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Grab your purse, find your keys, round up the kids and herd them to the van. Glance at your watch. Great 15-minutes to get Billy to baseball practice and then drop Penelope off at dance. As you run to the garage, your horse looks over the fence and knickers at you with longing. Jump into the car, back out of the garage, look into the rearview mirror and there’s Skip, still watching as you drive out of sight.
Make a mental note to self: Must find time to ride. But how, when life is pulling you in 23 directions at once?
Life does have a way of infiltrating and choking off those things that we really enjoy, and finding time to ride isn’t on your priority list. With the demands of work, spouses, kids, church, friends, family, etc., we lose the connection with our horses that we have always loved.
How do you find the time when there just aren’t enough hours in the day?
The answer is simple - Just do it! But the route and means in getting there may be difficult.
It is very important that we devote some time to ourselves to enjoy what we love. It is well documented that the relationship we have with our horse reduces stress levels and speaks to our souls.
Start out small by scheduling small increments of time dedicated for your horse. If you are lucky and have your horse on your own property, it is easy to sneak out of the house and make a quick 15 minute visit for a power grooming session. Your horse will appreciate it and you will enjoy the experience and, hopefully, feel guilt free for taking a few moments for yourself and your horse.
Rather than fully tacking your horse, invest in a bareback pad, which will save you time and allow for a quick spin around the paddock.
If you are married, make an arrangement with your spouse that one day a week you will set aside a few hours to enjoy time with your horse and extend the same opportunity for your spouse to do something they enjoy. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement, intended to give each other personal time away.
If there are riding venues, such as trails, arenas, lesson instructors, etc., nearby, you can easily take advantage of their convenient location and spend a couple or so hours away enjoying your horse.
You may find that stabling or boarding your horse may allow you more time to spend with your horse.
For an additional fee, some riding stables will groom and tack your horse prior to your scheduled arrival to allow you more time to spend in the saddle. Full care facilities will feed, turnout, and muck stalls, allowing you time to enjoy riding.
If you have horse friends who also experience time and commitment restraints, establish a babysitting schedule where you each share in watching the other’s kids to allow for saddle time. It is important that you each fulfill your end of the bargain to keep this arrangement working.
Take advantage of holidays or long weekends. With three days available, surely one can be devoted to riding, and if you’re lucky, perhaps the entire weekend. Join a trail riding group. These groups will most likely have one person organize and do the leg work for setting up the ride, and will communicate necessary information to others in the group. This saves planning time for you. Sometimes all you will have to do is show up because all of the front work has been done.
Just remember where there’s a will, there’s a way. Make it happen and enjoy your saddle time!
by: Darlene M. Cox