How to: combining your studies with riding

Competitive horseback riding is a sport that requires a lot of your time, money, work, management, and responsibility. The same can be said about studying in college/university. Combining the two often seems impossible, but what if we said it isn’t?

Julie de Pelsmaeker finished a Master’s degree but managed to maintain her work as a rider at the same time. She explained to us how she was able to combine the two successfully.

  1. Make sure to set realistic goals: It is important to set realistic goals for your studies, as well as your riding. Unrealistic goals will cause disappointment and a lack of motivation.
  2. Make a plan: ‘On Sunday, I used to make a plan for the coming week. Like that, my riding schedule was adapted to my class schedule and I tried not to deviate from it as much as I could.’
  3. Don’t plan important shows during your exams.
  4. Keep up with your schoolwork and try to make summaries. It may help you save time.
  5. Surround yourself with reliable people who you can count on. ‘This one will come in handy at school, but also at the stable. At school, fellow students can help you when you’re running behind schedule. At the stable, you obviously want your horses to be in good hands too. You want them to feel good and get all they need when you’re not able to be there.’
  6. Get an athlete certificate if you can. ‘Some colleges and universities offer athlete certificates which give athletes the facilities that they need to combine their sport with their studies.’
  7. Make sure to inform your teachers. It helps them take your situation into account.