To others, the sacrifices horse people make seem crazy. To Janine Savoie, it’s a small price to pay.
People often ask me why I do what I do. The questions usually go as followed: Why do you work so much? You have how many jobs?! Do you have any free time? How do you work and go to school full time? Do you have any time to sleep? The answer, however, is quite simple. I do it for my horse.
If you asked me for my resume, I’d show you the one page copy. If you wanted me to elaborate, you could probably have me talking for a few hours. I have held a lot of jobs and many positions. From working as a cashier at Stop and Shop to managing a clothing/skate shop, working as a nanny, working at barns, completing multiple internships, and serving at several restaurants. Don’t ever underestimate my ability to find a job! What you also have to add into the equation is the fact that I’ve been attending college full time for the last five years. Basically, my plate is full and at times, overflowing, but I’ve done it all and I’m only 22.
At the ripe age of 5 years old I vividly remember my kindergarten graduation performance. We stood in front of parents and close relatives to tell the crowd what we wanted to be when we grew up. When it was my turn, the crowd couldn’t help but laugh at me. The line my mom had been feeding me for the few weeks prior came out loud and clear, “I want to be a doctor so I can buy a horse.” With a stethoscope draped around my neck and an oversized lab coat dragging behind me, I meant well but I didn’t know what being a doctor entailed at the time. I did know, however, that the profession made a good living… so I had that going for me.
Fast-forward to now, I am not a doctor nor am I becoming one, but I did purchase my first horse two years ago. I actually used some my college money to purchase her and later I took out a student loan to take care of my tuition. The decision I made that day was one I will always cherish, but it was definitely an expensive one.
I always wanted my own horse, but my parents couldn’t afford one. As I enter my second year of horse ownership, I don’t burden myself with the amount of money I’ve spent on her, or the time and effort that goes into being able to make the money to pay for her. Instead, I remind myself that owning my own horse is a dream and a luxury. Riding is my passion, so doing whatever it takes to afford that is something that I don’t mind doing because at the end of the day, I’m doing what I love to do.
In the last two years, I have worked, at times, three jobs at once on top of a full course load. There were days when I would wake up and get to the barn before my trainers did, just to be able to get a ride in that day, even if it was 6:30 in the morning. I would go to class for a couple of hours, then spend the rest of the day working two separate jobs. I even find the time to feed the horses and clean the barn on mornings my trainers go away. My schedule is forever changing, but I think that is what makes me organized. I fit in riding; I fit in horse because it’s what I love most but I work really hard to be able to do just that.
Last summer, with school out of the way for a bit I worked as a working student for my trainers. I helped them out and in return, I got in more riding time and learned some things I never knew before. But come mid-afternoon, it was time to decide whether or not I wanted to get one more ride in and shower in the wash-stall or go home in time to fit an actual shower in before I left for work. If I need a new piece of equipment or want to squeeze in a cross-country schooling trip before an event, I post things on eBay to bring in some extra cash. When it comes down to it, I’m always doing something.
Nowadays, I’m finishing up my last semester and I’m graduating this May. I am currently enrolled in four classes and I work part-time at a pizza restaurant, and part-time as an editorial intern at Equine Journal in North Oxford, MA. My internship is almost two hours away, but the experience was just something I couldn’t pass up, and I love working for them. (It also looks wonderful on my resume.) I use the 2-hour drive to think, daydream, spark ideas for articles like this one, and work on my vocals with the S Club 7 Pandora station. In the next few months, I’m hoping to start squeezing in interviews to find a job come graduation around preparing and conditioning my horse for the 2015 eventing season.
I do all of this; everyday, and I do it for my horse.
My name is Janine Savoie, I live in Shelton, CT. I’m finishing up my last semester at Southern CT State University where I’m concentrating in Journalism and Business Administration. I’ve been riding since I was about five years old. I grew up riding hunter/jumpers and even rode on my old college’s IHSA team for a while. For the last few years I’ve been training under Ashley Colluci and Ted Williams at Autumn View Equestrian Center in Woodbridge, CT. I own a grey 5-year-old off the track Thoroughbred mare named Silver Sunrise, or Jersey as we call her. We both entered the eventing world together about a year ago and we are learning a lot.