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Augusta Lord
August 7, 2014
Making it Work: Balancing Dressage with School and a Job
By Augusta Lord
Thursday, August 7, 2014 :: Posted 09:56:37 AM UTC


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© Reflections Photography: Augusta Lord and Sovangs LimaAugusta Lord and Sovangs Lima. Photo by Reflections Photography.

It has been said that a college student wants three things: good grades, a good social life, and plenty of sleep. However, at any given point, only two of the three are within reach. In my case, I’ve chosen to throw two more things into the mix and try to balance them all simultaneously. Those two additional responsibilities are riding and working a part time job – as many of you know, riding doesn’t come without work.

I’d like to say, aside from sleep, I’ve been relatively successful in most of the aforementioned areas. I’m a college student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. My chosen major is Actuarial Science with a minor in Education. Actuarial science is a wonderful mix of statistics and multivariate calculus. Cringe away, but I assure you: it’s quite enjoyable. Tough for sure, but there is an incredible satisfaction I get from finishing a set of calculus problems (Strange, right?). And in order to receive my academic scholarship each semester, I must maintain a good grade point average.

About a year into college, I heard about an upper level horse with somewhat of a reputation. A Danish Warmblood by the name of Sovangs Lima, he has an impressive amount of training under his belt, and quite an impressive buck. His owner honestly explained to me he would get sick of being stuck in the indoor all winter (winter in Massachusetts is hard on all of us) and had an occasional habit of bucking to the point where you feel as though you could “touch the rafters.”

Despite all that, the occasional buck was a small price to pay for the opportunity to ride and compete with a horse of his caliber. Prior to Lima, I had pretty much only competed my own horse—a Thoroughbred I bought off of the track with my own money at age fourteen.

Riding Lima has been one of the greatest and most educational experiences of my life. His very talented human mother Jaana Sheehan, one of my best role models, has been quite successful through Prix St. Georges with Lima. He is not easy; he’s sensitive in the best way and really makes me ride.

Additionally, I’m lucky enough to train with Brenna Kucinksi, a well-educated Grand Prix rider with a natural talent for teaching. This summer we competed at June Dressage Days in Vermont and won four out of our five classes, two high-score-of-the-day awards, three reserve-high-score awards, reserve high-score-of-the-show for Second Level, and high-score-of-the-show for Third Level. Lima took me all the way through my USDF Bronze Medal. This fall we plan on working towards my Silver.

© Michele Moran: Augusta Lord and Sovangs LimaAugusta Lord and Sovangs Lima. Photo by Michele Moran.

As I said before, riding comes with work. During the average college week I work anywhere from 14 to 30 hours to pay for my horse expenses. I pay board, shoes, lessons, etc. by myself. To my wonderful parents’ credit, if worst comes to worst, they back me up financially. I do my best to avoid this.

I think that catches you up enough to tell you why I’ve gotten the opportunity to write this blog. I’m so excited I get to share my journey to Lendon Gray's Youth Dressage Festival (YDF) as a full time college student/dressage rider/part-time barn manager. I’ll try my best to keep you updated before, during, and after the competition. Remember, I’m a math major, NOT an English major, so please bear with me.

Last Sunday, I competed in a schooling show at my home base, Xenophon Farm in Montague, MA. We won our class (I was the only competitor) and won high score of the show for First Level and above. I rode Third Level Test 2, the same test I’ll ride next weekend at the LYDF. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to practice my test under the careful eye of R judge Bill McMullin. I also rode in a clinic with Bill on Monday, a chance to work through the weaker parts of my test.

As some of you may know, the YDF not only includes a dressage test, but also presents riders with a written test and an equitation class. For weeks I have been studying for my written test on sport horse conformation. In addition, this week I will be making my poster and preparing other decorations for my team’s tack room, which we will also be judged on. My team has received a generous contribution of polo shirts from The Toll Booth Saddle Shop (my go-to tack shop since age 6) to wear throughout the competition, embroidered with our logo and names.

Come Friday, my unstinting groom/boyfriend/videographer/recent UMass graduate and I head to Saugerties for the festival. Until then, cheers!


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