We often hear about the struggles of maintaining the perfect work-life balance, but has anyone apart from us equestrians seriously stopped to consider the difficulty of trying to balance work, life AND horses on top?!
The MirrorMePR Equine PR Team do, and so do numerous other horse owners who try to cram in their riding in the dark, wet and cold British winter. Normally after work rather than before, to try and avoid the frozen ground, and riding just as the ground is turning frozen!
In the summer months we try to convince our trainer that an evening lesson is OK because it’s light still which is not an easy feat when many of them normally start their day at silly o’clock!. We desperately try to cram in weekday rides, just so at the weekend (when we should be concentrating on catching up on house stuff, like laundry/food shopping or seeing the significant other half and the kids) you can spend the whole day immersed in horse important stuff like cleaning tack, bathing and plaiting the stead and drinking lots of tea (in mugs so grim that you wouldn’t normally dream of drinking out of them)… just so we can go to a competition and hopefully get placed or even bring home a rosette!
So how do you get that equestrian life balance?
Planning ahead is one solution. Of course, this is easier said than done when it comes to horses, but if you can plan your diary around your competitions and work schedule in advance – and fit the family commitments in there too – it does help!
If you can afford it, putting your horse on part of full livery obviously helps take the pressure off of you, but if you are on DIY livery, why not see if you can club together with friends to take turns to do the early shift and feed/turnout so that you occasionally get a chance to have a lie in for an extra hour or see your partner in the morning!
Overtime So You Get Time
If you can negotiate swapping around your work hours with your boss. Going into the office earlier and staying later one day a week, could mean an extra hour a week. Over the winter months, this could make a huge difference. Working from home could also be an option, as it will save you the commute time, so once your working day is finished you can head straight to the yard instead of having to endure the journey home then go onto the yard.
Time Saver Tricks
Time savers like doing your horse’s feeds a couple of days ahead and covering them up with specially designed bucket covers also helps save time. the same goes for haynets – fill a few at a time, so you can grab and hang. Choosing a low maintenance bed for your horse’s stable will help save time mucking and skipping out. In the summer months, life becomes a little easier because hopefully they are out in the field a bit more and for longer, but in the autumn and winter, shop around – it might save you time and money!
A Day Off
Try and work your horse’s schedule so that he would have a week day off too. Fitting your riding at the weekends is often easier than during the week. If you are fortunate to have your horse on part livery he will also be groomed – resulting in one less job for you to do. However if your horse is turned out invest in a hood and decent rug, which cut down the grooming time at the weekend if you are not riding first thing!
Juggling life, work and owning a horse isn’t easy, but lots of people do it and prioritising is an important factor in keeping that balance. Write a list of what needs to be done each time you go to the yard and stick to it. Some jobs can always wait till the weekend!
Having the right tools in your life can also make the difference to time management, check out our blog on Grooming Essentials For Horses.