Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Balance (Or, How To Live With Horses)


Let's face it.

Horses are time consuming.

This is why sometimes you only get one post every couple weeks. It's why I stagger blearily to a couch in the lounge for a half hour every Wednesday afternoon to slip in a nap before I head out to the barn to ride. It's why I've written about them in damn near every college application or scholarship essay I've ever typed. It's why, when my friends complain about me going to bed early on weeknights, I just smile.

It is also, naturally, worth it. Else you'd just ship them off and be done with it, right? Ha, ha.

I want to know how you balance horses with your "real" life.

I somehow manage - often haphazardly, frequently through sheer force of will. Mostly, it's just become an ingrained part of my life: my evenings, from somewhere around 4:30 to 7:30, don't exist. I do homework during the day or after I get home. I work whenever I can to pay for the habit.

My secret weapon is that deceptive little statement, "Oh, I guess I'll just go for a short ride tonight." Yeah, and if that ride of mine lasts less than 10 minutes, I'll eat my boots. Most times just talking myself into the saddle pushes me into a half hour work session or longer, just because I enjoy riding Pandora so much. She's fun.

It also helps that we watched International Velvet at Pony Club camp this weekend. After an hour of watching a video where all the girl does is canter around and jump, you're certainly inspired to get some canter work done!

In general update news - everything is going great. Pandora has been doing absolutely fantastically, really bringing herself up off her forehand. We are focusing on keeping the "dive" out of our canter, where she plunges forward and drops her head and neck because it's too hard to support herself. This weekend, we're heading to a clinic and rating assessment. This means an excuse to get her all pretty and clean, and me being the fussing fiend that I am, I'm quite looking forward to it!

To be honest, horses play a cyclical part in the balance of my life. Sometimes, I let other things slip in favor of the horses (read: homework? What homework? I've got a horse show today!), and sometimes the horses fade into the background (that is, "But...I'm tired. Maybe I'll ride tomorrow night"). But no matter how hard it is to find a balance, I know one thing is true...my life would be even more unbalanced without them. Why?

Because if I didn't have horses I'd probably be a muttering, straightjacketed mess ;-)

7 comments:

ImaBronsonBear said...

Ahahahaha, i seriously do think i would become severely depressed if i was deprived of "horse time."

How do i balance horses and real life? Why, that's easy! I don't have a real life.=D I'm a senior in high school and my life consists of exactly three things: school, work, and horses.

I've found that having a schedule - and sticking to it - has helped me the most. Before the school year started, i made up a schedule of all the time i would need to do all of my subjects, add in the time i wanted to ride my horses every day, and then set times that i would do everything. I'm homeschooled, which gives me a bit more time, but i still manage to stay incredibly busy and if i don't stick to a schedule, i end up getting nothing done!

Leah Fry said...

Ah, there's the rub. Honestly, I have no idea how people do it who have kids and/or work full time (or go to school full time) and still try to show. I work full time, have an hour's commute each way to and from work and don't show, and I still only get to ride 2-3 times a month. During the winter, I feel as though the only time I spend with them is feeding and not nearly enough grooming.

Andrea said...

Aah now, see here's how I manage - my work IS my horse time, and I technically get paid to ride her every day. How freaking sweet is that?
Up at 6am, work work work, lesson with Vicki (these are 3 days a week), work work work, finish up at 5 or so. On the days when I don't have lessons, I still ride around my work schedule - when all the turnouts are set, I get on, and usually have to hang Gogo in the crossties when I'm done so I can go get some more turnouts, lol.

It works out great!

Sydney said...

I found when I made statements to myself like "I'll go riding after I do X " When I was done doing whatever X was I was too tired. So now I ride before I do X. In the summer I get up at 7 and ride my mare because I find it too tiring to ride three horses one after the other. Then when I am done work I ride the rest.

smottical said...

I wish I were better at achieving balance. I work full time with a 40 minute commute each way. I try to get out to the barn at least 3x per week, and most of the time I've been able to keep to that. However, to get my horse really fit, I know I should be working her 5-6 days a week. There's just no way it can happen, though. The nice thing is that usually it's so late when I get to the barn that I'm all by myself. I really value the alone time with my horse.

wolfandterriers said...

I think riding in school defines your level of commitment. Kitten is worked despite my 21 hour load and two jobs. It just gets done. How? I don't go out, watch movies, socialize beyond my husband...well, my best friend and I did go out this week to celebrate me getting into med school (YAY!!!!).

One thing that works for me is self care. My mare is a bit of a wild thing anyway, but having that am and pm commitment makes it easy to slide in training time. You're at the barn anyway, right?!

It will only get more interesting as I start at WVSOM in August. That is 5 months and counting to move, get set up at a new house, finish my barn/paddock setup, etc. If ya want, you can read all about my interesting times @ mounted-archery.blogspot.com.

Feel free to hit me up with premed questions as well if you want. :)

manymisadventures said...

Well, I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has troubles finding time to fit everything in. Andrea, you've got it easy! Still, I bet you're exhausted at the end of a long day.

Wolfandterriers, I might ask you a bit about premed. I'm still considering it but not sure if I want to go that route, you know?

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