The Balancing Act: An Equestrian’s Winter in Florida

Media of Taylor, 15, provided by Kind Media

Many equestrians who compete at the sport’s highest level move their entire lives down to Florida for the winter season. They spend the majority of their days with horses, either practicing, competing, or taking care of them. 

Education is always a frequent topic of conversation when discussing this move. Each rider has a unique schooling schedule based on their riding routines. Various kinds of learning occur among the riders; some students attend school online, other families hire tutors to help them keep up with their schools back home, and others transfer to schools in Florida for the winter. 

Sixteen-year-old equestrian Sydney R., who moved from New York City to Florida for the winter, explained how she manages her rigorous days of school work and riding while she spends her time in Florida. Sydney, who attends Spence,  said, “because I don’t get to attend any classes, I try to do my best at organizing all my work, like what notes I need to take and what I need to learn in order to complete the homework that’s been posted.” 

Sydney keeps up with school herself on top of balancing all of the work with her riding schedule: “I see how much homework I have to do each night and then account for whatever workout or horse-related stuff I have to do that day.” 

For a busy high school student, it is no easy task to bear the responsibility of learning each school-related topic while staying on top of the high pressures and demands of riding.

Taylor C., 15,  speaks about her school schedule and the difficulties of attending in-person school rather than the common routine of online school. “I compete almost every day of the week, so going to in person school is almost impossible,” said Taylor, who lives in Boston.  

Adding on to her list of responsibilities, Taylor campaigns horses for owners, meaning she has to run from barn to barn all day while still finding time to go to school and complete her work. Although Taylor’s days are filled to the brim, she is grateful for what this lifestyle has taught her: “It has helped me learn how to manage my time, remain focused, and stay organized. I wouldn’t want it any other way.” 

Sydney and Taylor are just two out of the thousands of kids who experiencing the same or similar situations that riding has demanded. Although it is an extreme advantage and leisure to do what they do, the teenagers definitely have their work cut out for them. Moving your whole life down to Florida for the winter, although necessary for top level riders, can be difficult. 

Clara Propp, the author, is an equestrian and 10th grader at Grace Church School. She competes on the AA circuit in Florida while still maintaining her work here at Grace with the help of her teachers and tutors.