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Spinoff: For those who board 45-60 min away, schedule?

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  • Spinoff: For those who board 45-60 min away, schedule?

    Question to those of you who board 45-60 min away....

    How do you organize your life and get your riding in?

    I have two horses that I really want to keep in good work--finally have a lovely indoor to use! I work full time, I also tutor one to two evenings per week and work a few hours a weekend at a PT job (just 4 hours on Sat or Sun)

    I own a home and have the yard/house work, laundry, etc thing to take care of plus my monster dog and a BF who lives 45 min the other direction.

    It used to be that my barn was 5 min away, my dog could go with me so that doubled as doggy exercise and of course, in such close proximity, it was nothing to pop out and ride both or groom or whatever each day.

    But now I find myself burning 2 hours and a lot of gas just doing the driving--making it a 4 hour thing if I work both horses. I'm sure there's a way to work it in and get all of the other responsibilities taken care of, I just haven't found it yet. Only been doing it a few weeks, but looking for a better way to manage time.

    What's your schedule like?

    My weekday schedule right now is going like this:
    7am up-walk dog, pack stuff for the day, get ready for work, etc. throw load of laundry in wash. Or if coming from BF's house, get up at 7 and drive home..home at 8am.
    8:30-head to office.
    Work til 6pm. If tutoring, til 7. Head to barn.
    Leave barn around 9-9:30
    Home at 10-10:30
    Eat dinner, throw laundry in dryer. Catch up on email, clean something, or head to BF's house.
    In bed around between 12 and 1.

    I could probably pull that off every day during the week, but I get behind on the house work and feel like the dog is being neglected. So I've just been going every other day and scheduling that based on what I need to do with blankets on my older mare.

    I have a roommate who will feed the monster at night and give him his meds at 7pm if I'm going to the barn or if I'm going down to my BF's for the night.

    I would like to find a better "schedule" that would allow me to get things done and not feel so frazzled come Monday morning when it starts all over again.

    So...I'm not married, no kids...should be cake. Tell me how you do it. To be honest, I think this is harder than when I leased property and did self care!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    Not trying to be snarky, but why are you boarding so far away? Is it a temporary situation?

    I think that I'd look for something closer, although that may not be the most helpful piece of advice you'll get.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


    • #3
      I did that for a while... it's doable, but really exhausting...

      If it's temporary, then it could work. Long term, you may want to explore options...
      "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


      • #4
        I don't know if this will be helpful to you but I have a similar schedule. I live 45 min from work. Work is 30min from barn. Barn is 1 hour from home. I'm working two jobs to afford the horse so I can generally only ride three days a week, occasionally four. Right now I'm having someone ride my horse three days a week and I will be looking for a 1/2 lease at some point. Its not ideal but its the only way I can make it work right now. I'm looking in to moving closer to work/barn which would help a lot.
        Member of the *OMG I loff my mare!* clique.


        • #5
          Well, I'm sort of in your boat, buddyroo. I technically just "board," but I wanted to board at a place with a great trainer too. In order to find a place like that cheap enough for me to afford, I had to go about 40 minutes away from my house. Big change for me because before I moved to Houston, my barn was 5 minutes away. And before that, I had worked for my grandma everyday after school and during the summer from 7 years old on, so I had a built in trainer, eventually was a trainer, and took care of everyone else's horses plus mine everyday - heaven.

          So, as an explanation to postingtrot - This 40 minutes away thing has been a HUGE change, but it really mattered to me to have a quality trainer on site. She lives there, has one groom to help with chores, and has been absolutely wonderful when I can't get out everyday. He gets blanket on/off, great food, great turnout, and she checks on him everyday and lets me know if anything is not right. There's no place close to me (I live downtown) that has turnout + a good trainer that I can even come CLOSE to affording. So I hate the drive, but my horse is so so happy. Though I can't always get out everyday now, he's just as happy (happier?) when I'm not there, haha.

          Back at buddyroo - My schedule is a little less hectic than yours, but I don't see much way around your schedule either. Here's mine, work at 8:30 - I save a LOT of time because I live downtown and walk to work. Off between 6-7 if I'm lucky (investment banking has crappy hours, and mine are a LOT better than most). Walk back home. Try to leave for the barn between 6:30 - 7. Get to the barn btw 7:30-8 if traffic isn't too bad... a BIG if in Houston. Groom/ride/groom the pony, hopefully out of the barn around 9:30 - usually takes me longer than this because I just always find horsie things to do, and I'd live there if I could.

          So me going to the barn is never less than a 3 hour excursion, and is often longer, This means I'm usually not home before 10:30 when I go ride. If the bf is feeling generous, he'll come over and meet me at my house so we can see each other for a half hour before going to bed, haha.

          This has meant I usually only go out 4-5 times a week, but my horse is happy happy, and I really like the trainer I ride with.

          So, buddyroo, sounds like the only way to do it is the way you're doing it.

          And, postingtrot, sometimes this is the only way to find a really great place, especially if you live in a city. It sucks, but for now, it's the absolute best I can do for my horse and myself and still have a job (laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!) Haha. Someday, I'll pay off my loans and get back in it professionally, and then, no worries = )


          • #6
            Luckily I'm down to about 20 min each way these days but in the past has been an hour at times.

            The best way is not to try to get them every day. You can't do it and will burn out trying and dreading going to the barn is no good. Neither is feeling guilty you haven't done what you need to at home...and you get tired. Really, really tired.

            What worked for me was to set etched in stone Horse Days. Mine were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and I absolutely, positively went to the barn those days. When possible I picked up a 4th day but didn't kick myself over it when I could not. And 3 or 4 days is enough for most older horses. On those "Horse Days" I even went right from work and changed so I was sure I got there.

            This lets you keep up with the home front and allows you to put in some extra days when a show is up or the weather is just too good to resist a ride without feeling guilty about undone chores.

            I also ran my errands on the way to and from the barn. That helps.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • Original Poster

              Posting Trot: Yes, temporary. I'm on some wait lists for places closer...though not much closer. One is about 25 min from my house--40 minutes from work. The other is 25 min from my house but only 10 min from my work.

              BO knows it's temporary and is cool w/ that. Though given the length of time most of the boarders have been at the one barn, it's likely that I could be on a wait list for a year or more. At least I'm at the top! (thank God for good horsey friends!)
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


              • #8
                Luckily, the barn is 10 minutes from work and about 20 minutes from home.

                I do what F8 does, kinda sorta.

                I ride 4-5 days a week. And I have specific days I go (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun). Wed is lesson day. But if I miss one of those days because of weather or something going on, I don't fret over it. And some of those days I just go out and visit, or it's 'spa day', etc.

                This leaves me Mon and Thur for other stuff (along w/ the rest of the weekends).

                Here is my 'at barn' schedule:

                10-20 minutes to barn (depends on if I'm coming from work or home)
                30-40 minutes to catch, groom and tack up (Yes, I'm slow... I like to take my time)
                45-60 minutes ride time (includes warm up and cool down)
                30-40 minutes to un-tack, groom and turn back out (weekends only for the turn out as he's in at night)
                10-15 minute buffer to chat w/ barnmates or do a small chore
                20 minutes to home

                So that's between 2.5 to 3.5 hours for the entire process. And that's just for one horse. The weekends are a bit lazier... I have more time I can putter around. But during the week, I like to be home by 8pm at the latest and most nights, I can do that (leave work at 4:30pm). So that leaves me time to shower, get something to eat and chill out a bit w/ hubby before bedtime.

                Seriously, I wouldn't get too stressed about going out there everyday. You need some time to get your other stuff done. I know my horse is fine if I'm not there. And the 4-5 days a week is just fine for me too!


                • Original Poster

                  Findeight--yes, the tiredness and the guilt. LOL....I'm there. Feel like I'm just running in circles. I haven't ridden this week, just groomed and turned them out to run around in the indoor (turnout paddock is a mudhole this time of year) because I just didn't have time to do much more than that.

                  I was thinking of just making "barn days" like you guys are suggesting...my only problem with a set schedule right now is the fact that we're in the inbetween season for blanketing and my current barn won't blanket/remove blankets as a rule....so I have to coordinate my trips with the weather forecast. But that should get better as we head into spring. I think that's probably the smart thing to do....

                  Not try to kill myself getting there every night....or feeling badly if I can't.

                  And LSM, you're right...they'll live if I'm not there every day. I was just used to stellar care--not having to worry at all--and having them practically in my own back yard so I've gotten spoiled! Now I worry if I've missed them for a day--that they'll have and injury or a blanket askew and get caught up or something that I won't find til too late.

                  Good to hear how others do it! Thank you!
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by findeight View Post
                    Luckily I'm down to about 20 min each way these days but in the past has been an hour at times.

                    The best way is not to try to get them every day. You can't do it and will burn out trying and dreading going to the barn is no good. Neither is feeling guilty you haven't done what you need to at home...and you get tired. Really, really tired.

                    What worked for me was to set etched in stone Horse Days. Mine were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and I absolutely, positively went to the barn those days. When possible I picked up a 4th day but didn't kick myself over it when I could not. And 3 or 4 days is enough for most older horses. On those "Horse Days" I even went right from work and changed so I was sure I got there.

                    This lets you keep up with the home front and allows you to put in some extra days when a show is up or the weather is just too good to resist a ride without feeling guilty about undone chores.

                    I also ran my errands on the way to and from the barn. That helps.

                    Yeah, that's what I try to do. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday for sure, then whatever else will fit. That way I still have time for the occasional night out with the BF and friends and have time for extra sleep for work so I don't get fired = ) I'm lucky enough to have a horse that somehow retains nearly everything from one ride to the next, so if I skip a day, it's okay.

                    But if I try to go everyday, I feel guilty when I don't, and guilty when I do because I don't ever see any of my people. By just accepting that I can only go 4-5 days a week, I feel much better. Also, though we aren't progressing as quickly, I know my horse is just as happy when I'm not there, so it's only my show career that I need to feel guilty about, and that's really secondary right now. So I feel fine = )


                    • #11
                      Like Findeight, when I boarded 1h+ from home I had to have Horse Days scheduled into my week.

                      For me it was always Tuesday (my day off) Friday (TGIF! Sleep in on Sat) & Sunday.
                      That way if I had 1/2 boarders they got a weekend day + 2 other days so horses got a day off.

                      I stopped blanketing so I didn't have to depend on BO for the extra service. I'd rather take the time to cool out a wooly horse than have one sweating on a warm day or wearing a wet blanket.

                      Luckily the supplements I used then (& still use) can stand missing a day w/o it being a crisis.

                      When Vern had knee surgery and needed dressing changed daily + handwalking I added another day to my week just for his care & paid a barnworker to fill in for me on the days I couldn't get there.
                      BOs did make sure he had the ABX prescribed.

                      When Tom passed away and I had 2 horses to work myself I was fortunate to find a coworker who rode and came with me on Fridays & Sundays. Do you know any horseless riders who might help you this way?
                      Maybe someone already at your barn does.
                      A shareboarder takes much of the burden off your shoulders.
                      *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


                      • #12
                        My barn is an hour from work after rush hour and 40 minutes from my house. The way I do it is by accepting (1) I won't get to the barn every day and that is okay, (2) the non-competing horse will only get inconsistent work and usually only ridden on weekends (3) I cannot get a dog right now and (4) I have to have a barn with a lit riding arena for nighttime riding. But here is my general schedule on riding days:
                        Work from about 8am to 6 or 7pm (having packed my riding clothes so I can go straight to the barn from work)
                        I leave work between 6 and 6:45 pm
                        Drive to barn
                        Tack up, ride, untack from 7 -9:30 depending on when I got there
                        Get home between 9 and 10:30 pm
                        Putter around at home until I go to bed.
                        On non-barn nights I tend to work later so that I can leave early on barn nights- my job tends to dictate which days I go- if I get stuck at work past 6:45, then I won't ride that night. Monday is lesson night so I try to plan so that it is less likely I will get stuck at work that day. I tend to make it out 2-3 times during the week and both weekend days.
                        3-4 days a week, I get up at 5 am to row with my rowing team before work.
                        It is sometimes exhausting but I work in DC so either the commute to work or the commute to the barn was not going to be short no matter what I did.
                        There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                        • Original Poster

                          2Dogs, I only blanket one and that's for a medical thing. She got potomac 2 years ago and hasn't been able to grow a coat/keep warm since. sigh. I HATE blanketing.
                          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                          • #14
                            Up: 5:00AM
                            Leave house: 5:30
                            Work 6:00-3:30
                            Arrive at barn: 4:30
                            Back Home: 8:30

                            It's doable, tough if you can't start work early.
                            "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                            • #15
                              I think you just have to be really organized and have set days for everything. I ride Tues/Thurs/Sat/Sun and work at a barn after my F/T job on Wed/Fri (and Sat/Sun Am but that's fine). This leaves me with Monday off. My work is an hr from my house, the barn is 30 mins from my work and 45 minutes from my house. Usually I don't get home until 8ish during the week (minus Mondays) which leaves me time to shower, eat and watch my favourite show before bed. With that being said, I don't have kids, pets or a BF at the moment (which is totally fine!). I see my friends on the weekends or for late dinners during the week. I think making a schedule and sticking to it is the only way to do this.


                              • #16
                                My barn is about 30 mins away and I have a live-in fiance with three kids (Friday - Monday) and we have two senior dogs and a puppy we found on the road. Oh, and a full time job.

                                I used to do the after work thing, but to be honest, it was not working. If I stayed late for work, it threw everything off. I'd change clothes at the barn, all that stuff, but I rarely made it home before 9 PM.

                                I have non-horsey days. Always take Mondays off and occasionally take a weekend day. I feed in the mornings, Tuesday - Friday for reduced board, and because I MUST leave the barn at a certain time to make it to work on time, I spend a lot less time dawdling. Plus, I'm there alone so no chatting -- unless you count the barn puppy who rides around in the tractor with me when I harrow the arena. As much as I love to ride and spend time with my horse, it's so nice to just get it out of the way. On the weekends I go whenever and usually spend several hours there.

                                As far as blankets go, it's tough in the fall and spring here -- cold nights and warm days. In the mornings I'll take blankets off of my horse and a fellow boarder's horse who in turn replaces them in the evenings. I found at all the boarding facilities that it helps to have a friend and some people to trade chores with.

                                In looking at your schedule, my suggestions are . . .

                                - Walk your dog in the AM so he's more tired and relaxed later in the day. Can you hire a dog-walker to exercise your dog during the day?
                                - Have boyfriend stay at your house or just stay with him on the weekends.
                                - Take some horsey days off so you don't get burnt out! Pay someone to deal with the blankets a couple times a week. Most barns will offer that service for around $15 per month out here. Think of the gas you'll save!
                                - Can you hire someone to clean your house?

                                It can be done!


                                • #17
                                  I have an unusual work schedule, but the horse does live 45min-1hr away. Even if she were closer (nigh on impossible, this close in to DC, especially given that I live inside the beltway), because I work 12 hr shifts, I would not get to see her every day. I've just had to accept that as part of having a job that allows me to afford a horse.

                                  It does seem like it would be rather unworkable if the horse isn't boarded somewhere that does blankets, feeds supplements, etc. I flat-out couldn't board somewhere like that, because I only get out to the barn on my days off (which are 3-4 days a week, but varied).
                                  A Year In the Saddle


                                  • #18
                                    My horse is ~40 minutes away (used to have both of them that far away), and the ONLY way I can get it done is by getting up early. Up before 5am, deal with the pets, drive to the barn, horse caught/tacked up/fanny in the saddle by 6:30am (7 on a bad day), horse ridden/cooled/turned out by 8am, 15 minutes to shower and slap on makeup, and I'm off to work (45 minute drive). As my work day technically starts at 8am, I'll usually schedule conference calls for when I know I'll be in the car.

                                    Back in the day before my old guy fully retired, I'd trade off the horses (ride each 2x during the work week) or concentrate on whoever needed the most. Not a perfect situation, but I feel lucky to be able to have my horses at all, so I make it work!


                                    • #19
                                      The drive to the barn is about 50 minutes for me. I go after classes.

                                      I'm a big reader, but my brain is fried from all the studying, so I buy books on tape for the long commute. I put them on CDs or my mp3 player. I also record my professors during class and play it back while doing barn chores, cleaning the house, making dinner.

                                      Works pretty well for me!


                                      • #20
                                        I do it to

                                        My barn is 45 minutes from my house, my work, everywhere and in the "wrong" direction from most other things I do.

                                        I have scheduled riding days. I half lease my gelding on the other days, which helps with the guilt of not getting out every day. It's great to know that it's "not my day" and that it would be pointless to go out. Now that my mare is at a second barn to foal out- it's pretty hard to get to see them both 3x a week, but staying on schedule helps.

                                        I work full time and have two dogs at home.

                                        Monday-Thursday FT job
                                        Friday PT job
                                        Tuesday, Friday and Saturday or Sunday ride- when I got out on Sunday I only work with the mare.

                                        It works, but there's not much down time.
                                        Karma and Drifter girl