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The elusive time management question -- how to find horsey time

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  • The elusive time management question -- how to find horsey time

    I guess this is mostly a vent, but lately I have been really frustrated with my lack of horsey time! I am fully responsible for my horses' care, which is wonderful, but I also work full-time and have a busy household. Honestly, right now I'm feeling very dejected on how to go about making fun horsey time. I need to lose some weight, and I have a chubby horse who needs to lose some, too, and we just can't find the time to do it!

    Work is really wearing on me. People are very naggy and demanding. I don't flex my hours, as I need a set schedule every day for horse care, and our office is the kind of place where if you give a little flex time, they have you on call 24/7.

    Also, they do a lot of long office luncheons, and the only thing I can think about is what a waste of time it is. I cannot spend that much time socializing, as I need to get my work done and get home to my horses. It's frustrating.

    The indoor air quality at the office is also terrible, so that was making me feel miserable for a while. I am on medication now which helps a lot. However, after work, there are still barn chores and then household chores. I just feel like I can't get everything done if I take time for the horses, and I don't like to stay up really late because the schedule starts all over again the next day. (By late at night, all I want to do is read a little COTH and go to bed.) Weekends are better, obviously, but I still feel like I'm trying to schedule horsey time around everyone else's weekend schedule.

    It's just wearing on me, and I guess I'm just venting. If anyone read this far and has any tips or tricks for making horsey time in your life, I would love to hear! Or if you just have some words of encouragement or want to wallow in weariness with me, that would be fine, too.

  • #2
    I feel you pain, as I have been there. Maybe if you took a minute to write your schedule down and see where you can possible rearange some housework/horsework time you could possible manage to get a ride or two in during the week, even if it is 1/2 hour.

    For me it was to get up a 1/2 hour to 1 hour earlier so I could get some ride time in during the week.

    Good luck and hope you work at finding a solution.


    • #3
      For me the weather is the enemy.
      In hot weather coming from an office with AC makes it hard for me to switch modes mentally to ride.
      In Winter it's just the physical struggle to get home then deal with barn chores.
      Other times it's just mental laziness.

      I find if I immediately (well - after feeding housecat who will absolutely die if she doesn't eat ASAP) change into riding clothes I can get a ride in.
      I feed hay & mix grain but don't feed that until after riding.

      And, inevitably, I feel better after I ride or work with the horses.
      Dinner may be delayed an hour, but mentally, I am better off for making the effort.
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      • #4
        I take barn clothes to the office and change before I leave, heading straight to the barn. A stop at home totally kills both my momentum and the schedule.

        Can you possibly swap some chores w/ a fellow boarder? The time to take care of a horse is often not as burdensome as all the single trips to where you keep him.

        I hate jobs that want me to participate in a lot of non-work crap. You have my sympathy.
        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


        • #5
          My solution to this type of dilemma this summer was to start getting up an hour earlier. 5 a.m. I really can't afford less sleep but it's a trade off and it is working for me. I can get the rides in and get the stalls done and still beat the heat.

          For me it's essential that I ride in the morning because as the day goes on life intervenes, work takes over, distractions and tangents
          come up and I fizzle out.

          You have to decide what works for you and make it happen.

          You have to be prepared to change something to make it happen.


          • #6
            I empathise with you!

            My horsey time is my lunch hour. I am very very fortunate to board close to my office. I can change and drive there in 12 minutes! I am also very fortunate to have a flexible enough office that I can take an hour and a half lunch 2 or 3 times a week (especially in the summer).

            Other than that, you just have to schedule it. My weekend horsey time is 10 am to 1 pm every Saturday. Yes, some times I have to give that up for "couple time" or unavoidable chores, but usually, that's ME time.
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              I mostly get up early and ride early. I've adjusted my work schedule, and mostly work 10-6. There are days when I go in earlier for meetings.

              It can be frustrating, and sometimes, you just don't get out there, but I found that when I made riding a priority, and let farm beautification slide a bit, I am happier. There is weeding that never gets quite finished and the house is rarely perfect and dinner happens LATE.

              I'm a bit obsessive about efficiency too. "only 5" minutes, if daily is 35 minutes a week, or 2 hours a month.

              Hopefully you'll find a good balance point for you.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks to all for the replies! Yes, I'm really having trouble finding the momentum/motivation.

                I definitely prefer riding in the morning, but on weekdays, I have to be done (off the horse, cooled out, put away) by 6:15 AM at the latest, and that's really tough for me.

                I wish I could flex my work schedule, but any riding is very weather dependent (no indoor), and work just does not understand horses at all.

                I do feel better after riding/working with the horses - I guess I just have to push myself to do it!


                • #9
                  Not a help on schedule shuffling, but one of the neatest psychological tricks I've heard was a woman who totaled up her horse expenses and realized that since her horse cost her $$$ per month, if she rode only 1 hour a week, as she was doing while fighting her schedule, she was in effect paying $$$ per hour to ride. If on the other hand, she rode twice a week, her $$$ per hour rate she paid for horsing dropped by 50%. If she rode 4 times per week, her per hour payment for horsing dropped substantially yet again. Imagine the savings if she rode 5 times per week! Or every day!

                  In other words, the more she rode, the more money she saved!

                  She was very financially minded. She promptly started finding that extra time more and more in her schedule, and not only did she feel better physically, cope with other stressors better, and enjoy her horse more (and save money), she advanced three dressage levels in one year.

                  Remember: Riding your horse twice as much represents a 50% savings in your per hour horse expenses!


                  • #10
                    I work full time too and it can often be more than 40 hours, so I understand your pain, especially if you are trying to compete!

                    Basically, I make riding the #1 priority. I come home from work and do NOT sit down (do not pass go, do not collect $200), put on my breeches and go. I always feel better after horse time. Generally, I don't do much housework -- it's just going to get dirty again anyway, what's the point? -- other than what is necessary (starting the dishwasher or washing machine on occasion or giving the floor a quick sweep). I figure my horse is the most important component of my mental health, so I tend to that first!
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo


                    • #11
                      I love the $-per-ride idea! I try never to actually think about how much I spend on my horse, but maybe I should give that a go. (:

                      I also will bring my barn clothes to work and change there--even bringing them and telling myself that I'll change at the barn can sap my motivation.

                      I also try thinking in advance about something I want to try doing or working on that day when I ride or see my horse--whether it's really detangling and brushing out his tail or working on his canter or just going out to explore that one trail I've never been on. It helps if I have a specific thing in mind to motivate me, instead of saying, "Eh, I guess I should go ride today." I sometimes make a schedule out for myself if I'm really feeling lazy, trying to be realistic about conflicts.
                      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                      Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                      • #12
                        A few things have helped me get more horse time lately. I wish I figured them out long before this!

                        1) Schedule time on your calendar to ride. My colleague ribs me about my "6:00 Ride" appointment twice a week on my calendar, but it really helps to know I've scheduled and protected that time during my work week.

                        2) I have more time on weekends, so I try to give myself permission to do the minimum groom job and stall cleaning during the week, knowing that on the weekend I'll take the extra time to do it really right! It gives me more time in the saddle during the week.

                        3) While I love my barn friends, I try to be very efficient and focused on the task at hand during the week, stopping and chatting very briefly, or catching up at the same time as doing a task. I move much slower on the weekend to get all caught up with my friends!

                        4) I try not to vary my barn routine if I can possibly help it. If I try to do anything extra or get caught up in something I hadn't planned on doing, it just slows me down. I jot down that extra task on a list that I can tackle on the weekend.

                        All these little time savers add up! Good luck!
                        Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.


                        • #13
                          It worked for me to bring my horsey clothes with me to school, because my energy fizzled out otherwise if I stopped at home. It's easier to go-go-go than take a break and try to get restarted.

                          Scheduling is also a great way to work in horse time. One time I figured out how much time I waste on the internet/tv... and it was rather pathetic. When I cut down on that, I was able to do SO much more in the day!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HappyHorsey View Post

                            The indoor air quality at the office is also terrible, so that was making me feel miserable for a while. I am on medication now which helps a lot. However, after work, there are still barn chores and then household chores. I just feel like I can't get everything done if I take time for the horses, and I don't like to stay up really late because the schedule starts all over again the next day. (By late at night, all I want to do is read a little COTH and go to bed.) Weekends are better, obviously, but I still feel like I'm trying to schedule horsey time around everyone else's weekend schedule.

                            It's just wearing on me, and I guess I'm just venting. If anyone read this far and has any tips or tricks for making horsey time in your life, I would love to hear! Or if you just have some words of encouragement or want to wallow in weariness with me, that would be fine, too.
                            Have you talked to your boss/ building manager about the air quality?

                            It is a very real problem for many buildings and needs to be addressed with your superiors.

                            At the very least, try a HEPA filter in your office/cubicle. Mine has been a godsend.
                            Love my "Slow-T T B"
                            2010 OTTB, Dixie Union x Dash for Money