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Horses & Babies

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    Horses & Babies

    Perhaps this is sort of a personal topic, but I just wanted some insight from those of you whom are parents with young children. How do you keep up with your riding/find time for the barn whilst raising a family? I'm in the position / at an age now where my partner and I are throwing around the idea of children in the next few years. My biggest concern with all of this? Barn time.

    I've been spoiled in the sense that I have my own young warmblood and since we both have our own hobbies, we pursue those greatly and with majority of our free time. I know with family comes some sacrifice, so not as much barn time as I was once able to pursue, but how do you guys manage? Would barn time be an item of the past or is it workable while being a mom (with the support of your boyfriend/husband)? We've had personal talks about this matter and it was reassured that we would make it work, but I'd just like some other insights from people in similar situations or have experienced this! Thanks in advance.

    It can work just fine. How much experience do you have with children in general? I grew up the oldest in a large family so for me dragging my kiddo around was NBD. I had a front pack, wore that with kiddo in it while doing things. Got too big for that, used a back pack. I also had a playpen and toys stored in my tack area. I adjusted my goals dramatically because let's be honest - kids ain't cheap and they are time consuming.

    If you board, I would strongly encourage you to find out just how 'child friendly' your barn is. If it's not, you may need to move. Or figure out how to get a babysitter so you get your barn time in. One thing I did was do my riding during times the barn was not so busy.

    Make darn sure your partner is on board with "downsizing" his hobby time too!

    Oh and when my kiddos were old enough to be toddling around, I bought them bicycle helmets to wear at the barn.

    One thing I will tell you is as soon as you put them in the playpen for your riding time, even with their favorite toys, they will scream for mommy. Because. Just because. Learn to ignore it. They will live. And they will learn a valuable life skill - a bit of independence.


      Mine is 18 months now so I can share my experience at the beginning stage. I own one horse, and my boarding stable takes care of feeding hay , cleaning his stall, and turning him out during the day (I feed grain & supplements). I have a coach I take lessons with, but generally only I ride him.

      I was able to ride regularly throughout my pregnancy up to delivery. After the baby was born my horse got 3 weeks off. After the first few days, I started going back out to grain and groom him.

      For me, with drive time I need at least 2 hours to go to the barn and get a ride in. Usually I go before work, so I help get the baby ready for daycare but DH takes him to daycare while I go ride, and I pick him up. During the weekend I ride one or both days, usually with my DH babysitting or occasionally I take the baby to my parents. It is challenging, but can be done with a supportive partner. And you trusting that partner! He may not do things the same way I do, or would want, but that's fine.

      My son has been to the barn with me a handful of times, and he likes to pet the horses and he sits on my horse while he eats grain, but it's just easier to leave him at home.


        It is absolutely wonderful to share your passion with your children. Among all the wonders of the world you can share, horses have to be one of the neatest. At some point, they may not enjoy it as much as you, but at least they have been exposed and have an appreciation for animals.

        I think it is better to have horses at home with your kids. You can control the environment and make it safe. Bringing kids with you to the boarding barn would be hard. Babies especially. Could you move your horse to pasture board, if you needed to? I stopped riding with a baby, but my husband works long hours.

        If your situation is different, or you have a family member that would love some special time with your baby while you get some horse time, it could work quite well

        Our son is in his middle school years and trail rides with me on his own horse, who he really adores.


          This is a very timely thread for me as I’m currently at home with a newborn (our first). So far I’ve been able to get out to the barn 2-3 times a week for an hour or two while my husband stays home with the baby. Thankfully I’m at a very small private barn just a few miles from home so when COVID-19 isn’t such a concern I could probably bring the baby with me for short stints. However, I think the break from being “on duty” is very valuable too.

          My riding goals are not ambitious, my horse is older and does not need to be ridden everyday so not a lot of pressure to get out there. So depending on your ambition you may need to re-evaluate for a year or two and put riding on the back burner. Before our our little guy actually arrived I really thought I would have more time to get things done but it’s proven to be more challenging than I imagined (but also amazing and rewarding!).

          Anyway, sorry for the novel but in short I would say anything is possible with a supportive partner but I would also be prepared to reevaluate your riding goals as your world is really going to be shaken!


            Here are a couple swift thoughts:

            1. Y'all parents will both need to be flexible regarding the other's hobby time. If not, resentment will build and that's no fun for anyone.

            2. You'll need to put into practice that "his" way of feeding/putting the baby down/burping etc is okay. This is something that folks say will be fine before the baby comes - "oh, I trust him and I'm sure we'll be on the same page." In my experience, even easy going mothers (like me, ahem) can become irritable tyrants about The Way It Needs to be Done.(Kind of how a horsewoman might be particular about her horsekeeping.) I had to learn to let go of this. Just bear in mind it might happen to you too. All of this is relevant for when you *do* get to leave the house for a block of time.

            3. Your ability to have barn time is just gonna be highly individualistic. It'll depend on how close the barn is to your house, or whether the baby is a night owl or whether he/she is colicky, has a cold or teething. Or whether your husband has a cold, needs to work or needs a mental break himself. That first year with a baby is kind of like the pandemic, time-wise. I found that having a baby is quite isolating - you don't get out much, your attention is really occupied. Time moves so slowly in the moment, but whoa, suddenly the first year is gone and you don't have a baby any more, you've got a toddler.

            So that first year will be an experiment. You'll need to adjust here and there. It's not likely gonna be a time where you're going to make tons of progress toward XYZ horsey goal. But if you want to hang out with your horse, and ride some, and get some good lessons in - then sure, that's plenty doable.


              I remember having an argument with a friend before I had kids. She said, "you'll never find the time to ride again." And I was like, "you don't know me, yes I will." She had given up riding pretty much completely when she had her first kid. I did not.

              I have two children. I rode at a higher level during and after having kids than I had in the many years before. At the end of the day it comes down to your priorities. You MIGHT decide that horses aren't a priority after having a baby. Or you MIGHT feel like it's even more of a priority. Hard to say until you do it. But IF horses are still a priority, it's not inherently that difficult to get out and ride....especially if you have a supportive partner. My husband was always AOK with taking the kid(s) while I did what I needed to do.

              I do have my horses at home, so it was admittedly a little easier not having to go somewhere to ride. But I used to put my kids down to nap and then would run out to ride, with baby monitor in hand, while they slept. Even with baby in tow, I still showed as much as I did before kids, and kept jumping at the same level as I had been prior. I usually managed to get 3-4 horses ridden each day, though sometimes spread out between nap time and other points during the day when I could get away.
              Flying F Sport Horses
              Horses in the NW


                Adorable picture! That pretty much expresses my feeling about horses too!


                  Never hit subscribe so quickly on a thread Due with my first at the end of September and this has long been a worry of mine. But even these days I'm often so tired after work that riding would be more a chore than fun; it's helping me to understand that yeah, it might just NOT be a massive deal after baby comes... And I'm actually okay with that now!

                  Mare is a senior now and could happily continue in full work (I'm trying to find a regular leasor) but will be just fine if she gets semi-retired while I figure out what new life looks like. Husband has been learning to ride and really enjoying it, so I'm hoping he'll stay interested and we can make it a family activity just so I can stay regular with horse time, whether that's in the saddle or not. My parents are local and love grandkid time, so I have no doubts that they will be happy to babysit once or twice a week so I can go ride.


                    Also going to follow this! I have 3 horses at home and do 95% of the work myself (husband helps with night check and a hay toss here and there). Can you do it all with a baby strapped to your front/back? I know pregnancy is a whole different question when it comes to physical labor. But yeah, that's what I think about the most.
                    "I'd rather have a horse. A horse is at least human, for god's sake." - J.D. Salinger


                      watching the kids grow up with Their horses in their backyard is/was priceless for us.... really never a dull moment as everything was an adventure
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                      Planning is required, what really needs to be done gets put on a scale of necessity.... I believe sweeping the floors in the house had a zero level attached.

                      There are compromises that will be needed (unless one is truly wealthy then you can have the paid help do all of Those Things and report back)

                      Expect to be told you are crazy for spending all that money on Horses, which I was told often (but later, the skeptics were less and less critical as the events turned in our favor)


                        Originally posted by BayBondGirl View Post
                        Never hit subscribe so quickly on a thread Due with my first at the end of September


                          It's easy to have a baby and still have horses in your life. It's not as easy for it to be the same as it was before the baby. The biggest factor is having a supportive partner, followed by your motivation, energy level, and other obligations.

                          I had a workaholic husband for the first 2 years, then no one after that. My horses are at home and I was able to keep riding, but not often enough to have my horse ready to compete in eventing. Horse care was no problem - either during naps, in a backpack carrier, or with a toddler playing in the barn. It got better with time.


                            We’ve been trying for 6 months with little success. I know it can take awhile, and not to worry to much until you’ve been trying for a year, but the horses + babies has been on my mind for, well, the last 6 months! Nice to hear how others handled it.


                              Beaudacious and BayBondGirl - Congrats to you both! (My tagging isn’t working)

                              It’s also a timely thread for me; we had our first child in March. We have 5 horses & donkeys at home. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been struggling balancing horses and motherhood over the past couple months. I’m hoping it gets a little easier once my son gets older (ha). I have not been riding; the idea of adding riding to the mix is overwhelming. My wonderfully supportive husband stepped up to handle a lot of the barn chores when I usually do them all myself.
                              Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                                My horse fell in love with my baby. A friend was letting me keep him in her huge pasture for a few weeks before and after my delivery. When the baby was about a month old, I took him to meet my horse. He was out of sight when we got to the pasture, so I called him. I could hear his galloping hoof beats. He was coming as fast as he could. I held out the baby for him to sniff, which he did thoroughly.

                                We were able to keep our horses with us until the baby was twelve. My DH was kind about keeping them for me while I rode. When my boys would go to the pasture with me, my big horse would curve his head and neck around them like he was hugging them.

                                Depending on your horses' temperaments, I would definitely give them a chance to meet your children. Children are the way you build your family. It can be the most important job you do. The love you give to your children will be paid back many times. Then you get to watch them have their children. More to love, more joy to have. The horses will understand that now you have to share your time.


                                  Texarkana Congratulations to you too! Crossing my fingers for you that you’re able find some time and energy to get back in the saddle soon!


                                    Originally posted by starhorse View Post
                                    Also going to follow this! I have 3 horses at home and do 95% of the work myself (husband helps with night check and a hay toss here and there). Can you do it all with a baby strapped to your front/back? I know pregnancy is a whole different question when it comes to physical labor. But yeah, that's what I think about the most.
                                    Yes, you can. Assuming you are healthy and your pregnancy is healthy. When I was pregnant with my youngest I was working at a boarding barn mucking stalls. I also continued to ride until I felt uncomfortable doing so. I continued to work out as much as was comfy, with modifications.

                                    Once baby was born, and I returned to mucking, feeding, etc., YES, you can do it with baby strapped to front or back. When mine got old enough for the back pack (instead of front), I put him on and got busy with my chores. He loved it. Got to drool in my hair and see what Mom was doing! LOL.

                                    Babies alter your life in ways nobody can describe to you. Every single person's experience will be different - no matter what anyone tells you.


                                      Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
                                      He loved it. Got to drool in my hair and see what Mom was doing! LOL.
                                      This would have made me go "ew" not that long ago; now it makes me grin like an idiot and think "aww!"

                                      Clearly the hormones are doing their job!


                                        Originally posted by rockymouse View Post
                                        Here are a couple swift thoughts:

                                        1. Y'all parents will both need to be flexible regarding the other's hobby time. If not, resentment will build and that's no fun for anyone.

                                        2. You'll need to put into practice that "his" way of feeding/putting the baby down/burping etc is okay. This is something that folks say will be fine before the baby comes - "oh, I trust him and I'm sure we'll be on the same page." In my experience, even easy going mothers (like me, ahem) can become irritable tyrants about The Way It Needs to be Done.(Kind of how a horsewoman might be particular about her horsekeeping.) I had to learn to let go of this. Just bear in mind it might happen to you too. All of this is relevant for when you *do* get to leave the house for a block of time.
                                        Oh man, I remember this. Not me, I don't have kids, but my sister-in-law and brother. She had been an au pair before she married my brother and apparently her way was the only way (and she did things wrong and "wrong" as well). But she would berate my brother about how to do things to the point where he just didn't offer, then she got mad because he wouldn't offer to do anything. Then, she got mad at me for pointing out the logic line.

                                        Don't be that person.