Lyndsey Marsh is an adult amateur rider from Thousand Oaks, California, currently studying for her PhD in Animal Biology. That's no small feat! We spoke to Lyndsey about how she balances her studies, work, and riding.
What do you do for work, or what's your main occupation?
I am currently a PhD student in Animal Biology with a focus on equine. I completed my masters on equine orthopedics, and will complete my PhD on equine molecular/cellular biology.
During the school year I work as a teaching assistant. So I lead discussions or labs, hold office hours, grade, come up with exam questions/organize exams for the undergraduates. During the summer, I work as a graduate student researcher which allows me to focus on my research!
How long have you been riding, and what discipline do you ride/show in?
I’ve been riding since I was about nine years old. I’ve always ridden English and ride and show in the jumpers. However, my aunt and mom owned quarter horses and both rode western and did rein/cow work while I grew up!
I got my horse, Chai, as a 6-year-old. He's now 8. I took a brief hiatus to heal after I broke my neck.
Above: Lyndsey and Chai.
What's your schedule like for work/life/horse balance? How often do you ride, and do you show?
Generally if I’m not at school or working on school things, chances are high I’m at the barn. I love being there and helping as much as I can and my dog loves to come with me.
Obviously, school is priority so I organize my riding schedule around my school work. I am at the barn 6-7 days a week, ride 4-5 days a week, and I do show!
Money constraints obviously dictate how often I’m able to show, but luckily I’ve had amazing advisors that really feel that allowing their students to take the time to do what they love makes them more productive. I’ve had super supportive advisors.
What other riders or horse people do you look up to? It can be a pro, your trainer, or even just a friend.
Honestly my whole barn/team are incredible, hardworking women that I look up to. They put the grind in at work and always come to the barn and put to work in there and are so present and positive.
Of course I adore my trainer (Jenny Williams) and her family. They’ve been there for me through all the ups and downs and helped me a ton when I broke my neck. Everyone at the barn plays a role to making the barn better in some way.
Above: Lyndsey and her barn family after her trainer, Jenny, had just won a Grand Prix at a show in Oregon!
Do you feel like adult amateurs are portrayed accurately in mainstream equestrian media? Why or why not?
My first instinct is to say no. I don’t think amateurs are portrayed accurately. Or, rather, only one type of amateur is portrayed.
I feel like amateurs aren’t portrayed as these fierce competitors that can keep up with the kids. I still have the same fire and drive as I did when I was sixteen. I still have the same big goals as I did back then too. And I probably have to fight for it a lot more than I did back then, but I definitely have a greater appreciation for the work that goes into the horses, the physical and mental strength, and the financial component of it all.
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