Horses are a time suck. As much as we love our noble four-legged companions, they require a time commit- ment beyond most hobbies. For many equestrians trying to balance horse life and “regular” life, it can seem overwhelming. We can’t add more hours into our day, but we can learn new ideas to try from fellow horse lovers who are living the same time-pressed experience.
/ Lengthy Commute /
Amy Tomasheski’s daily commute from Harvard, Ill., to her job at Boeing in
downtown Chicago is a whopping hour-and-a-half train ride. Despite the three-hour round trip journey to work, Amy typically rides four times a week at the
boarding facility where she keeps her horse, which is 20 minutes from her home.
Twice a week during her evening commute, she eats a sandwich for dinner, and
then drives from the train station to the barn, arriving at 7 p.m.
“I have a game plan and can be home by 9 p.m. if I ride for about 30 minutes,”
she says. Amy tacks up quickly and saves dawdling for the weekend, when she
can be more leisurely.
During her brief weeknight rides, Amy makes sure not to “pick a fight” that
could not be finished in about 30 minutes. If her horse resists her hands or otherwise evades aids, for example, she saves the training aspect of riding for the weekend. For Amy, workweek rides are meant for getting out and about and spending
time with her horse, not seeking training perfection.
Four horse owners share how they
maximize horse time despite busy lives.
BY SUSAN FRIEDLAND-SMITH
/ Farm Life /
Ally Flick of northern Iowa has a
full-time job in human resources at a
company 30 minutes away from the
farm she calls home. Ally’s companions include her husband Bo, two
Belgians and three goats. Before purchasing their draft horses for logging,
Ally, who grew up riding, made sure
Bo (who was new to horses) knew the
time commitment required.
“I didn’t want horses just sitting out
in a pasture and never worked,” she
says. The couple handles their drafts
every day, bringing them up to a
converted dairy barn to feed morning
and night. If there’s a particular day
they are restricted on time, however,
they hook their horses’ grain buckets
on the fence and feed outside.
Ally believes a big part of time
efficiency is organization: for example, knowing where buckets and rakes
are by storing them in the same place