Ashley McInnis Ashley, 32, has been a familiar face in the show ring since her very successful junior years. The Barrie, ON, native graduated from the University of Guelph and Osgoode Hall Law School, and is a partner at the law firm of Stewart, Esten. Under the tutelage of Greg Kuti, she campaigned four mounts in 2013: Warentina in the 1.30m Jr/Am Jumpers; Chor-Be Farm’s Argento in the Talent Squad and 1.40m Jr/Am; Ashanti, owned by Cherham Farm, who she competes in the 3’3î Low Jr/Am Hunters; and Carol Jardine’s Prudence, who currently leads the Canadian Hunter Derby Series 3’6î eastern standings. I was fortunate in my junior years to be a working student most summers, where I was able to experience first-hand the less glamorous aspects of operating an ëAí circuit stable. Although I loved the early mornings and the long hours of a show days ñ and I still do ñ I just didnít see that the pace was sustainable or that the industry was particularly profitable for a young professional. I was also able to observe some exceptional riders as they emerged from the junior ranks and started their own businesses. Many of their riding ambitions were put on hold indefinitely while they focused on teaching students and learning to run a business. They then joined other talented riders in the struggle to find sponsors and owners to purchase grand prix horses. It was unsettling to see how well-established professionals could be on the verge of international success, only to have the horses removed by the owners and placed with other riders. For myself, it was a better avenue to pursue a career that would enable me to buy my own string of horses. I had my eye on the legal profession since I was very young, and it suits my academic strengths. My ability to afford ëAí circuit horses and devote significant time to the sport figured heavily in my decision to pursue law. I was very fortunate to find a full-service law firm in Barrie that required a junior litigation lawyer, and where the lawyers valued work-life balance. I am able to ride frequently with the barn only 30 minutes away, and as a partner, I am now able to schedule my appointments and court dates on non-show weeks, and make up lost billing time on weekends and evenings. I would not manage so well if I did not have incredible staff at the office. My assistant is a genius at keeping me organized and she ensures that I am ahead of deadlines and well-prepared for meetings and court dates. All of my colleagues at the office are very supportive of my riding and know my horses by name. In 2009, the entire office took a road trip down to cheer me on at the Royal when I was competing in the jr/am jumpers. I try to ride five days a week when I am not in trial season or have other work commitments. My condo is only a block from the office and the courthouse, so I donít lose time commuting to work. I am also member of two boards and am the legal representative for the Research Ethics Board at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. I am lucky to have friends and family who are understanding of my crazy schedule! Julie Perri Julie, 33, competes in the Adult Amateur 18-35 division on 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Surrender the Sword, owned and bred by Linda Hale. They competed at the Royal Winter Fair in 2009 and 2011 with good results, and consistently finish in the top ten of the OHJA division standings. A graduate of Fanshawe College with a Financial Services diploma, Julie is a financial advisor with TD Canada Trust. I always knew I would never give horses up, as they are my true passion; however, once I finished my post-secondary education I realized I had also developed a desire to pursue a career in the banking industry. As much as I love riding and working with horses, there are obvious benefits to having a steady salary and I realized I could make a great income with benefits and still enjoy my first love. I started part-time with TD Canada Trust over eights years ago; I soon recognized how accommodating TD is with their employees, and they see the importance in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. The flexibility and ease of work and life balance that I was afforded would allow me to continue showing as an amateur. It is important to me to continue setting, pursuing, and achieving new goals in the ring. This has been a fun journey with ‘Arthur’, as Linda and I have done all of the work with him ourselves and all of our progress has been easy to track. I love being busy, and in a way thrive on the constant ‘go, go’ lifestyle. Getting up at three a.m. for a horse show to bathe, braid, and ship out horses means you have to be organized and on top of your game at all times. I think my early years at the barn taught me good time-management skills and work ethic, and those are the keys to success. The support from within the office and flexibility that it allows is the reason I am able to continue working full-time and support the expenses of riding and showing. I will get up early and ride before work, which means I’m often at the barn around six a.m. During the show season I ride six days a week. I am sometimes lacking in the sleep department, but it is 100 per cent worth it in the long run to be able to live this life and have the opportunity to set foot in the ring at the Royal every year! Danielle Fritz Danielle, 33, manages to find the time to compete in the amateur hunter and equitation classes when her work as a veterinarian for her equine ambulatory and breeding practice in Cowichan Bay, BC, allows. Coached by Cheryl Keith and aboard Catherine Rankin’s Go Shorty, she has experienced great success in the 2013 season in the adult medal and equitation classes. She is married to course designer Peter Holmes, and has a two-year-old daughter, Brooklyn. I wanted to become a veterinarian since I was very young. I got my first pony when I was 10 and I have loved to care for them every since. Working for myself allows me to schedule time off for horse shows. Unfortunately, horse show season is busy on the veterinarian side of things as well. I’ve been called away from shows to go see emergencies and I have been asked to see emergencies at horse shows; you really can’t get away from it in the end. I think it is helpful for my business to compete and be current in the riding industry, as it allows me to better understand my clients’ needs for their horses. I still enjoy braiding the morning of the show, as I always find that I can tell what type of mood my horse is in. Both Peter’s and my career are very time-demanding, but also seasonal. Days can be extremely long and tiring, and working with so many people and their horses can be draining; however, it can also be very rewarding. There are definitely a lot of emotional ups and downs. I do look forward to the quiet times at the end of summer and in the winter. I enjoy being at my barn with my own horse as a way to relax and de-stress. I try to take time for myself, and put the pager and cell phone down! Sue MacIntosh Sue, 55, is a top amateur rider on the west coast. Aboard Lexington, she has topped the adult amateur 36+ division three years consecutively and those same years was high-point amateur equitation rider in BC. She has trained with Lindy Townley for five years, currently leads the division standings for 2013, and won the Fairweather Farms 3’0î Derby Series. She is a mortgage broker with Mortgage Alliance Meridian and has been involved in the industry for over 20 years. She lives in North Vancouver with her husband of 33 years and two children. I rode as a kid, but the industry as a whole was just so different back then. We didn’t have trainers or anything, we flew by the seat of our pants and would take a clinic every now and then. Our parents would drop us off at the show grounds and we would sleep in the back of the horse trailer and live off hamburgers and Cokes. I evented quite a bit and had the opportunity to travel with Bill Ulmer to Burghley Horse Trials as his groom when he was a part of the Canadian three-day team. After my stint as a groom, I got married when I was 22 and then essentially didn’t ride for 25 years. I never thought about pursuing it as a career, because it was just something that I was always doing for fun. Now, I’m happy to be in a place in my life where it’s still just as much fun. My husband had started up a real estate appraisal firm, and we travelled a lot before having kids. Real estate and mortgage brokering all kind of go hand-in-hand, so real estate turned into brokering, and here we are 20 years later. My line of work allows flexibility ñ as long as you don’t mind working at six a.m. or midnight! I work from home, so there’s the ability to ride and schedule horse shows. I did an application the other day in my car at the side of the ring with a cell phone and computer! Lindy is just fantastic and we have a great group of adults in the barn. She understands and appreciates that as an adult rider you could be thinking about something else when you should be concentrating on your lesson. You just have to be aware of time management and planning your day and staying organized. I’ve been very happily married a long time; I would like more horses, but I would also like to stay married! My husband is a terrific supporter. I just have to be aware that for me, horses are not a career. I have my work, but my family is the most important, so I try to fit the riding in around the other things. You have to be aware of finding the balance between family, work, and horses, because it’s pretty easy to be all-consumed by horses.