Balancing College and Riding
College. It truly is a difficult lifestyle. Wake up every day, spend hours in class, spend even more hours doing homework and studying. As an equestrian we have to find ways to balance this with horses, and it can be difficult. It isn’t easy trying to balance a social life, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, being an avid equestrian, and trying to do well in school. In this blog post I will be sharing the ways I keep this lifestyle balanced and maintain a healthy life.
My name is Izzy McSwain and I have been an ambassador for The Fit Equestrian for nearly two years. I use TFE in my daily life and strongly stand for the brand. I am a sophomore at the University of Kentucky pursuing a major in Integrated Strategic Communication and a minor in photography. I own a Saddlebred gelding named Lucky who I have been training to compete in the sport of eventing. I am on the UK Eventing Team and also work as an equine sport and portraiture photographer. This all being said; I have a lot on my plate. I have to put time into school, riding, work, having a social life, and being healthy. This sometimes calls for late nights and early mornings, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t trade it all for the world.
Most of my college classes are in the mornings, so I am able to spend my afternoons busy. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have class starting at 9am and ending at 12pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have class starting at 8am and ending at 12:20pm, which includes a three-hour art studio class in that mix. In all honesty, this is exhausting. I always start my day by waking up between 7am and 8am (depending on when I have class) with my favorite iced coffee with a dash of almond milk creamer. This is absolutely addicting I’ve found and I can’t start my day without it! For breakfast, I typically like to make my absolute favorite smoothie. The smoothie consists of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, mangoes, bananas, almond butter, and almond milk. It tastes absolutely fantastic and has lots of nutrients to help kickstart a long day! Another breakfast meal I enjoy is an omelette with cheese and veggies. I like to add spinach, peppers, and onions to my omelettes. These hold me over well through the day and give me energy to finish everything I need to get done. After class I usually spend a few hours doing homework and eating lunch. Guilty, I am a huge Trader Joe’s fan, so I prepare most of my meals out of food I’ve found from Trader Joe’s. I usually will eat some sort of veggies with a turkey sandwich or another favorite is a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Carrots and hummus are definitely a snack favorite as well.
Since COVID-19 is still in full force my barn has time slots. Typically, I go to the barn from 3pm-5pm every day, but the times sometimes will vary depending on when I have lessons. I use the barn as a break to escape the schoolwork and to focus on my passion for a few hours. After returning from the barn I typically will come home and prepare dinner. One of my favorite meals comes from The Fit Equestrian Show Day Meal Plan, which is the burger bowl. It has become one of my absolute go to meals and I prep it usually once a week. At the end of the day I typically am very hungry so I find a meal that suits my hunger and my taste. I like to prepare some sort of veggies, my favorites being zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.
Typically, after dinner is when I choose to workout (usually around 8pm). Recently I have struggled to get to the gym as I’ve felt so exhausted from my school days, which is where The Fit Equestrian has come in handy with the Equitation Bootcamp Program. This program can be done completely at home and is very timely to fit in with our busy days. It is easy to fit in your day and is a challenge. We ask our horses to be fit, so it is important to find time in the day
to work on ourselves so we can be the best riders for our horses. By using the Equitation Bootcamp Program several times a week, I have seen differences especially in my leg strength and core strength. This has been one of the best additions to my day and as a busy college student it is very helpful.
Usually after working out I shower then sit down to finish the remaining homework. My biggest advice to all college students and incoming freshman is to stick to a schedule. Usually when I find myself in ruts where I struggle to find motivation is when I’m out of whack. If my schedule shifts and I sleep in/skip studying/miss something is when I have the tendency to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated. Keeping myself in a schedule has allowed me and my body to get used to the lifestyle that goes along with college. Also, several times a week I go out to dinner with friends and spend time enjoying myself. This also seems to really help me stay motivated no matter how stressed and busy I am. I have a big calendar hung on my wall where I write out all my appointments and when assignments are due, and this also helps me keep track of how I can stay organized. Mentally I have struggled in college, but this is what I’ve found keeps me happy and motivated to do well in school.
The college lifestyle is difficult, but it is easy to stay healthy and motivated! Being an avid equestrian can make this harder as horses are a lifestyle that take up a lot of time, but through scheduling and finding out what works best for you it can become easily managed. College truly has provided me with the best experiences and moments in my life. Creating a healthy schedule can prevent the full time student from getting overwhelmed and allows for a fun lifestyle, especially in the equestrian world.
TFE Ambassador Izzy McSwain