A few years ago, when I first began working as a real estate agent, people would often ask me if I still found time to ride. I always replied, “yes of course,” as if that could even be a question I would think to myself. I have ridden for nearly fifteen years. For a few years of my early adult life, I was unable to own a horse so I worked for farms – riding and teaching lessons – and did quite a bit of catch riding. I have always ridden. I find it surprising when people who rode diligently through high school, and even college, suddenly have no time to ride when they enter the workforce. For me, not riding was never an option.
I think it is not so much about finding time to ride, but making time to ride because it is a priority. If riding is not a priority, there will always be a reason not to head out to the barn. We are all busy. We have work, family obligations, friends, housework, the list goes on and on. If we do not make riding a priority, of course we won’t have time.
Riders with competitive goals especially must make time to ride. All goals take some level of sacrifice. Maybe it is a night out with friends, or sleeping in on a Saturday morning. Maybe it is waking up early to ride before work, or giving up a favorite TV show to ride after. As a real estate agent, I work from home unless I have appointments, and I can somewhat set my own hours. There are many benefits to not working a regular nine to five schedule, but one of the disadvantages is that things will often come up at the last minute. I will have to show a house unexpectedly when I was planning to go ride. My day can change at the drop of a hat, making it difficult to plan at times. Also, with real estate it seems that there is either nothing going on or everything is happening all at once. For example, one week I may have next to nothing to do then the next I may be putting offers in on homes for one client, closing on another transaction, then getting in multiple offers on a listing that has been on the market forever. During those weeks, my schedule is extremely difficult; I end up working late at night and waking up early the next day to squeeze a ride in before the chaos starts over again.Fortunately, I rarely have things just come up (or even calls and emails) first thing in the morning, so that is when I typically ride. Afternoon and evening rides are tough for me since my schedule can change. One of the benefits of a nine to five job, or a regular school schedule, is that you pretty much always have the same schedule; you know times that you will be free and can create a consistent riding plan.
There are always weekends as well! One of the biggest sacrifices I have made for horses is a “normal” social life. I rarely go out on the weekends because I usually have to ride or horse show, or just rest! It definitely is a challenge to turn down what sounds like a fun night out because I have to wake up early to ride the next day, and many people do not understand. Fortunately, I have made many good friends in the equestrian world over the years; and I can’t say that I never go out with people, I just have to pick and choose.
Ironically, I am not riding for the rest of this week because I am heading out of town tomorrow for my sister’s wedding!! Chance has been great though. Hopefully the rest of you have a week and weekend filled with horses! I will be back at it next week!