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Moms: Looking for advice on staying involved in horses during pregnancy.

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  • #21
    Congratulations! I totally agree with hand-me-downs--best ever. I have friends with slightly older kiddos, and between that and grandparents, haven't had to buy much in the way of clothes yet (he's two). I kept riding through end of pregnancy, but ended up working A LOT on on walk at the end, not so much because my mare is a dingbat (tho she is at times) but because my center of balance was so off. At times I thought she was off trotting her, but then got off and longed and nope, just all that extra weight wasn't getting balanced right. Figured it wasn't fair to her and turned out to be good since walk is kind of the forgotten gait with me.

    When my son was teeny weeny, he sacked out in the car seat while I was riding--now, not so much. Along the way, though, I acquired a 12 h driving pony (best $300 I ever spent on Craigslist, though my husband probably disagrees) and have had a great time working up to CDE type stuff. Now that my son can wear a helmet and sit (sort of) still beside me on the cart, he comes along while I condition the pony...as far as riding, though, my husband and I have to take turns riding herd on him and riding the horse.

    Fortunately for me, we're in S Idaho and pasture board isn't crazy expensive. Kids are expensive wherever you are, but what can you do? I did set up a "pony fund" secret savings account and drip money into it when I could, for stuff like buying the pony a cart.

    If you have any interest in Combined Driving, I've found driving folks super friendly and helpful to people who are considering their sport. I went to clinics just to watch while I was still in the pre-cart purchase phase and ground driving, and got offers of rides around the cones course, etc. Now that I've got a Pony Mobile, I'm addicted. I think the sport is still relatively new, especially in the west, so people are still supportive of new drivers and want to encourage them. So, for me, it's something horsey I can do with my kiddo AND it turns out I like flying around obstacles behind the pony, god help me, even more than I like flying over obstacles on my mare (not that I would tell her that)...


    • #22
      During my pregnancies I taught my horses how to long line and also worked them in hand. I did ride until I was uncomfortable (different amounts of time for each) but found the work I did on the ground to be very rewarding.

      Congrats on your pregnancy!
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • Original Poster

        Thank you for all the words of encouragement. Lots of collective wisdom! Hearing your stories of staying involved in horses through pregnancy and the infant stage helps me feel more peaceful about the whole thing.


        • #24
          Can't help but ask .... do we need to blame the champagne?


          • #25
            Originally posted by cottonXCblondie View Post

            x4387587475 on babywearing! I had a Moby wrap but if I could do it again would probably get a BabyHawk. I didn't have a horse of my own at the time so it wasn't a huge deal when I was pregnant but I go my horse when DD was about 18mos old and started fitting riding in when DH got off work in the evening and could chase her around the barn. DD is totally into the pony thing and fearless to boot.
            I have a Babyhawk (Mei Tai) best $40 I spent on baby stuff ever! My Smooshy is a little over a year now (how did that happen?) and we still use it for chores daily, it's not as comfortable now he is huge but still works fine. I just got a woven wrap (like a Moby but more supportive) to do back carries.

            I guess the main thing is to have realistic goals, I don't have family to help with childcare and my husband is gone a lot for work so i don't get as much in saddle time as I would like. It has to be scheduled. I'm pretty stoked to start taking lessons soon and I would like it to be more frequently but I'm still doing it.

            Kinda off topic but we are very minimalist when it comes to baby stuff, like all of the Smooshy's toys fit into a laundry basket. I'm a fairly unconventional person and I'm pretty crunchy but it fits in with my lifestyle. Baby wearing, breast feeding, feeding Smooshy what I'm eating (haven't bought baby food yet!) cloth diapering all save a ton of money and a lot of the "attachment parenting" philosophies fit in with our lifestyle.
            Last edited by dangerbunny; Apr. 30, 2013, 01:58 PM. Reason: sucking at quoting
            for more Joy then you can handle


            • #26
              Congratulations, OP!

              We moved your thread here to Off Course where you can get non-discipline-specific input from the maternal horsey crew.

              Mod 1


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Moderator 1 View Post
                Congratulations, OP!

                We moved your thread here to Off Course where you can get non-discipline-specific input from the maternal horsey crew.

                Mod 1
                Thanks! So used to posting in the eventing forum that I post there out of habit.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by babecakes View Post
                  Can't help but ask .... do we need to blame the champagne?
                  Hahaha, nope. That was my last horse's show name. He was a palomino : )


                  • #29
                    For cloth diapering advice, go to www.greenmountaindiapers.com, it saved my sanity when I was trying to decide what to buy. It is sooooo much cheaper than regular diapers if you are sticking to a budget. I also got all of DS's baby clothes online for the first six months for $65 on Craigslist. I stacked all sorts of coupons at Babies R Us and ended up with most of my furniture and big purchases (stroller, carseat, breast pump) about 70% off. My hubby and I are switching to very flexible work schedules, and it helps that we both ride.
                    Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay


                    • #30

                      I think that my number one best ally is DH. He is so willing to step in 7 nights a week if he needs to so that I can ride. He works crazy long hours and isn't home a lot, so he enjoys spending the time with DD 'catching up'. He also enjoys coming out to the barn to watch and groom, so that's a plus too. Remember... he's not babysitting, he's parenting! I have to try really hard not to get too greedy about it, and always try to make it as easy on him as possible (so dinner all ready to go in the crock pot, clean(ish... as clean as you can get with a toddler) house, etc.) and I really let him know that I appreciate him. *wink wink* There were days that I could be out riding, but would chose to stay home with him. It's a balance!

                      I also second those who suggest baby wearing. I wouldn't have been able to do half of what I do without it. It even makes non-horsey activities like walking the dog and grocery shopping a breeze! DD is 14 months old and loves to hang out in her back pack. My Ergo is the one thing that I splurged on but I totally advise that you try as many on as you can before you decide. I went through a few different brands before finding one that was most comfortable for my build. I also breastfed and DD went right to solids. The only baby food that we've bought are those HappyTot snack pouches because I'm A)too lazy to do it myself and B) DD loves them at the barn. I also second (third?) a jogging stroller. We never even used the stroller that came with our car seat! Also recommend a bug netting of some sort for in the summer!

                      I rode until 6 months with DD. I was back in the saddle 4 weeks after I had her and started my mare 6 weeks PP. To keep my hand in the pot when I wasn't riding (so to speak) I volunteered for EVERYTHING horse related that I could think of. Scribing, announcing, ring stewarding, grooming, and I still did chores 4-5 days a week. I think it also helped me stay in shape and not become one with the couch! My OB was a horse person and knew it was a losing battle to tell me no.

                      I'm not currently riding with this one because I've been dealing with HG and just don't have the energy. As I've started feeling significantly better, I'll be back in the saddle as long as I can.

                      I think that the most important thing to remember is to just stay flexible. Before my eggo got preggo this second time around, I still wasn't getting out to the barn consistently. DH's job (military) comes first all the time and late nights (as in 10-11-12) are the norm around here. It happens. My horses aren't going to die, and I know that eventually (one of these days... maybe) I'll have more time with them, but for now I take what I can get, enjoy the time that I spend at the barn, and don't put pressure on myself to accomplish anything. The time when your little one is little goes so quickly!

                      Good luck!


                      • #31
                        Everyone here is being super optimistic, and that's cool, but I'd like to reset expectations a bit lower not knowing OP and knowing how hard it was when I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do. The better off you are financially, certainly the more options you will have.

                        One of the best things you can do for yourself is to try to find yourself a mommy-friend who you like as an adult and who has a child compatible with yours in age. This is hard for many of us to do these days, but if you can, it will make many things much much easier, because you can swap child care/playdates between you and not have guilt about it.

                        Another great thing to do while you are pregnant is to scribe for dressage. It's fun to do and incredibly educational, and if you can't ride, you're not giving up your riding time to do it. View it as an opportunity to do a lot of these things that there isn't usually time to do.

                        Whatever happens (and I do mean pretty much the whole gamut of whatever), eventually, you will be able to ride again. With luck that will be a few weeks after birth, but if it's not, you will be OK. Stay open to possibilities, however they present.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                        • #32
                          Well, I had a big long response typed out on my iPad. It took forever because I was typing one handed while nursing my 11 week old son. BUT before I could post, he flailed an arm and somehow deleted the whole thing. There might be some allegory there because I don't really have any advice. My best laid (and very flexible, with backups and backups for my backups) failed. I just thought I would share my experience (so far).

                          It took me 2 years to get pregnant, so I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do horse-wise. I had a lot of the thoughts the OP expressed, especially the thing about horses being an important part of my identity and not wanting to lose that. Riding has always been an central part of my relationship with horses, but I realized it might have to go on the back burner for a while. I had always lived in the city and commuted 45-60 minutes each way to the barn, and I knew that wasn't going to work if I wasn't riding. I'm not the type of person who will regularly make a 2 hour round trip just to kiss my horse on the nose.

                          I convinced DH that we should move to where we could have the horses at home, and he agreed (though not without reservations). The place we chose did not come with horse facilities, so I planned to put in a small shed row barn with attached paddocks to minimize chores. A compromise with DH, the property is only 1 acre. But it is on the town trail system and flanked by three boarding stables, including one with an indoor so I don't need my own arena. I also thought they would be handy if I ended up on bed-rest (which I didn't) or was too big/sleep deprived to do chores for a while. My basic idea was that while I may not be riding, my horses would be part of my day for feeding and chores and I would be able to look out the window and see them throughout the day.

                          We moved into our new home two days before I got my positive pregnancy test. Unfortunately, I was super zonked out during my first trimester and the project of bringing horses home (my town has a lot of regulations that must be met) was beyond me. Someone mentioned not wanting to become one with the couch. I became one with the couch! My project horse was across the street in training and I barely even visited him.

                          By the time I was in my second trimester and had the energy to take on the project, it was almost winter. My event horse was in FL recuperating/rehabbing from a complicated injury and it seemed silly to bring him home just in time for a New England winter, especially since I had already sold my project horse so he wouldn't have a turnout buddy. So here I had this flexible plan with a lot of options, and so far I've achieved none of it. So much for horses being in the background!

                          I had a c-section and was cleared for riding at six weeks. Around that time, the vet declared the event horse officially trail sound (cautiously optimistic that he may return to competition) so he's coming home soon, yay! And I have an offer accepted on my "dream" young horse, pending a successful vet check.

                          My idea is to pay teenage students of my trainer to stand outside the ring with DS, either in the jog stroller or carrier (whatever he will tolerate), while I ride. The only complication is that the rehabbing horse really needs to be out of the arena and walking trails. Two nearby barns - including the one across the street, and the one where my trainer is based - have big xcty fields that would allow me to do straight lines/hill work while keeping the teenager/baby within line of sight/cry. The young horse needs to be in full training (at least at first), and having both horses at one of these facilities would cross the $2k/mo line. When I was working, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal, but for a variety of reasons, I am not, so that is a pretty big monthly bill!

                          For that reason, I probably shouldn't be buying the young horse but I kind of doubt the event horse will stay sound and I want to mitigate some of the heartbreak that will ensue when that happens. I really love that event horse!

                          In the meantime, I am working on putting in the barn/paddocks in at home so I can at least have the event horse here, but I won't be able to ride w/o professional child care. Even just a few days a week, child care costs about the same as the more expensive horse board. The only thing more expensive in New England than horse board is child care!

                          I'm still not sure how to resolve all of that. DH is a corporate lawyer, so he can't be very helpful, and our families live across the country. I know people who somehow do all of this PLUS have jobs, so it must be possible but I am just not up to it.

                          All I know is that I am getting on a horse during the month of May, mark my words!!!


                          • #33
                            Bip, I would get a reliable teenager or college student to watch the baby in the house. If I am within sight/cry zones, I can't relax and focus on the horse. Instead I have one eye on the baby and a distracted rider is less safe than a focused one.

                            I work and my answer for riding time is that I ride before picking up my children from daycare/preschool, or after bedtime in hot weather. This works great for me and doesn't cost more (due to the nature o my job I have to pay for full time care even though I usually pick up midafternoon). My hours are part time but unpredictable week to week.

                            I use my ergo a lot for non-horse stuff but keep the baby in the stroller while feeding because I think it is safer to park the kid away from large, unpredictable animals.

                            Good luck, OP. it is a challenge but you can make it work as long as you figure out something that works for you, baby and DH.


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                              Bip, I would get a reliable teenager or college student to watch the baby in the house. If I am within sight/cry zones, I can't relax and focus on the horse. Instead I have one eye on the baby and a distracted rider is less safe than a focused one.
                              He's only 11 weeks old. He doesn't leave my sight unless he is with DH, one of his grandmothers (who live across the country but visit frequently), or MAYBE a professional day care facility.


                              • #35
                                Adding: Childcare is more than board here. I pay $250 a month for board and childcare is like....140x4=....um...400+160 which is $560...yes, day care was $560 a month, which is more than the nicest high falutin show barn in the area ($425). I have a genius IQ but I never got my brain back post-pregnancy and the Topamax I recently started isn't helping When I worked full time I would sometimes play hookey and drop DD at day care and go riding for a bit or feign an emergency (I'd have no appointments and they'd make me stay...I no longer work there, by choice) and leave work early to go riding. Now I work 1 or 2 days a week and have a girl my age that keeps DD but I occasionally use Play Date, an hourly drop-in care play here to go riding during weekdays, otherwise when DH is off and can chase her around the barn. This year I brought her out with me a lot to work on shedding G out and pulling her mane. You'll find ways to get out there.
                                Gracious "Gracie," 2002 TB mare
                                Facebook me!

                                I have Higher Standards ...do you?


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by bip View Post
                                  He's only 11 weeks old. He doesn't leave my sight unless he is with DH, one of his grandmothers (who live across the country but visit frequently), or MAYBE a professional day care facility.

                                  You've got to do whatever works for you. I was like that with my first and am forcing myself to be more flexible with the two week old sleeping in my arms right now. I was way too depressed with my first because my lack of flexibility with the baby made riding impossible and I am not going to let that happen again. Just be sure you are taking care of yourself too and DH/grandma handoffs are happening often enough to keep you sane. your baby will be happiest with a happy mom...so make your support let those May rides happen! Good luck.


                                  • #37
                                    I am in the same boat. Hit my 12 week mark and am hoping that I am able to start functioning again sometime .....in the near future.

                                    Mine is at home, so right now the only energy I have is to make sure there are still 4 legs, a clean stall, water and food. After that I call couch. People keep saying it gets better.

                                    At first I was really hoping that my horse would be able to sustain himself and be a beautiful pasture pet. Since he sits over winter (no ring) and now has been sitting all spring (I think hes been sat on 10x since November) he is constantly picking with his pasturemates and playing HARD. Hes a snippy little thing while Im trying to groom too. I think hes just bored and I know that is bound to get worse and even more difficult before it gets better.

                                    I really feel the only option is to either sell or find a free lease situation.

                                    The kicker- When I say 'home" its really in the family and we split chores, so only one horse of 3 is mine. We are planning on moving there once our house sells and the family there now is moving to another farm.

                                    So, If my horse doesnt go, I am going to have to add another as a companion.

                                    Seriously, do not buy a horse now.

                                    I dont have anything good to add to manage time and horses. I will say, that it feels darn near impossible and I tend to get myself feeling overwhelmed rather quickly. Im nervous for what the future hold and think it will be so much easier if I dont have a horse to worry about... at least for the first 6 months- a year.


                                    • #38
                                      Take care, SuperAlter. When I was in second trimester I was super tired too.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket