Every day my husband reminds me that we are not poor, we are broke.
There is a difference. I am lucky enough to have a horse and to get to show, I might just have to eat frozen fish sticks for dinner each night for a week or two to make the budget work. We are strict Dave Ramsey followers at our house, otherwise our finances would be all over the place. Thankfully, with a bit of creative planning in both the budget and in the scheduling of my daily life, I am able to make this whole Adult Amateur thing work…for the most part!
4:30AM Alarm goes off
Time to get up and get ready to report to my big girl job, which is almost an hour commute east of my home. Drag myself out of bed, put my chin length hair into a pathetic half bun because I fell asleep on it wet again and it’s created its own personality overnight, and dash out the door. Make it down the drive and two minutes down the road realize I forgot my half chaps. Grumble. Sigh. Turn around to retrieve them.
6:00AM Make it to work
Say a bad word as my key won’t open the front door because it is a whopping 13 degrees in Missouri and the lock has ice in it. Do some awesome karate type moves with the key and get the door to open. Yawn and remind myself that I agreed to come in early twice a week so I could have more pony time. And I LOVE pony time.
6:15AM Sit down at my computer
Start to type my login information only to realize that my docking station is empty and I LEFT MY DARN LAPTOP AT HOME. Call husband repeatedly until he wakes up and beg him to rush said laptop to work pretty-pretty-pretty please and make a mental note to bake him cookies in my free time. Laugh like a maniac in my office because what is this mysterious thing called free time? Work in another coworker’s office until husband brings my laptop.
12:00AM LUNCH! The best part of the day
Only I don’t get to enjoy lunch because I have to go pick up four bags of dog food and run to the post office to ship off some breeches I sold online. Also I have employees participating in a training I am leading at work at 12:30. Grab some McDonalds and log it in my EveryDollar app and say another bad word when I realize we are down to like $10 left in the “eating out” budget and I spent the majority of it this month while traveling back and forth to the barn. Resolve to bake husband two batches of cookies in my imaginary free time.
3:00PM Thank God my day is over
Run into the bathroom, switch out of my uniform and into my breeches, stop as my co-workers make fun of me and ask if the silicone full seat breeches I am wearing make it difficult to walk. Play along with their jokes as I desperately glance at the clock because I REALLY WANT TO LEAVE. Run to my truck (but not really because my co-workers were kind of right, the silicone on my breeches do tend to get stuck together sometimes…). Begin the hour commute north to the barn. Listen to my stomach complain that it is hungry again and brace myself for not being able to eat until I get home because I refuse to blow the darn fast food budget.
4:15PM Arrive at the barn
There is a Pony Pals Christmas Party going on and Barn Owner begs me to help, which I do because when I help out I get discounts on my lessons. Teach kids how to play “Sit-a-Buck” and thank God silently in my head for perfect lesson ponies.
5:15PM Kids leave, time to ride
Horse is covered in mud. Fantastic. Take twice the amount of time it normally takes to groom him, tack up, decide I am too exhausted to lunge him and just get on. Bad. Idea. Stupid. Horse is feeling the winter chill and we trot for around 45 minutes before it is safe to pursue a canter. Canter around like a sack of potatoes as my horse glares at me in the corners and have to call it a day.
6:15PM Drive an hour south back home
Call husband and ask what we have we can make for dinner. He tells me he ate all of the leftovers so I get to choose between toaster waffles and fish sticks. Fish sticks it is.
7:30PM Pull into town
Fill up truck with gas and log it into our budget and try not to wince as I watch the gas money slowly dwindle away. All this commuting is a nightmare. Make it home. Inhale fish sticks. Grab laptop and start editing articles that I will submit to the various equine media groups I write for as a form of extra money for my horse expenses.
9:00PM Husband wakes me up
I fell asleep while writing. Blink a thousand times until everything comes into focus. Realize that during my slumber, the evil household cat had jumped on the couch to lay in my lap and instead laid on my keyboard adding millions of commas, equal signs, and every letter in the alphabet on the piece I was working on. Drag myself into the bathroom because even though I am exhausted, I also smell like the barn in the winter and need a shower.
9:30PM Lay in bed
(With wet hair again so tomorrow’s hairstyle will also be haphazard.) Snuggle up with husband who doesn’t complain that I was gone for the most of the day. Fight with two dogs and cat about what spot of this queen size bed is mine. Fall asleep to reruns of Grey’s Anatomy and dream about having the winning round in a Grand Prix.
It’s not easy balancing a new marriage, a career, and big equine dreams. But we manage to make it work. I bust my butt now while I am young to make my dreams a reality and I am ever-so-thankful for a husband who supports this crazy lifestyle.
Not many realize the struggle we go through as Adult Amateurs—often spending time beside the show ring studying for finals, doing odd jobs after work hours, and tightening down the budget like a girth on a puff-out pony. It’s a beautiful life, despite the many struggles. Because at the end of the day we are still able to do what we love and that is what makes it worth it.
About the Author
Meagan DeLisle is a young adult amateur returning to the saddle after an unexpected two-year hiatus. Combining both her passion for horses and her love of words, Meagan often writes about the comedy that ensues while working with her green OTTB Joey and training her horse-show husband.