Poll Recap: Achieving the Work-Life-Riding Balance

Poll Recap: Achieving the Work-Life-Riding Balance

Finding extra hours in they day can be challenging when you're juggling a full time job and caring for horses.

Photo: iStock

Caring for horses and enjoying time in the saddle can feel like a day's work in itself. So when you add the time, energy, and requirements of a full-time job on top of that, it's not hard to become overwhelmed. So how do you estabilish a balance between the two?

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they work full time and can still find time to ride and care for horses. More than 400 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 441 respondents, 330 (75%) people said yes, they work full time and find time to ride and care for horses. The remaining 111 respondents (25%) said they do not.

Of the 441 poll respondents, 75% said they work full time and still find time to ride and care for horses.

Additionally, more than 100 people commented about their work-life-riding balance:

Many people offered suggestions for how to achieve a balance between work, riding, and regular life:

  • “I care for my horse morning and night and ride right after work. Most of the house chores get delayed until weekends, but it works.”
  • “Lose the guilt. If the horse is well cared for, it's okay to miss a day or two at the barn.”
  • “Be efficient in the barn, plan each day, and work smart!”
  • “Slow-feed haynets make life easier. They always have hay and aren't waiting for me to feed.”
  • “If you make it a priority, it will happen. Excuses can always be found.”
  • “Let the house be messy and the people can feed themselves.”
  • “Horses must be a priority if you have them.”
  • “Plan riding time into your schedule. Scheduling is key.”
  • “Never say no to an opportunity! Even when you think you don't want to, you'll be happy when you ride.”
  • “You must have discipline to keep everything going!”
  • “Just do it and when at the barn, leave the cell in the car!”
  • “Don't go home after work. Go straight to the barn.”
  • “Get up early, be organized, prepare for morning feeding at night, and leave work early on nice days.”

Several respondents shared how they make/find time to ride:

  • “I have had horses all my life. I keep a strict schedule which gives me time for all that I need to do.”
  • “I make riding and seeing my horse a priority. I designate days and add it to my schedule.”
  • “I try to treat my riding and training the same way as I do the gym: Set aside time and stick with it”
  • “I don't have any kids, and focus any free time on our farm and riding.”
  • “I couldn't do it without a lot of help from my better half!”
  • “I get up early and ride my horse before going to work. I'll ride a horse during lunchtime and eat a bit before and after.”
  • “I work four 10-hour days. It helps!”
  • “I make specific plans for riding during the week and always at least one weekend day.”
  • “I am lucky that I have a flexible schedule, so on barn days I can go into work early.”
  • “Keeping horses at home eliminated two hours of daily commute to barn.”
  • “The horses live at home and I can ride on and around the property so that makes it easier.”
  • “I schedule in my horse time like all other appointments.”
  • “Usually just riding on weekends until spring/summer comes with longer hours of daylight.”
  • “It's just pure determination. I can't ride everyday and make the most with the time change in the spring.”

A few respondents said that boarding their horse helped them save time:

  • “I have full-care board and an indoor arena for rides after dark.”
  • “I find that boarding my horse a barn with field board and an indoor works for me.”
  • “My horse is boarded. I don't think I would have time to care for her full-time if she wasn't!”
  • “I keep my horse at a boarding barn with daily turnout. Ride on the weekends, holidays, and some summer evenings.”
  • “We board so most of the ‘work’ is done. But it's still a commitment of time we love.”

Some said they were retired and take care of horses:

  • “I am 78 and retired. Three horses and upkeep of the place keeps me plenty busy.”
  • “I am retired. It's a lot of work having three horses at home, and I could not manage if I were working.”
  • “I am retired now but use to do it all by riding later at night or early in the morning.”
  • “I am retired and care for my equines at home.”
  • “I'm retired with my five horses and loving it!”
  • “I am retired, but busy, but I make sure I have time to ride.”
  • “I'm retired now, but when I was teaching, I rode every afternoon, weekend, and holiday.”

Others left general comments:

  • “Sometimes the house isn’t as clean as the barns!”
  • “I work full-time for a Thoroughbred breeding farm, so no time for horses of my own.”
  • “The kids are grown so horses are my home life.”
  • “I'm retired, but maintain 40 acres of grass hay fields and pastures.”
  • “I have no children, so my horses are my children. I work for county government so no overtime.”
  • “We have 14 racehorses, I have an eventer, and I work full time!”
  • “It's very hard to do! Working and caring for horses takes so much time, I rarely have time to ride!”
  • “Our horse farm is our full-time life!”
  • “I have six horses at home and work full-time on rotating shifts. I try to multi-task where possible”
  • “I'll be honest. My housework suffers!”
  • “I quit full-time work to be able to ride (I had a 2.5 hour commute each day). Money is tighter but I'm definitely happier!”
  • “It's difficult to find time to ride with job, house work, and barn chores.”
  • “It's tough to get in riding time between work and family, but any time spent with my horses is time well-spent.”
  • “I work part time from home specifically so that I can work with my horses.”

You can find additional time-saving horse care tips on TheHorse.com and on The Horse's Pinterest boards

This week, we want to know: on average, how much of your day is devoted to riding and caring for horses? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls!  

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health e-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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