I was 10 years old the first time that I heard it.
My dad and I were driving home from a horse show and I gleefully announced that I wanted to train horses “when I grow up.” I heard it again from my favorite high school teacher after I explained to her, at 17 years old, that I planned to ask my parents to let me take a gap year before college to become a working student. Two years ago when I decided to get my instructor certification, my husband said it once more.
“Horses are great, but you need to get a real job.”
The sentiment has been expressed to me over and over throughout the course of my riding career, and this stinging reminder that my support system didn’t understand nor support my career choice lingered in the back of my mind for years. It was hurtful. It was disappointing. It was isolating.
But it didn’t stop me.