We’ve all heard of work/life balance, which is a particular challenge to achieve for most people. Balance in any part of life is important, meaning one thing dominating too much time and attention could create issues in other parts of life. What does this have to do with horses and saddle time? Actually, quite a bit if you’re a horse person.
If you’re spending too much time at work, there may not be enough hours in the day for your beloved horse. Conversely, if you’re spending all your time and money on your horse, this could cause some issues at home or with loved ones. Here are five strategies to achieve saddle time/life balance so that you, your horse, and your loved ones can live in harmony.
1. Be as Local as Possible
Whether you are taking lessons, renting a stable, showing your horse, or all of the above, the closer you can do these things to home, the better for all involved. Even if you have to pay a little bit more for a local facility, you are going to save money on gas and meals, as well as save time that you could use doing other important life activities.
2. Save on Showing
If you are showing, you might want to consider combining some multi-day events instead of chasing after as many single-day events as possible. By doing this, you will not only get more experience in a short period, but you will also save on entry fees. If you also choose shows close to home (again, local), you can also save on travel costs.
3. Schedule Horse Time Strategically
If other members of your family aren’t horse people, you will need to schedule your horse time more strategically. Failing to do this could result in resentment towards you and your horse. For example, if your spouse is planning a weekend trip with friends, try to book a show at the same time. If you have children, involving them can increase the fun. You can also schedule some horse time when they are otherwise engaged.
4. Become as Organized as Possible
When your life is full, it helps to be organized. The more organized and efficient you become, the more time you’ll have to spend with your horse. You can set up a detailed schedule to keep yourself on track and even consider delegating some chores. For example, you can pay someone else to either do your housework or perform basic duties at the barn.
5. Adjust Your Work Schedule
If you work full-time, you are probably trying to schedule some of your riding time before and after work. This is in addition to your days off, of course. By becoming more organized (see above), you may find a few more hours in your day. Another way to accomplish this is to ask your company to adjust your hours. Granted, this isn’t possible for everyone, but flextime is more widespread now, so it’s something to explore. Perhaps you can ride in the morning with a later work start time or work longer hours to get half a day off of work once per week.
As horse lovers, we all understand the pull of the saddle. Unless you live on a farm and make your living with horses, you’ll need to find some balance. Use these tips and strategies to not only achieve more time with your horse and loved ones but also squeeze some extra mileage out of your monthly riding budget.