The perks of a BBF (Barn Best Friend)

Written by Christa Myers.

Throughout my decade of being an equestrian, I learned no one quite understands an equestrian like another equestrian.

flyspraySome smell? Still no problem. For starters, they don’t mind the “odor” that comes with being around horses all the time. You’ll never hear “Oh my gosh what is that smell?” Mostly because they will smell the exact same. ps. you normal humans don’t smell wonderful all the time either.

Sword fights are awesome, but crop fights are better. One of my favorite memories with my best barn friend (“BBF”) is having crop fights in the barn. I never knew at which moment I’d get whacked or when we’d get yelled at for being silly.

christafriend

Matching show clothes and our horses’ attitudes are the same too.

Matching barn outfits beat matching school outfits. That awesome feeling that comes with walking into school and your best friend is basically matching you is multiplied by one hundred when it’s at a lesson or show. Theres nothing more #squadgoal material than this.

No sexual innuendos. As equestrians we’re prepared to have some horse-related innuendo thrown at us. But when we’re with our horsey friends, we don’t need to worry about that. For anyone going through middle school and thinking “this will end soon” – I’m sorry to say it won’t.

They’ll support all your crazy spontaneous ideas. Wanna buy your third horse? Horsey best friend says: “YES! You totally need another chestnut with a bad attitude!” You want to show for the first time this year.. in two days? They’ll be right beside you rushing to get all your stuff in order and shining your ratty boots that haven’t been cleaned since last show season. Whenever my boyfriends or parents say I shouldn’t buy another horse, I turn to my BBF, Sam, and she always is supporting my crazy idea which we eventually decide isn’t the best idea while being a full-time student with little income. (Spoiler Alert: Yes, equestrians are capable of being rational) But hey, there’s nothing better than a little excitement over the cute jumper that’s priced way above your yearly income. A few years ago, I needed cross country jumps at the barn, so Sam’s dad brought some materials over, and we made jumps. We may have struggled, but we did it. Who else will be crazy enough to handle tools unskillfully to make jumps with you?

We don’t get mad when you beat us. Until last year, my best friend was at the same barn as I was. This meant we trailered to shows together, made silly jokes all the way to the show, worried over our rounds, and if we placed, hugged each other when we miraculously pinned. Unlike with other friends, competition is fun. If I were asked my two favorite show memories, they would be watching my best friend place after working months on her riding and hearing over the speakers that we placed and celebrating together. After all, years from now, the ribbons will have collected dust, and all we will have left is the memories. I’d rather have memories of camaraderie than of beating my best friend in a class (because that rarely happens).

I’ve had a few best friends, but my longest has been my BBF. We are no longer at the same barn, but we still conspire together and support each other. Most of all we still bug each other to no end. BBFs are there for the small and large moments, and they are equally happy for either. You can go on talking about horses for hours and not worry about boring the person. I’d rather have a horsey best friend than a normal one any day. We equestrians are crazy, and normal people just can’t handle that sometimes.

I don’t blame them.

Q&A: Should I go to law school?

I get this question a lot, and I see a lot of equestrians on Twitter that want to go to law school or say they want to be lawyers. I wanted to provide a realistic view of the “Should I go to law school?” question and a realistic view of what being a lawyer actually is versus what it’s made out to be (Spoiler Alert: It is not an episode of Law & Order).

Simply asking Should I go to law school? is a loaded question because there are so many factors that go into that decision. I can’t really tell you whether you should go to law school. So… why am I writing this post, right? I can tell you some things you should take into account before you make the decision to possibly put yourself into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and a majorly subpar job market.

First, get a feel for what the legal world is like. You can do this in various ways, but my biggest suggestion to anyone that asks me about going to law school is get an internship at some type of legal-related job. You could intern at a law firm, government agency, or even with a local judge. All of those internships will give you a taste of what it’s like being a lawyer. Will you get to do actual lawyer? No. But you will get to see real life lawyers and what they do day-to-day, and if you’re lucky and prove yourself, you will get to do some legal-related work… just nothing that can be considered “practicing law.”

The reason I suggest getting a feel for the legal world is because law school has a huge flaw. It does absolutely nothing to prepare you for the real legal world. It does nothing to prepare you for being a lawyer. It does nothing to prepare you for going to court. Sure, most schools offers classes in trial strategy, or on writing legal briefs, or even clinics which is where you will be a “Student Attorney” often handling real cases under the guise of an attorney (often a professor). But, as someone who took all of those classes in law school, I still was in no way, shape, or form prepared to be a lawyer when I graduated and started my first full-time legal job.

This brings me back to the internships thing. The biggest and most valuable preparation I had for being a lawyer was my internships that I did during my time in law school. So even if interning at a law firm or a government legal agency sounds super lame especially during one of your college summers – it can not only save you from 3 years of misery, but if you do decide to become an attorney, you will have a leg up on those who didn’t have an internship.

Second, why are you becoming an attorney? Gone are the days of not knowing what you want to do after college so you’ll just go to law school. The job market is not equipped from that. You are no longer guaranteed a legal job after you graduate from law school and pass the bar. While my law school fortunately has a high employment rate after graduation, and I (thankfully) secured full-time employment shortly into my last year of law school – I still have friends who don’t have legal-related jobs and are unemployed and have been for an entire year at this point. Also, I still don’t have a job for after this first job I have ends (and yes, I am majorly stressed about that). If you are becoming an attorney because you don’t know what the hell else to do – that is the absolute wrong reason to go to law school. You will be miserable. I know someone who went to law school as a back-up if his writing career didn’t take off, and he hated every second of it, didn’t do well, and didn’t even take the bar after we graduated. Now listen, your choice is your choice. If you think going to law school even though you don’t know what you want to do is right for you, then by all means do it. I am not here to tell you how to live your life – I am just here to give you a realistic perspective on what doing something like that could mean for your job prospects, happiness, and most importantly, financial security after graduation, especially if you will be paying for law school yourself.

This brings me to another part of why you are becoming an attorney: If you’re doing it solely for the money, don’t do it. You will be unhappy, miserable, depressed, etc. Like I said, the job market sucks. It is hard to find a job, and I am not going to lie to you about that. Can you make hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars practicing law? Yup. You can. But you also better be prepared to sacrifice your social life, family life, romantic life, riding life, pretty much any life you have aside from the one you have working. I know this sounds dramatic, but let me share a few stories.

  • One of my supervisors at my second internship told me that her good friend, who worked at a very large firm in New York City (Read: Cha-ching!), had planned a trip to a foreign country each year to see some of his family members. The trip was pre-paid, already planned, and something that was done every single year. Well, a big trial came up, and his supervising partner told him he wasn’t going on the trip. When the person said that he had this trip planned, had already paid for it, and went on it every year, the partner said that was too bad, he was needed at the office, and he wouldn’t be going. However, they did reimburse him for the pre-paid trip.
  • The same firm had booked several rooms in a hotel nearby for their employees to go to in order to shower, freshen up, and take naps. Other than that, the employees weren’t allowed to go home if they were working on an important project.
  • My good friend who recently started working full-time at a big firm based in both my state and in New York told me she has to make a certain number of billable hours each week. Now, I don’t know her actual salary, nor would I ask, but my guess and impression from what I know about the firm and her job is that she gets paid pretty well. For those of you who don’t know what billable hours are, it’s an amount of time you spend doing work that you can bill a client for. This has to be actual work – not sitting on your cell phone, going on Facebook, etc. The billable hours aspect is often quite rigorous and stressful, but it’s a huge part of law firm life. I asked her what a typical day at the firm is like for her. She told me she gets to work around 8:30 am and doesn’t leave until 7 pm. She also told me some of her friends at other firms will leave the office to go to happy hour and get dinner and then go back only to leave at 3 am and return at 8:30 – 9 am again.
  • Finally, I know someone who worked at a big law firm in New York City many years ago (Read again: Cha-ching!) She told me that not one day went by where she didn’t hear someone screaming or crying in their office.

I know those stories aren’t uplifting. I know that those stories also aren’t all typical. There are lawyers that love their jobs, that love working crazy hours, that love the high-stress environment, that are willing to make those sacrifices for the big money. And, if you’re one of those people, then all the power to you. But my point is, if you’re solely doing it for the money, you will likely burn out within a few years and want to pick a new career and/or find yourself deeply depressed.

Third, are you willing to do the work? Law school is not a walk in the park. I remember being in college and studying 15 minutes before my final exam and still getting an A. Law school is not like that – I don’t care who you are. You will work your ass off. You will read a lot. You will write a lot. You will be expected to take a 2 – 5 hour exam at the end of the semester where you may need to recall any and all information you learned during the year. Oh, and by the way, you’re taking multiple exams. A usual law school semester is 4 – 5 classes, and each of them usually has either a final exam or a large paper that you need to actually be working on throughout the semester (Read: You cannot do your final paper the night before. It just won’t happen).

Fourth, you will have to make sacrifices, including ones that involve riding. While I would love to write a huge paragraph on this. Just know that you will have to ride less at some points in the semester, especially during your first year when your grades matter the most. I think really what we all need to see is: Less pony time. And, I know this shouldn’t be a deciding factor. Plus, riding horses is expensive, and sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to ensure a successful, secure future for ourselves that will allow us to continue our passion, but there are other jobs out there that will allow us to do the same thing without sacrificing our sanity and forcing us into a career we potentially didn’t want in the first place.

I know that this post may have sounded super negative, but I always get asked about law school, and I felt the need to be realistic about the whole process. I do plan on writing a post about the positives of going to law school and being a lawyer, but I do think the potential negatives and risks need to be put out there, especially because not everyone is willing to be realistic about the state of the legal field, law school, being a lawyer, etc.

If you are considering going to law school, or are in law school, and have questions, I am always here to answer them! I will try my best to be positive but authentic (Read: I won’t lie to you, and no one else should either). You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Ask.fm, or shoot me an email!

An interview with the owners of EquestriansForMentalHealth on Instagram: Eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health one post at a time

A new Instagram account has popped up, and it, in my opinion, is doing some very compelling work – bringing awareness to mental health and the stigma surrounding disorders. Editors’ Note: Because personal details are going to be revealed in this post, I am not going to reveal who wrote it – or who the individuals behind the account are.

As someone that has suffered and does suffer from various mental illnesses, including severe anxiety, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder, as well as two bouts of severe clinical depression, I have suffered the stigma of mental illness. As a result, I am very protective of those who also suffer from mental illness, and I believe that more awareness needs to be brought to this disorders so that we can not only better understand them and find better treatments or cures, but also to educate those who still discriminate and judge others for having mental illness. It is not as simple as taking a pill and making it all go away or getting up out of bed and doing something. Sometimes those just are not options.

I interviewed the owners of the equestriansformentalhealth Instagram to get their insight on the need for further mental health education, awareness, and why they started the account.

The owners of the account are two friends who have gone through their own mental health problems. While one suffers from severe social anxiety and has previously self-harmed, the other suffers from depression, self-harm, lack of ability to trust, and social anxiety.

According to the two, their disorders have made them feel they had no one to talk to, led to bullying, and led to family problems.

This is why they started the Instagram account.

“We have noticed the stigma and negativity that is related to it and are aiming to change it!” they said. “We started this account to help equestrians realize they are not the only ones. We want to to help others understand what it’s like for someone with that disorder.”

According to the owners, the biggest challenge facing those with mental illness is “worrying about being judged if you tell anyone.”

“The fear that you will be treated differently and your friends will think less of you” is certainly a legitimate fear as not everyone understands mental illness or what it entails.

By starting the account, the two hoped that they could let others know having a mental disorder does not make a person less than anyone who is “healthy.” Mental illness is not something of which anyone should be ashamed either.

The Instagram account posts things such as definitions of certain mental illnesses, inspirational quotes, and other images/text to assist those with mental illness and to educate those who may not be knowledgeable about mental health challenges.

Although many of the Instagram posts are inspired by the owners’ personal experiences, they do make an effort to educate themselves if they are posting about something with which they are unfamiliar.

“…if we do not know a lot about something. We do our best to research in order to post the best, most accurate information,” the owners said.

Although the account just started and is relatively small, I encourage all equestrians (and other readers who may come across this post) to follow it!

“So far we have gotten a positive response from our small group of followers,” the owners said. “We want everyone to remember that if you are ever feeling like you have no one to talk to they can DM us[,] and we will do our best to offer any advice we can, judgment free.”

The Legal Equestrian Tack Charms: Now available!

We are proud to announce we partnered with Shop Hunt Club to bring you limited edition The Legal Equestrian tack charms! Now you can represent our blog on your horse’s bridle, saddle, your boots, breeches, and more.

image_original
If you would like to purchase a charm, please visit our store here. We are offering free shipping on any tack charm purchase.

We are also running a special promotion. Spend $20 in our store and receive 5% off. Just use the code LEGALEQUESTRIAN. We still have a few Ogilvy Equestrian baby pads left as well as some other cute items, and we will be adding more soon!

Easy ways to freshen up after the barn

Written by Kate Stone.

Most of us run on a pretty tight schedule, and the barn always seems to take longer than we anticipate, which leaves us in a rush with no time to go home, shower, and change. We have all been in the hair salon or grocery store with breeches and paddock boots and the horse smell that follows closely behind.

But we don’t have to be! It is quick and easy to freshen up before leaving the barn. Freshening up can be a simple 10 minute task – just grab a few things before you leave the house and use the tack room or restroom as a changing room!

Pack a change of clothes. Changing your clothes is a big part of getting rid of the horsey smell. As much as we all don’t want to admit to sweating, it is something we do, so be sure to re-apply deodorant. Also spritz a fragrance mist (not perfume) in your hair and on your wrists. You can also do the casual spray and walk through. (Bath and Body Works has a wide variety of fragrance mists that are affordable and smell great!) This will help mask the smell from your helmet or horse kisses on your arm. To finish, put your hair in a cute french braid or high pony tail or even a headband (for shorter hair) to get it out of your face.

Next, clean your face by using a face wipe to get rid of any sweat, dirt, or makeup. If you are prone to acne, this step will also help prevent breakouts.

Then, apply lotion (or tinted moisturizer) and lip balm. Using natural products, like EcoLicious Equestrian’s Hey Sugar Lip Silk for your lips or Burt’s Bees for your face, will help you feel fresh and clean without all the chemicals. Only apply what is necessary because you want to let your skin breathe! A natural look is always a perfect go-to, especially on hot days when makeup does not always last.

Lastly, throw on a pair of comfy shoes and ta-da! You are ready to conquer your busy schedule or long list of post-barntime errands.

These easy steps will help you feel and smell clean and fresh. You can even put together a larger cosmetic bag filled with some of these products (and maybe a clean v-neck) to leave in your locker or car so you are always prepared!