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Not Enough Time--Midwinter Vent

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  • Not Enough Time--Midwinter Vent

    I have three horses that I keep at home on my small farm. We have no arena, but we do have some nice trails. Perfect, right? The problem is I never have time to ride. I mean, literally never. I have two young children (ages 5 years and 9 months) and I work at home, which is great because it means my kids don't have to be in full-time daycare. The baby has never been in day care, and my daughter has Pre-K three days a week. On the other hand, that means I have no time at all when I'm neither working nor caring for the kids--therefore I can't go jaunting off on a trail ride, leaving the babies home alone.

    One of my horses is retired and unsound. (Of course, he's the one that eats the most--go figure.) My other horses are 13 and 10 this year. I love them, and they are both so great to ride--but I feel like I'm being forced to put riding on hold until both of my children are in school--in five years. The horses will then be 18 and 15! I don't want to wait that long! Aside from the time issue, there's the ever-present financial burden. I can--just barely--afford to keep these expensive beasts at home, but boarding and lessons would be a stretch. I'd love to board one of them at an indoor for the winter, but it's hard to imagine being able to prioritize the funds for that--and then I still wouldn't really have time to ride much, so it would be a waste anyway. I did board at my trainer's barn this summer, and I only ended up riding two or three times a week, and it was really hard to eke out even that much time.

    I guess I just feel time slipping by, and I keep telling myself, someday I'll have the time and money to do the horse thing the way I want to. But when will that be? Just a vent, I guess. Looking for commiseration and advice from other parents with young children and horses.

  • #2
    I know money's tight, but is there any way you could hire a sitter to watch the baby for a few hours while your older one is in pre-K? So you would at least be riding *some* of the time...
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


    • #3
      No kiddies, thankfully, but I also have 3 horses at home, work from home, and have dealt with the "not enough time" feeling this winter. I don't know how one could ever get any riding in if also caring for children! quietann has a good suggestion - if you could just have a sitter come in for a couple of hours so you can ride, that seems like a good option.

      If you can't swing boarding, as you mentioned, maybe if you have a trainer that knows you and your horses, they might have a half leaser or something that might help with the bills? You'd still have to find time to go ride, but at least you'd only be paying 1/2 as much and your horse would stay in some work too, and you'd not feel too bad about only going a couple times a week.

      This is my first time having my horses here AND being able to ride (we put an arena in last fall -- before that, the "working" horses had to be boarded out). I have been limited by the weather more than anything (very wet fall/winter here), but when I do get to ride, I'm scrambling to get them all done. I am in awe of those that have full time jobs, children, any sort of non-horse life, and still can do it!


      • #4
        Can you find a babysitter who will trade for some ride time?


        • #5
          I feel you! I get out maybe once a week? Thank god my mare is in good hands and I don't ever worry about her. It feels like if it's not DH's job, its the weather!

          I second Gallop's advice. Find a sitter who will be happy to swap ride time for some baby-sitting duties while your older one is in school.


          • Original Poster

            I considered that last year and put out some feelers, but nothing materialized. I would love to find just the perfect person who might be willing to trade child care for, say, a half-lease on one of my horses. I'm not in a very heavily populated area, so it's not easy to find someone that A) Would be interested in that kind of a deal, and B) Would be someone that I'd trust not only to care for my baby, but to ride my horses. Maybe I will try again this spring.


            • #7
              I'm guessing that you don't have family in the area either? I'm sorry! Where are you located? Maybe you have a COTHer near you that might be able to help, or at least hook you up with some resources!


              • #8
                I have been there and I feel for you. When my kids were small my in-laws lived on the same farm as us, but I never felt right about asking mom to watch the kids so I could ride. I had to improvise on the type of riding I did, got out the playpen, toys etc and did light riding while watching the kids play( or scream) . It does get better because they do get older, quickly. Now I have plenty of time, but live in the North where it is just too cold to ride right now. So I am venting too.


                • Original Poster

                  I live in Western Maine. Superminion, I just noticed you're in Vermont! I just spent 2 days at my sister's house in Fairlee.

                  My parents and my in-laws are each about an hour away, in opposite directions. In-laws are no help, but my mom does come over for a day of baby-playing a couple of times a month--but usually I spend that time working. Since I don't have a regular 9-to-5 schedule, I end up squeezing in work time whenever I have a chance.

                  candyappy, I have done that, left my son in his stroller napping and/or crying while I rode in the ring at my trainer's. I couldn't handle the guilt, though. Plus at home I don't even have an arena, so that's not really an option.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JCS View Post

                    candyappy, I have done that, left my son in his stroller napping and/or crying while I rode in the ring at my trainer's. I couldn't handle the guilt, though. Plus at home I don't even have an arena, so that's not really an option.
                    I didn't have an arena either, just a flat field next to the house which enabled me to ride at least BRIEFLY until the kids had a complete meltdown( why do people buy playpens? kids hate them). They never remember the crying and at least I was spending a little time with the horses.


                    • #11
                      Check with some of the local churches to see it they have a Mother's Day Out program. A couple of our churches do. It was basically a day care type setting that let you drop your kid off a couple of times a week or so while Mom ran errands, shopped, whatever. The kids would probably benefit from the socialization and you would get some "me" time.
                      I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.


                      • #12
                        When I was in your position I only had one horse so that's a lot less work. (You might look into cutting back on your herd). I had a small house and a big yard. I would settle the baby down for his nap and ask my three year old to come and get me if he started crying. Then I'd turn on tv to Sesame street and Mr. Rogers. Presto! Two whole hours to ride. The only catch was I rode round and round the house- pretending it was a fine arena and having a great time. In a year or so you could trade one of your horses for a pony, teach the five year old to ride, and the baby can ride in front of you. It will get easier. There's a funny thing about these years of babyhood. They fly by so quickly you won't believe it. You have decades to come of time to ride without kids. You can work this out and meanwhile, give thanks for your precious, irreplaceable blessings. I know it's tough but this too shall pass. (((HUGS))).


                        • #13
                          I may have missed something, but where is these kids' father? Hand them to him and say, "I'm going to ride. Take care of the kids."
                          Everybody lies - Gregory House, M.D.


                          • #14
                            It's got to do with work, I'd imagine. In the summer, we can ride because it's light until late (after Dad gets home). In the winter, when it's dark at 5....well, that makes it harder. (Of course, I'm projecting...if that's not the case, then this has just become my own whiny vent).

                            Here are things that I have seen as suggestions that are good...

                            Can you get some lights and clear an area as an "arena" to ride? They have those work lights that are pretty good.

                            Can you find a college student that will watch kids for a lunch hour?


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by DakotaTA View Post
                              I may have missed something, but where is these kids' father? Hand them to him and say, "I'm going to ride. Take care of the kids."
                              Good point! LOL. In fact, he is currently acting as stay-at-home Dad while I work. His job is seasonal, but he's EXTREMELY busy spring through fall, and then gets a couple of months of down time in the winter. It's great for him to have this time with the kids, but the flip side of the coin is that I'm the sole breadwinner for those couple of months, so I work as much as I can.


                              • #16
                                So you're telling me that your husband can't watch your kids by himself without killing them for an hour a few days a week?

                                You are married and if you want an hour to spend on a horse a few days a week it should not be such a big deal. Either he's a lazy unhelpful bum or you are an overprotective mother with a bag of excuses.

                                I know I'm being very blunt, but the time is there if you want it to be there.


                                • #17
                                  Stay at home dad? really? I can't believe you have an issue...??? My DH would say ok have fun!!!!

                                  this totally changes things. you work from home, the horses are at home....Go ride. Seriously.

                                  I'd love to have "only those" obstacles. We all have things that might prevent us from riding (time, money, job, pets, family, etc). I made it work because its important to me and I have to commute to the barn after a long day at work (and other commitments).


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                    So you're telling me that your husband can't watch your kids by himself without killing them for an hour a few days a week?

                                    You are married and if you want an hour to spend on a horse a few days a week it should not be such a big deal. Either he's a lazy unhelpful bum or you are an overprotective mother with a bag of excuses.

                                    I know I'm being very blunt, but the time is there if you want it to be there.


                                    • #19
                                      Color me confused.
                                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                      • #20
                                        Instead of saying "I don't have time to xxx" try saying "xxx is not a priority for me."

                                        True, right? Interesting how it changes your perspective.