May 3, 2012

Big News

First of all, happy sixth birthday to Connor!  We'll celebrate with a nice lesson in the summerlike heat that's hanging over us today, I'm sure he'll be thrilled.

And now, for the big news I promised a month ago.

My husband lost his job.  As you can imagine, my showing and clinicing plans are on an indefinite hiatus until he is employed again, partially for financial reasons and partially because we may have to move.   We’re young twentysomethings with no kids and a very significant amount of student loan debt (if you’re reading this and in college, JUST SAY NO to student loans!), and since we're not tied down and he's an engineer, we’re going to go where the engineering jobs are, which means there’s a chance I could be living many states away from here within six months.

That said, we’ve discussed it and decided that we’re going to do what we can to stay here, and the barn is about 75% of the reason for that.  It would be difficult and heartbreaking to leave my gym, my job and our little house, but I could do it and find a suitable replacement for all three.  But my trainer?  This barn?  Absolutely irreplaceable.  People spend their entire lives searching for a trainer they click so well with, whose expertise they can translate into terms students can readily understand.  I’ve made more riding progress in the past 18 months than I did in the previous six years combined.  Not to mention how much I love and appreciate this gorgeous little drama-free barn with excellent horse management and facility upkeep.  If I have to leave because it's the best thing for my family, then I will, but I certainly won't be leaving voluntarily.

So, I’ve went through the whole shock/denial/anger/acceptance cycle with the job loss, which included a couple of hours of sobbing about how foolish it was to take on a horse as a twentysomething and wondering whether I needed to immediately start making plans to get rid of him.  Cooler heads eventually prevailed, and while I do have a standing offer for him to go back to his breeder if necessary (which I am so thankful for – it takes a lot off of my mind when I start thinking about the worst case scenario), I don’t think that will have to happen.  Showing, riding in clinics, replacing tack, or spending anything “extra” on Connor or myself is put on hold, but if everything goes according to plan, I won’t have to give him up entirely.  This whole thing is so mentally stressful, it means so much to me to be able to go ride him and forget about it all for an hour at a time - it's good that I have him.

Lesson tonight, which I am very much looking forward to given the recent progress we’ve made.  Stay tuned!


  1. Happy big boy birthday to Connor!

    You & husband have youth on your side in the job market - hoping a great opportunity, in your area, opens up for him.

    If you would talk to my youngest about students loans - I would forever be in your debt...talks from mom & dad do not seem to be getting thru. She is my 'horse girl' - currently in a working student position at a dressage training barn but wants a business degree. Smart thinking, but trying to convince her to work a few years instead of loans.

  2. What kind of engineering degree does your husband have? My husband and I are both engineers at a big aerospace company. Good luck finding a job in your area. A good barn really is priceless! Personally, I am thankful for student loans because they got me a great degree and a wonderful job. Still paying them off, but I wouldn't be where I am without them!

  3. Kelly and Heidi, you are both right in different ways. I should clarify my position on loans: they're worth it for a degree that will be financially worth it, like my husband's, but should be avoided for degrees that won't pay it back. Girls I went to school with graduated with an Equine Studies degree and $120,000 of debt - some of them are making $60,000/year as feed reps/nutrition specialists, but not all of them.

    My husband also wishes that someone would have told him that paying $10k/year more for the "really good school" would still leave him competing with equally successful candidates with $40k less debt and degrees from the "good school". It's so hard to make rational financial decisions as a high school senior, and now we are essentially paying the equivalent of two mortgages as a result. But without his degree, he doesn't have the job, but he has to have the job in order to pay off the degree.

    Heidi, his undergraduate is in Computer Engineering and he has a Masters in Rhetoric and Composition with an emphasis in technical writing, and has worked on engine diagnostic software. He likes to bill himself as an engineer with linguistic skills, and is a good go-between between the hardcore engineering types and the management types. Any openings for someone like that where you are?

  4. Happy bday to Connor! Sorry to hear about your other news though - that is really tough. It sounds like your hubby is really employable and I hope he can find something in your current area so you don't have to move!

  5. Happy Birtday, 6 seems to be a magic number for Cobs.

    Stay positive and use this time to continue to build a lasting relationship with Connor. Then when you are able, you will take the show world on. I know how finances can make us question our choices, but things happen for a reason. You were meant to get Connor and meant to navigate the economical perils of life.
    Good luck with the job hunt.