Being a professional athlete is more than just a job. If you add horses to the mix, it becomes a lifestyle.
To keep refreshed and energised everyone needs a break, or a time in the day not spent in the barn or the saddle.
Colombian born Daniel Bluman is a Grand Prix winning show jumper ranked 24th in the world. He’s based in the United States and rides for Israel.
Daniel is a family man; his wife Ariel, children and his extended family are the heart of the business.
Daniel’s daily routine and competition routine are obviously going to be different, but on a day-to-day basis he has a regular way of doing things which works for all. He said, “I normally stick to my routine, ride in the morning, have lunch and then spend time with my kids and workout later in the day.
“During competition days the routine changes a little so we adapt to the completions schedule. In my free time, I love to play golf. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but I really enjoy it.”
Focussing on something different can have huge benefits and can help keep motivation levels up. Daniel would rather not have a full day off as enjoys riding his string of horses each morning, but he’s able to add variety to his operation after that. This includes working out four times a week.
It sounds an ideal arrangement, but as Daniel said, juggling personal and family time with the business side of the sport and the riding can be a work in progress. He said, “Family is priority number one for me. I make sure to spend lots of time with Ariel and the kids. We make plans for shows and the calendar of events, always with that in mind. We avoid spending many days away from each other.”
It’s a privilege to be able to make a living from a sport you are passionate about and Daniel and his family are aware of this. They support a number of charities such as the UJA Federation – a philanthropic initiative helping Jewish people in New York. INTRA – Israel’s National Therapeutic Riding Association, Antorus de Vida, a charity providing food and education for Colombian children and the Ride the Future programme which mentors young riders.
Daniel said, ”I have always enjoyed giving back. I’ve been so lucky to live a wonderful life. Trying to improve other people’s life and living conditions is something I really work for. The more success and financial stability I achieve, the more I will give back. It’s our responsibility to do so. Not only by giving money but also by sharing our time and life experiences with others that could benefit from them.”
One thing that helps with time management is living on site at the farms in New York state and Florida where the business is based. He says the horses are the key members of his team and also the wider group of professionals who help him do his job to the highest standard. Daniel said, “I love the horses and enjoy very much being close to them.”
When your job is also your joy, days off don’t seem quite so important.