What They Don’t Tell You About Going Away to School

Editor’s note: We announced the 13 finalists in the 6th annual EN Blogger Contest last week, and now we’re bringing you their first round entries here on Bloggers Row. Each entry will be presented unedited for fairness’ sake. Thanks as always for reading, and please leave feedback in the comments section.

One degree later & I am happily back in the saddle full time! Photo by Cheryl  Denault Photography.

One degree later & I am happily back in the saddle full time! Photo by Cheryl Denault Photography.

Round 1 Entry: What They Don’t Tell You about Going Away To School: The Eventer’s Addition

Applying to university/college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. You hear about the friends you will make, the life skills you will gain and the exam all-nighters you will pull.  However, when you are a competitive equestrian the decision to go away for school becomes even harder. You are torn between giving 100% to your riding or taking a break to focus on education. While I knew that finally making the decision to leave would leave a hole in my heart there are many things that I wish someone had told me the day I packed my life up and kissed the ponies goodbye for this small chapter in my life.

Not everyone in this new community is accustomed to the horse life

After spending the summer with your “pony pals” at the barn it is hard to adjust to a new group of people who want nothing to do with horses. Seriously?! You have to shower everyday…and you can’t wear Dubarry’s to the bar?! But don’t worry- your pony pals are just a call away. They will fill you in about everything that is going on at the barn…OMG I can’t believe that one girl got ANOTHER pair of Tailored Sportsmans!

You may have stopped riding, but your friends haven’t

You always knew they would continue riding while you took a break. But darn it is hard to realize that while you are sitting in a classroom your pony pals will be headed to Florida or testing out the new XC jump in the back field. This also means that while they climb the levels you will remain the same. Don’t fear! While they are spending time with their butt in the saddle you now have free time to try new things and explore other interests. For example, finding time to go to the gym (you will be in great shape when you finally get back into cross country mode!!!)…Of course your other interests still involve riding somehow.

Sometimes pony pals aren’t forever

YOU made the decision to leave and YOU made the decision to take a break from riding. This doesn’t always sit well with everyone. Growing up is hard and sometimes you lose touch with this friends you thought you couldn’t ride without. This is alright! It makes you even more appreciative for those pals who have been with you every step of the way. If they love you as a fellow competitor they will love you as a spectator at their lessons over Christmas break.

Your equestrian dreams are just as relevant as everyone else’s

It may come as a shock to you when it appears that people think you have “given up” on the equestrian dream due to your time away at school. Don’t let this get you down! Education and riding do mix. Did you know that Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix graduated from the Business Administration Program at Durham College?! Talk about a superwoman!

You never thought you would miss the smell of the barn so much

We all know that smell. It is Thanksgiving break and you are finally home for the first time since going away! After you ride one of the naughty school ponies (because you sadly had to part with your own horse) you hang around in your barn smelling sweater for hours. It is definitely the best smell in the world. You start to realize the barn feels more like home than your actual home!

You can take a deep breath and be satisfied with the fact that you made the right decision…even though everyone might not agree with that decision. Don’t be afraid to get out there and explore all that life is has to offer you!!! The time away from the horses makes you truly appreciate the time you do get to spend with them. As a recent graduate I can tell you the heartache and tears are worth it. There was a barn full of horses and friends when I left and there was a barn full of horses and friends when I returned. I was born to event and be around horses. Being away for four years only confirmed that this is what I truly want to do.  I already have my 2017 plans fully mapped out!

Go education….but more importantly Go Eventing!