Diary of the Oldest Working Student in History, Part 4: Is It a Crisis?

Ever fantasized about dropping everything to focus on your riding? Area V eventer and Tales from a Bad Eventer blogger Laura Szeremi’s dream was to go be a working student for a big-name rider –– just one (OK, more than one) problem: her job, her husband, her farm, her can’t-even-keep-count-of-how-many herd of horses… and, well, Laura is a bit older than your typical starry-eyed working student candidate.

In light of all that grown-up “baggage,” what she chose to do next — load up the trailer and move from Texas to Florida to be a working student for Jon Holling — makes her the hero of every adult-amateur event rider’s wildest dream. And just when you thought the upheaval couldn’t get any more real… here’s Part 4. 

Just tuning in? Check out  Part 1: #YOLO, Part 2: Newbie Lessons and Part 3: Animal Crackers and Drip Drying. All photos courtesy of Laura Szeremi. 

Crisis

1. a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life

2. the point in the course of a serious disease at which a decisive change occurs, leading either to recovery or to death

When I was 11 or 12 years old I remember telling my riding instructor that I wanted what she had. She had her own stable, horses, arena, cross country course… it was my dream. I thought I wanted to be Just. Like. Her.

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She looked down at me and without pausing a moment said, “No you don’t. What you want is a nice job where you can board your horse at a place like this and all you have to do is come ride her after work.”

Thirty years later, I understand.

I followed my “dream,” started my own stable at the ripe age of 18 and I’ve been running a stable full-time (along with my “other” full-time jobs) for 24 years.

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I’ve got the farm…

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the arena…

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cross-country jumps…

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And in the past 24 years I’ve spent infinitely more time mending fences, thawing hoses and feeding horses than I ever have riding.

Old wooden broken fence and green grass

All I’ve ever really wanted to do is ride. Stable ownership definitely didn’t make room for riding. At least it didn’t for me.

Now that I’ve spent a few months in the land of good footing and plentiful tack shops I can’t possibly imagine going back to all work and no play. If only I could tell my 12-year-old-self how right that advice was.

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With great excitement I’ve decided to sell all of it. I’m going to live in my horse trailer, board my event horses at fabulous facilities (where I don’t have to mend fences) and follow my life-long dream of riding. JUST riding.

I have never been more excited about anything.

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Yet I keep getting messages like, “I’m so sorry you’re selling your farm.”

“Are you having a midlife crisis?”

“Have you been diagnosed with something terrible?”

“We’re really sorry to hear you’re selling your equipment.”

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I suspect all of the so-sad messages are from people who still believe what my 12-year-old self believed. They think the house and the farm is “the dream”.

It isn’t. It never was. And I have never been so excited and happy to turn loose of it.

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Is it a crisis?

Definitely not.

Anyone looking for a perfect 60-acre farm? I happen to have one for sale.

Stay tuned as we continue sharing Laura’s “Diary of the Oldest Working Student in History” adventures (and misadventures). Thank you so much for sharing, Laura, and for reminding us to Go Eventing, no matter what the odds.

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