I used to ride early in the mornings so I could get to 8am classes on time. My barn didn't have hours and all the horses were on 24/7 turnout so there was no worry about riling the others up, thinking it was feed time. Nor did I have to worry about interrupting morning feed.
Though I did interrupt my horse's snooze quite often! It was nice to bring him into the barn when it was dark and quiet and he was still sleepy. We had some of our nicest rides. I'd be there at 5:30, do a quick 10 min tack up, and ride til 6:30ish. He'd be turned out by 7:15 and I'd be off to school while the sun was just rising.
Only time I couldn't was when it was cold. I'd have to do a super light hack which didn't seem worth the effort of waking up early or else he'd be too sweaty/hot to put out quickly afterwards and I'd end up late.
i do every morning....get to barn by 6:30, ride until 7:30. Horse has had free choice hay all night, gets breakfast grain after our ride (after he has cooled out of course). Drive 1/2 hr to work, wash up/change clothes/apply makeup there. At desk by 8:30.
it's a very zen way to start the day. For me it's crucial to have EVERYTHING ready the night before. Riding clothes all laid out, work clothes all packed. Down to the coffeemaker that is set to start brewing at 6 AM. That way all I have to do is stumble out of bed, pour the coffee, half-awake pull on my clothes, throw hay to my horses at home, and drive to my coach's barn (where I keep whichever of my 3 horses that's currently in training.)
I did it for about ten years. Up at 5, to the barn by 5:30, 6, ride, home for a shower, then off to work. By far the best was when I was living at the barn where my horse was; walking to the barn was brilliant! But, during that time I lived various distances from the barn and from work. I'm a morning person by nature, though, so it worked really well for me. I should caveat, though, all before children. ;-)
I work from home, with a 10am start time. We have flex time at work so I
can change my 'regular' start/end time to suit my schedule, but it has to
be pretty much the same hours every day.
I'm up, out and on my horse by 7am usually. I board at a no-frills barn,
and while we do have a ring, there are no lights. So it's ride during daylight
or don't ride. If I time it right, I get there just before the horses get fed and
ride my mare before her breakfast. BUT she is also fine about waiting to eat
if I'm there tacking up and everyone else is getting grain. She does not get upset
and knows that I will feed her after I ride. If your horse gets fussy about waiting,
then this won't work for you obviously.
This works well during the spring/summer/fall, but can be a bit dicey during
winter as the ground is often frozen in January and February.
I find that I ride more frequently when I roll out of bed and head to the barn
and am not as tired as I am at the end of the day.
I too ride before work most mornings. I have the arena to myself, and the woman who mucks stalls is always there before me so I don't have to worry about riding alone. The one month that I had to ride after work, it was awful. Too many people around, and I just tired enough that it wasn't much fun. I dread the day when I may have to change a flexible work schedule permanently.
The horse doesn't seem to care. He has been in a stall for about 8 months (it was the b/o's choice, to fill the barn), but is going back on 24/7 pasture board 3/1. He's always outside when I get there, so he's had a chance to munch down some hay before I bring him in.
Being a " morning person" I prefer to ride early in the mornings. I find the horses are more quiet and relaxed too. When I boarded I often went before work to ride depending on how busy my day would be. As long as the BO doesn't object and you can stick to the time you have, give it a try. My horses didn't care if they were worked before eating. Is your horse able to eat his food without having to share it with others?