternoons at the farm lessoning and feeding, and late night study sessions, you’ve probably just decided to live by the phrase “sleep is for the weak” and go ahead and chug that second coffee.

2. You make your own fashion statements. With your schedule filled to the brim, riding before class is often a necessity, and it isn’t always feasible to be able to shower and change before you have to make it to that early lecture. Rather than try and hide that slobber stained shirt or messy barn hair, you have decided to just embrace it instead. Surely nobody will care that you have hay in your hair, right?

3. Your closet is half breeches and sunshirts and half t-shirts and jeans. So much for variety! If you’re not wearing your riding clothes to class, you’ll most likely be caught wearing your favorite t-shirt and a pair of old jeans. It’s a good thing that most of your breeches can double as everyday wear because after all, who can afford nice, new clothes when you have a horse?

4. The barn becomes your classroom. Rather than just skipping out on pony time, you lug your heavy backpack out to the barn and start typing away at that essay while perched on the top of your tack trunk or the nearest bale of hay. By the time you are done with college, your horse should be able to graduate from college with you as many times as you’ve used him as a study buddy.

5. Your planner looks like a murder scene straight out of CSI: Miami. Horses take up a lot of time, so in order to continue riding in college, you’ve had to master the skill of time management. Your planner is overflowing with sticky notes, written messages, highlighter marks, and those alert stickers. Between juggling barn time, classes, work, big due dates, and a plethora of exams, it’s hard to believe that you can even make the time to breathe.

6. You never have money to go out with friends because you spend it all on your horse. At this point, it’s safe to say that your horse has a better wardrobe and eats better than you do. Plus, you’re pretty sure the only thing in your wallet right now is hay and those free peppermints you snag at every restaurant.

7. The dining hall is your new favorite treat destination. Since college and horses are bleeding your bank account dry, the dining hall has become your one-stop shop for horse treats. Why pay for an overpriced bag of treats when you can just snag a few apples and peppermints on your way out?

8. None of your college friends ever ask you for a ride. Since you are always on the move with no time to waste, your car becomes your mobile tack trunk and closet. With all of the saddles, bridles, treat bags, and saddle pads residing in your car, it’s surprising that you are even able to fit in there much less another person. The passenger seat? Yeah, it’s for my saddle. Oh, the back seat? Sorry, that’s where all of my saddle pads and horse blankets reside. Maybe you can fit in the trunk next to the bale of hay?

9. Friday night out on the town? More like Friday night in my bed. Unlike many of your college friends, you have to be at the show grounds at 5 am. Who has time for partying when you have a horse show to go to? The answer is: not you!

10. You wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite all of the hardships that come with continuing to ride in college, at the end of the day, it is completely worth it when you get to the barn and see your horse’s dopey face after a hard day or classes or that killer exam. Ponies can make anything better!

 

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College Life

Spring (?) Semester is Here!

Wake up in the morning feelin’ a little chilly. Grab my bookbag, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city… Actually, nevermind. It’s too darn cold.

I’m not going to lie – I was not so thrilled about trekking to class all the way across campus in freezing temperatures. I was even less thrilled when I stepped outside and realized that not only was it cold but WINDY! Walking to my first class of the day felt like I was embarking on a trek across Antartica. I know what you northerners are thinking, and yes, as a southerner, I can conclude that I am in fact a wimp when it comes to cold weather. My animals can attest to that. Just check out the picture below! 😬 They all love their warm blankies on cold winter days like this!

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Despite the subzero temps (ok, mid-thirties), the first day of spring semester gives me hope that this will be a great semester for me. After changing my major from neuroscience to animal science at the end of last semester, it was refreshing to sign up for classes that I actually wanted to take! I felt right at home in my first animal science class at UGA.

I decided at the end of last semester to stop doubting myself and pursue my dream of being a veterinarian. I decided to ignore all of the discouraging statistics surrounding vet school acceptances and follow my dream, which has been one of the best decisions I have made so far in my college career. If you are doubting your choice in major, take the leap and follow your heart!

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After attending all of my classes for the day and surviving the brutal cold, I came back to my apartment to lay out my planner using the syllabus from each class to mark important dates, plan out which days I will ride and go to the gym, and organize my work schedule. Life just isn’t complete without my cute Lily Pulitzer planner! I feel so lost without it. Now it’s time to crack down and get to studying!

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Happy studying everyone!

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College Life

A New Beginning

College is so many things. It’s a whirlwind of stress, changes, successes, failures, and new adventures. It has definitely been the source of change in my life.

You see, ever since my horse and I packed our bags and left for college, my life as a competitor in the horse show world has come to a sudden halt. My life has been so consumed by hectic due dates and mountains of homework that my days of spending hours at the farm as a barn rat have come to an end.

Now, my days consist of trying to get to classes on time, juggling countless hours of studying and homework, and caring for my semi-retired horse, D. I no longer get to spend my days schooling horses at the farm or competing at horse shows on the weekend. That part of my life has been put on hold.

I can’t tell you how much I miss waking up to the smell of sweet feed and freshly cleaned tack on frosty winter show mornings, the sound of hoof beats in the air as competitors warm up their horses in the arenas before classes begin, the adrenaline as the buzzer sounds, signaling the start of the timer in the jumper ring, or the sound of horses peacefully nibbling on hay and competitors laughing in the evenings after a long day of horse showing. Those are the things that I miss the most.

Despite having to take a step back from that part of my life, I have come to college eager to learn with a work ethic bettered by the lessons taught to me by the horse world. After all, as riders, we are taught that in order to be successful, you must give it your all. It doesn’t matter if that applies to spending countless hours schooling your horse to win that class or hitting the books in the library to get that A – hard work pays off.

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me!

This is just the beginning.

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