Horsekeeper: MAURENE MOFFETT, 44-year-old elementary school music teacher
Hometown: Waller, Texas (Houston area)
Sport: Hunters (Adult Amateur division)
Horse: Thoroughbred, 10 years old
Setup: Boards him with trainer Joan Waterman (New Caney, Texas)
Challenges: Maximizing riding time and (as an adult who learned to ride only 13 years ago) feeling safe; avoiding Houston-area traffic for the 45-mile drive from workplace to barn, then another 45-mile drive to her home.
Strategies: “If I kept my horse at home, all my time would go to caring for him instead of riding or showing,” says Maurene. To make the most of both time and money, she’s chosen a barn that caters to Adult Amateurs. “Eight or nine of us ride there and the system ensures that our riding time is productive and successful.” For instance, amateurs’ horses are schooled by a
trainer the day before a lesson is scheduled. Lessons are flexible, varying from a few minutes to an hour depending on the rider’s needs at the time.
Maurene buys horses (like her current hunter) with problems that make them more affordable, yet can be managed in a careful program with professional supervision.
She jumps three feet at home but shows in the two-foot-six Adult Modified division, whose classes usually run Saturday and Sunday (the three-foot Adult Amateur divisions run Thursday and Friday) to avoid taking time off from work.
She shows about six times a year, hauling in her own rig to one-day Greater Houston Hunter/Jumper Association shows and shipping her horse with Joan to USEF-recognized A or B shows in the area. The recognized shows, where her horse gets full care and is professionally braided, are much more expensive–but “It’s wonderful,” she says. “It’s a treat I’m willing to sacrifice in other parts of my life to be able to afford.”
Maurene gives up “dinners in town with my friends, new shoes (because my horse requires very expensive shoes once a month) and new clothes for school (so I can get those new breeches). But I don’t see it as a sacrifice. I see it as the way I live my life to have what I need and what I want.”
For accounts of how almost a dozen amateurs nationwide fit horses into their lives, see “Horsekeeping in These Times–How We Pull It Off” in the September 2004 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.