At the moment I am self employed. This is always what I wanted and over the years I have built up a big enough client base to enable me to do this.
Describe a typical day?
An average day begins around 8.30am, I feed the horses first thing and then muck out and aim to be riding by ten (although on show days I would start earlier and in the summer when I am eventing I could be on the road with the horses in the early hours of the morning as early as 3 or 4 am).
I aim to be finished riding around 4pm (although this rarely happens) which would give enough time to finish the yards and feed the horses to be finished by 5.30 or 6pm.
I would also usually teach one or two evening's in the week which would mean I would work till 9 or 10pm on those evenings. Monday is usually my day off although this has to be flexible.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
My main task is riding and training the horses that I have in preparation for competition or for sale. Although I have a multitude of other responsibilities including the daily well being and care of the animals, teaching, yard work, direction of other staff and many other miscellaneous duties.
What are the main challenges?
Training and riding horses is extremely time consuming and it is the clock that I guess I feel the most pressure from. Particularly in the winter when the weather and the dark evenings make the days very short. Horses don't wear watches and there is no substitute for time and patience when training them. Trying to allocate time equally to all the horses I have to ride can be difficult.
From a very young age I loved animals and guess that being able to have a career working with them was always a dream. In a modern "cyber" world I feel really lucky to be able to spend time outdoors and lead a healthier lifestyle. Also I get to do a lot of traveling with the horses which is great.
What's not so cool?
There is a lot of very menial physical work that I don't enjoy but can' t be gotten away from i.e. mucking out, sweeping, care of pasture and riding surfaces etc.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
Obviously my riding skills are the most important for me and although I guess natural ability in that area is important, I think it is equally important to be hard working, dedicated and to push yourself and never be happy with nearly enough!.
A lot of people when riding and training horses put far too much focus on the horse and what it does right and wrong - I try, when I'm riding, to remember to put as much focus on me and what I'm doing right and wrong.