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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2007

    Default How do you work it? Horses/school/work/etc?

    How do you work horses in with your life? I'm studying full time at the moment, and have two horses in work and four others who I'm in charge of feeding, mucking out etc. I was thinking of getting a part time job to help fund the horses because at the moment my parents are footing the bill, and I feel a bit guilty about not paying my way. But the problem is, finding time! I have a 2-hour round commute to the place I study four days a week, so usually I can't get out with the horses until about 3pm, and have to leave at 7.30am. With study, housework etc, this leaves little time for a real, paid job! As weekends are usually showing, and nights are usually studying, I'm struggling to find time to have this job. Also, who would want to employ someone for just one day a week (I have fridays off)??
    How do you work it??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2008
    South Central PA


    Are you in college? Sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Why are you in charge of taking care of the four other horses? Are you receiving some kind of compensation for this, or are they yours?

    Honestly, in situations like these, something has to give or else you have to organize things in such a way that every spare second of your time is filled up, usually ending up in someone who is so burned out they can't do any of it at all, or at least not well or happily.

    I would try to prioritize what is most important to you and go from there. Is having a job really necessary? Is this really a matter of guilt (ie, your parents are pushing you to start paying for it yourself/making comments that make you feel guilty), or are you just trying to do it all and kill yourself in the process?

    If having a job is necessary, then you might have to sacrifice some of the shows or one day of riding a week. Some employers can be very understanding of that whole "horse show thing" and it is possible to do both, but obviously it would be pretty pointless to hire someone who is only going to be there one day a week for a short period of time. If you're willing to give up some of the shows, it's all a matter of finding the right job, discussing it with your boss beforehand, and giving them a schedule so that they know when you will and won't be available.

    My life is a little different now that I'm in college (although I still managed to take classes 5 days a week, train about 3 horses a day, work a part time job, and go to every horse show with my school team), but in high school I was able to do community college classes and school 4 days a week (1 hr commute round trip to school), commute an hour every day to and from my barn (2 hrs+ round trip factoring in traffic) to ride 2-4 horses, and work around 12 hours Friday-Sunday with some time still left over for a social life. I took time off for horse shows as necessary with the understanding that I would be around and making my employers lots of money for the holiday season. I was not burned out, but I know of friends who tried to keep up a similar schedule and either something ended up slipping (usually school) or they became so miserable and tired that there was nothing left of them. It all depends on priorities, time management, and your ability/desire to handle stress.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2009


    I used to have a 2 hour round commute as well. I couldn't hack the commute (for many reasons unrelated to horses even) and so I started taking online classes instead. That has helped a lot. It is usually a temporary solution however unless you're getting your degree from an online institution. I have to go back next fall b/c I'm a geology major and I have to do labs and there's just some classes that can't be taken online. Anyways, now I can work from about 9 till whenever, depending on what time I need to go to the barn. That gives me plenty of hours to earn money and I have the weekends free for clinics and showing. I'm also a WS at my barn and that helps as well.
    I don't know how it is at other barns, but in our situation we would love if someone came and said "I can work Fridays". The barn I'm at isn't a typical barn though, seeing as there is no actual barn - it's all pasture board and all the working students have to do is feed and water the horses which takes a whopping total of 30 minutes to an hour, depending.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2009


    Here is my day, Up at 6am, clean up kitchen start, laundry. Wake up two boys ( 14 adn 16) wake up three girls ( 2.5,12) get everyone fed and dressed and out the door. Head to barn, it is a 23 mile trip one way. On the way I see my first patient of the day ( it takes about 20 min and kids wait in the car) I then pick up the baby I watch and make it to the barn by 8:30am. Once I am there I feed ( DD mucks her ponies stall as she is in right now) we then ride. head home by noon. Lunch, naps for smaller kids, I go to school online full time so do that at nap time. When nap is over I home school my 5 yr old, we then leave again and make the SAME trip back to see my patient again ( this time for 10 minutes) pick the boys up from the farm ( they work there full time) and check on horses for the evening ( sometimes we help feed) drop off the baby I watch and head home. Dinner, more homework ( boys go to school in the evening) tubs and bed!
    Starting in Sept I will have two more daycare kids with flexible hours, and I also have patients I see twice a month on a Saturday morning.
    This summer has been awesome, the schedule has worked well and we have not missed a day at the farm. In Sept it gets tougher because we have to ride in the afternoon when for the first couple of months its still pretty HOT! We will make it work and still get our rides in each day but by Oct I am happy for the cooler afternoons!
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2005
    Southern California - Hemet


    Serious time management strategies are your best friend.

    You might want to keep a detailed written record of how you plan to spend your time versus how you actually spent your time for a week or so, then look things over to see what can be made more efficient. You may find that if you rearrange things a bit, some extra time may emerge.

    As for a job that might work for one day per week, have you checked into tutoring opportunities at your college? There also might be other on-campus jobs with a fairly low hours-per-week commitment available.

    I feel your dilemma with trying to balance your time among school, work, horses, and the rest of life. Most of the year I'm juggling two jobs, working on my PhD, and trying to get in sufficient horse time for both my and my mare's well-being. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2008


    I have 5 horses at home, 2 in training, 2 that need to be ridden daily, and one who needs special feed/medications. I'm also a full time student and have a job working 3 weanlings, 2 mares, and training one stallion, daily.

    Caffeine and Prozac. J/k.

    Just have to get a system set up to take the least amount of time to feed/water and prioritize.
    To be loved by a horse, or by any animal, should fill us with awe-
    for we have not deserved it.
    Marion Garretty

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2006


    I am a Pre- K/K teacher, and work Monday-Friday year round 9-5. On the weekends I work at another barn and do stalls in the mornings. Saturday and Sundays I ride my crew (I have 5 horses). I try to get out at least 2-3 other days per week. I have a friend at the barn who rides one of mine, and my mother rides 2 of them during the week as well. Starting in September I'm taking 2 online classes, and one course at campus. It's the first semester of my master's degree. I'm trying to reorganize my schedule to ride more. I also have a few possibilities for leases, which will help keep my horses going. I'm lucky that for my crew 4-5 days per week riding works ok. Also, 3 out of the 5 live outside with a run-in, so they're always wandering around and playing. Our barn is great with all day turnout, and they also get used in lessons by the trainer at our barn. It was much easier when I just had college and horses to juggle!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2004
    NorCal --> NoVA


    What I did in school:

    (Originally I started boarding at a H/J barn that was an hour away, gave up on that and moved horse to a local barn, granted it was a reining barn, but they had some jumps and it worked out much better as it was 15minutes from where I studied/lived)

    Woke up at 5:30am - went to the barn, did morning chores for the farm for 20 horses, compensation came in the form of board. Went to class, came back and did evening chores and rode, if I had evening classes, would ride in the morning. By senior year I could support two horses, it was nice.

    Now I work full time at a private equity firm. I moved out of San Francisco to be closer to job and horse. So now I wake up at 6, get to work by 8am, leave at 5:30pm, ride horse, go home and do my freelance graphic design work (extra compensation to help with horse bills, since rent in and of itself is rediculous in the Bay Area of CA).

    Before I moved out of San Francisco I only managed to ride three days a week - yikes! And had a forty-five minute commute (I used to work in Marketing at an invesment bank and that job sucked my day dry) and had to pay almost triple what I pay now because I needed to have my horse in full training so he was worked when I wasn't around.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Winter Park, Florida


    Here is my Mon--Fri schedule: I drive 30 min to the farm I lease and arrive at 6am (so I am up at 5). Spend 2 hours with my horses..feeding, grooming, medicating. Once it is cooler, I will ride as well. Leave by 8 for the 45 minute commute to work. Leave work at 5:30 and drive back to barn. Feed, turnout, do stalls, and get everything done so I don't have to in the AM...fill buckets, mix feed, put hay in stalls. On Wednesday nights I ride, which gives me (in the hot summer) 4 days of riding a week. (I cannot wait for fall...24 hour turnout, no stalls to clean, no heat and humidity!).
    Until my youngest graduates in 2 years and we buy our own farm, this is how it is...and when I read the threads here about boarding issues, I am so glad I have my own farm.
    But if you are in middle child is going back to USF next week. The plan is to take her horse again..but I am ready to have a heart to heart with her...16 hours of engineering classes, a part time job and studying...I don't know if I can justify boarding her horse if she is only going to ride him 2 days a week..I would rather keep him home and pay her gas and tolls for her to come home on weekends to ride, and I will ride him during the week.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2007
    Central FL


    I couldn't manage my time for regular in person classes so I changed to online only. I have an easier time doing the online because it is during my free-time. Granted there is a lot of writing for online classes and sometimes things get pushed to the side. I showed enough this summer for myself. About twice a month. I had a lot of allergy issues this spring/early summer so that really cut the season short.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2002
    NJ, USA


    It's a juggling act for sure! I wasn't able to ride while working full time and going to grad school, but did through college and for most of my working career. You just have to decide riding has to be in your life, and squeeze it in. But sometimes you have to let other things go, it's all about compromise.

    To help, I second what someone else said - track your actual time spent on current activities, for a week or so. I use an Excel spreadsheet for this, with 15 minute time blocks. After you fill in your actual schedule, copy it and try to move it around to fit in riding and anything else you need to. At least that way you know your hopes are realistic (or not!) A couple times this practice has saved me from the frustration of trying to do more than could possibly be fit into a 24 hour day.

    Sometimes I can squeeze in just about everything I want to do, I call those my "Super Girl" phases. But at times you will feel less energetic, and need to back off. Keep tabs on your stress level & physical health, and back off if you need to. You will gain back energy and be able to fit more in again later.

    Have faith, it can be done, and everyone's solution is individual!

    Good luck,

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2008


    Alarm goes off at 0445. Out of the house by 5am. In summer first horse tacked up, ridden, washed off by 6am, second horse by 7am (dogs come with me one ride or both), 15 mins for flyspray, water refill etc then 15 mins to shower, change etc. In car on way to work by 0730. Arrive at work 0830 work til 1700.

    Home 1800. more fly spray, water, rugs, whatever appropriate, walk dogs. Leave 1845 - go to client and teach (2 evenings a week), teach 7pm to 8pm. Home 2030. clean, eat, sleep. Repeat ad infinitum.

    In winter I can only ride one horse a day because I need to muck out. It's also dark in the morning, it's dark now, but only gets worse... which adds a whole new dimension. Because it's dark both before work and after I choose to ride in the mornings when there is less traffic. Riding at 6pm in the dark with people hurrying to get home isn't good, 5am there's no-one about.

    I'm very lucky in that I have great back up for days I can't be on my normal schedule - I work away from my regular office quite often and my dogs have great care during the day. It's exhausting and socially somewhat limiting, but most of the time it's worth it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2009


    Here is my week. I get up at 6-6:30am feed the dogs, cats, lizard and 2 ridding horses at my house. Drive 7 min to farm where 2 race horses await for some attention. Excerise 1 and turn out the other. Clean both stalls and bath horses when done. Drive 7 min back home take shower and go to work by 8am. while at work take break let dogs out to go potty then back to work. At 4-4:30pm when done with work go home feed all the animals, do housework, pay attention to my son and then cook dinner. If there is time to ride before I will but usually not. That is just monday- Thurs. On Thurs- Sat night I work over nights taking care of people with disabilities. What ever the situation you can make it work if you really try.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2008
    Central Oklahoma


    The only way to make your very busy schedule work is to make sure you don't waste any, and I literally mean, any second.

    When I was a student, I had to be at school by 7:00am, leave school at 5:00pm, to be ready to go to so-called "after-school school" from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, every day M~S. I was in a very competitive school academically wide. On top of that, I had to squeeze in 3 hours of piano practicing daily because I was very competitive in piano performance. How did I do that? Whenever I had a break between school classes, instead of chatting with friends, I was working on my homework so I didn't have to do that at home. Between 5:00pm and 7:00pm, I fit in one hour of piano practicing and dinner. Between 10:00pm and midnight is another two hours of piano practicing.

    I have to tell you, it is very tough. I don't want to go through that again, ever. You will have to sacrifice a lot. But can it be done? Yes. Take a note of everything you do every day. Make sure you don't waste any second of it. And you will probably be very surprised how much time an average person wastes every day...

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