Years ago, I was commuting forty-five minutes each way to a full-time job in Paso Robles, working on a graduate degree at Cal Poly, and still had one daughter at home. In addition, I also owned a gorgeous Quarter Horse mare who I loved to ride. Finding the time to ride, and/or choosing the time to ride, became quite challenging for me, but I never gave up trying to slice out a piece of my day for something I loved. Luckily, I ended up moving closer to my work in Paso Robles and finished my Master’s degree, both allowing me to find more available time to ride. Whatever your excuse or reason for not riding these days, perhaps these tips will help you get back into the saddle.
11 Ways to Find Time to Ride
- Choose to ride – This is one of my biggest challenges when prioritizing any available time I have. Errands, appointments, working out, feeling lazy, cleaning the house, phone calls and any number of other things can get in the way of riding. This is where you have to make the choice to spend some time riding even if it isn’t super long. Once you make the decision, everything becomes easier.
- Find a friend to ride with – My friend Nancy and I call riding together our “horse therapy.” I am far more motivated to get out and ride when she and I set times to ride together. It’s even more fun!
- Shorten your riding time – If you can only ride for a short time, do it anyway! You and your horse will be happy that you did. Any effort, even if it’s only fifteen or twenty minutes is better than nothing at all.
- Hop on bareback or with a bareback pad – This can shorten the time it takes to prepare your horse to ride, and it can also give you the permission to just jump on and have some fun. It’s also good for a quickie.
- Exercise your horse anyway – Even if you don’t have time to get on, work your horse in a round pen or on a lunge line. At least your horse gets out and has some exercise, and you won’t feel guilty!
- Lease your horse – Ok, I get it. You really don’t have much time, but you could share your horse with someone else and your horse still gets exercised. Or you actually need some time off to travel, go to school, have a baby or whatever. I have found leasing my horse for a specified period of time is a win-win for you, the lessee, and your horse. At the end of one lease I did, the lessee purchased the horse. It was a great way for her to try out the mare I had at the time. A friend of mine leases horses in Alaska. She can ride on certain days, usually twice a week. This way she doesn’t have the full responsibility, and she can count on those days to be able to ride.
- Take advantage of daylight savings time – Before I retired, I always loved it when daylight savings time gave me more hours of daylight after work. Keeping a horse fit on work weekdays is definitely more difficult, but going for a nice ride after work is a wonderful way to top off your day.
- Find a place with lights to ride at night – If all you have are dark hours during the weekdays, there are a number of places you might be able to find to ride that have lights. Oftentimes you can work out a day rate with a stable to be able to ride there. Be prepared to sign a waiver.
- Ride under the full moon – This can really be fun. Also horses can see even better than we can in the dark.
- Make the most of your weekends – Of course, if you work all week, there are a million things you feel you have to do on weekends. Just plan ahead and fit riding into your weekend schedule. This is also a great time to load up and go for a trail ride somewhere else.
- Schedule it – Speaking of fitting riding into your schedule, if you do set a regular time to ride and make it a habit, you’ll be happy you that did.
Cover photo credit: Charlotte Gorton