What it means to be an Amateur Dressage Rider

In this day in age in our wonderful world of our beloved sport of dressage, we are fortunate enough to see the beginnings of the recognition of an Amateur Owner Rider division. The beginning of a new competitive edge with our fellow ambitious equestrians who look up to our fellow professional riders within the game.

But firstly, what really is an amateur?

Well, when we type it into our search engine the first hit we discover the meaning defined as a person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis’ my second hit reads ‘a person who is incompetent or inept at a particular activity.’

Personally, I feel as though both definitions sell us short. Because we don’t train and ride full time doesn’t mean we are not passionate about our sport. It doesn’t mean we treat this sport as a hobby that we can just pick up and leave at any time. It is full time around the clock, looking after our beautiful animals that we always put first.

I like to call it a lifestyle choice instead of a hobby for this very reason.

Amateur Dressage rider

What does it really mean to be an amateur owner rider?
  • 5am starts to feed your horse/s, if you’re lucky to not hit snooze on your alarm 5 times and head out to the stables on time to actually have a ride before you have your first coffee and your real work day begins.
  • If by some off chance (or maybe 3 during the week) to hit that snooze button to only have time to go out and feed your horse before going to work. It really sets you in a crappy mood for the work day! Look out co-workers…. Keep the coffee coming.
  • To arrive at work looking like you have been partying all night to have bits of feed in your hair, to mix it up from that helmet hair you rocked the day before.
  • To arrive at work after having a horrible ride to be grouchy at everyone for the rest of the day.
  • Pretending to be busy at work while scrolling through your daily search on Nominate for the upcoming competitions.
  • Talking to your non-equestrian co-workers smiling and agreeing with their boring conversations to only be thinking about your ride that morning, what sale is on at the moment for the latest gear or if the weather is changing and if you put the right rugs on when you left them this morning.
  • Prioritising your wages for lessons and competitions. If you’re lucky perhaps After Pay that new bridle you have been eyeing off.  Then to pay the bills.
  • Getting home late after tucking your horses into bed with multiple carrots after telling them how perfect they are.
  • Arriving home after spending time at the horses just in time to miss out on cooking dinner. (or is that just me!? Conveniently have to have a shower when it’s washing up time too?!?)
  • Spending quality time with your partner watching TV after a day at work to only be focused on visualising  your dressage tests for that weekend or to mentally plan out our competition schedule for the month.
    • Take my advice, only pick your phone up twice during the TV show, otherwise they will eventually realise your mind is elsewhere! Cover blown.
  • Instead of counting sheep to fall asleep you visualise riding down that centreline and tracking left perfectly like in the 2A.

I think it is fantastic that the dressage organisers are rewarding us fellow amateur riders with our own division. Us, what some would call crazy– people who live and breathe the sport who go to this ‘other place’ for the majority of the day to pay for our passion. We live and breathe the sport much like our fellow professional riders. Who we are incredibly fortunate to be inspired day in and day out by their work ethic.

But let’s face it, this is our lifestyle. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *