How to find time for horse riding in a busy schedule

One of the most difficult thing for horse lovers is to find the time to fit such a time consuming hobby into their busy schedule.

Work, career, studies, family life, social life, relationships and everyday tasks can all make it difficult to fit spending time with horses.

But it is possible to spend time with the animals we love. It's just a case of making the time available to see horses more.

Time: Finding time to spend with horses can be difficult
Time: Finding time to spend with horses can be difficult

Horse riding can be so time consuming that beginner riders and horse owners all can all struggle to find the free time.

Horse riders are passionate about their hobby and many would spend all day with their horses if they could. But the first step is to decide how much time you would to spend around horses.

Beginner riders might only want to have an hour's lesson once a week. If this is the case then make sure that you book the lesson well in advance. Hopefully after a few weeks you will get into the routine of horse riding at the local stables at the same time on the same day. From that point other activities on the day will start to fit around the horse riding lesson.

After a while of having just one lesson a week riders might start to want two lessons a week or one lesson and one trek or hack out in the open. This could be at the weekend on the same day as the first lesson or one night in the week. It's best to pick an evening after work or college in the week that clashes with other interests. Or one of the easiest ways to fit in riding is to take lessons in the morning. Some riding schools have early morning lessons before 9am on weekdays and most will have lessons that start between 9am and 10am on a weekend. By taking lessons early in the morning riders then have the rest of the day to fit in other tasks.

Try to pick a riding school or stables that are close to where you live or place of work. This saves time when driving to and from the riding school and will allow more time to spend with the horses before lessons and after the lesson has finished. This will also free up more time so that you're not in a rush after the lesson.

Horses: They require more time when you own them
Horses: They require more time when you own them

After having riding lessons once, twice or even three times a week many horse lovers will decide that they have reached a point where they would like to have their own horses.

A good idea is to start by doing a horse share agreement. In this situation horse owners advertise to share the riding of their horse with another person who contributes toward the upkeep of the animal. This is a great way to gain the experience of owning a horse without actually buying an animal and having to arrange all the other things.

Riding a horse that is shared with another person will take approximately twice or even three times as long as riding lessons. First of all you must arrive at the stables, bring the horse in from the field which can sometimes take hours with a difficult horse (see my hub how to catch a horse in the field), take off their rug, groom them, pick out their feet, tack them up, lead them to the riding school, then ride them.

After riding the horse they have to be unstacked, maybe groomed again if they are dirty, soaked with water to cool them down if they're hot, have their rug put back on, maybe fed, then led out to the field. From there the field may need to be poo picked, the water could have to be changed, the yard swept and in some circumstances the horse's box might need to be mucked out.

Riding schools do all of the above with their horses so customers don't have to spend their time doing those tasks. This is why it's important to make plenty of free time to spend on your horse if you decide to take a step up from riding lessons and start a horse share.

One of the easiest ways is to ride the horse in the morning before work, college or school. Ideally pick stables that are close to your home and arrive with plenty of time to spare. If you start work at 9am then arrive at the stables for 7am. Don't forget you'll have to get changed afterwards.

Another way to find time is to ride straight after work. This saves the time of driving from work to home then home to the stables. There's then plenty of time to do things in the evening after riding.

Horse riding: Spend time in a lesson or riding out in a hack or trek
Horse riding: Spend time in a lesson or riding out in a hack or trek

Horse owners who want to see and ride their animal regularly should allow much more time during the days, evenings and weekends to visit the stables. Choose a horse yard that's close to your home so you can drive their if there's an emergency and so that lots of time is not wasted sitting in the car instead of in the saddle.

There are lots of livery options available for horses to be care for all the time by stable staff and some horse owners may only visit once a month. But serious horse owners should aim to visit their animal every day. The same time options apply as sharing a horse such as riding in the morning before the day starts or in the evening. It's important that horse owners make sure they have a couple of hours free each night and use that time to visit the animal.

Find the time to be around your horse by cutting out time that's wasted on unnescecary activities. These could include:

  • Watching TV - Just catch up on your favourite programs over the Internet
  • Shopping - Do the weekly shop online
  • Going to the pub - have a night in with wine
  • Going to the gym - go for a jog or do a work out in your own home in the evening
  • Counselling or therapy - Try telephone or Internet based therapy
  • Visiting family - arrange for all of them to visit you on the same
  • Change work hours - Go part-time or finish earlier or start later

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