The eternal dilemma: Horses vs Life

The eternal dilemma: Horses vs Life

24 Jun 2019

One of our members is struggling with the eternal dilemma - how to fit it all in when life gets in the way. How do you all cope with a riding and work and family and life?

"Ramblings from the morning commute. Surely it’s not just me?:

Here I go again, sitting on a delayed train and after some inevitable angry tweeting to the train operating company, I begin pondering the country’s crumbling infrastructure and then life in general. Surely I’m not alone in my dilemmas? Perhaps this morning, while shivering in the overly air conditioned train (its a chilly, rainy day, really no need for it), I’ll try to write down some of my thoughts instead of binge watching tv on my phone again...

All things considered (and injuries aside) I think the crux of my dilemmas is that I seem to have either money (working and commuting) or time (not working and not earning). I also see this as money to afford my horse and kids, but no time to spend with them or time to spend with them, but how long before the horse has to be deemed an unaffordable luxury? Obviously when I finally emerge from the day’s commute/work stresses, time with my boys comes first, so no summer evening rides for me. I really miss my gorgeous girl on work days, particularly her friendly greeting wickers and her calming presence. I wish we had space for her to live at home (and space for ponies for the boys if I’m going to dream...).
I’m so addicted to horses and endurance riding that jo matter how much I wonder about the expense and lack of time, I’m not sure I could ever give up my horse, who of course is beautiful and super talented. I didn’t give up when my spinal cord was in jeopardy, so why should I let time and finances stop me either! No doubt my lack of time doesn’t do her talents justice, but as long as she seems happy with me I let that train of thought go. While working I get by the ‘she needs exercising’ issue by finding sharers, over whom I’m very choosy. No matter what, I need her, because riding is the one thing that can keep me ‘in the moment’ and make me appreciate simply being.

I do struggle to feel she’s fit enough for the endurance distances I’d like to try though and training is hampered by lack of hacking, just a few dead end stony or muddy byways accessible to us from home, as well as lack of time - surely every rider in a crowded part of the country must have these issues too?

For me the ambition I’ve been chasing for a long time (previous horse got oh so close, but never quite made it) is to reach advanced level, I’ve no desire to go further, because I think 80km is feat enough for an amateur and even this has been considered by some (including a spine surgeon) to be a laughable ambition. In all honesty just the season before last I was delighted that I could get around some pleasure rides, never mind any more, but I’m pleased that our distances are creeping up and we’re now competing as an Open level pair. Just some 64kms and an 80km to go then 😀, how hard can it be....

We cherry pick our rides carefully, based on travel distance and when we can get help with childcare. Next up is Three Rivers and as usual my anxiety level is climbing...will we be able to get everyone up in time, will the boys behave if they come along/be good for their baby sitters if not, will I forget something like my hat or our saddle, will the car break down, will we find a traffic jam, will we be late, will I get lost, will we be fast enough, will madam get over excited and chase every other horse she sees, will she get over excited or chilly at vetting and send her heart rate to a failable (? made up word) level?!

I usually love the rides once I get on and we’re away, but sometimes I question the amount of stress I generate for myself over the whole thing and if I’m honest the fact rides seem to start ever earlier makes me doubt I’ll manage the longer ones, fit enough or not it might come down to plain old logistics on the home front. Please tell me I’m not the only one!"

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