I'm not going to lie, after working 8-5 on a weekday, sometimes going out to the barn to do manual labor and potentially argue with a stubborn, 1,200 pound animal doesn't sound appealing. Does that happen every night? No, but it does happen.
The underlying question here isn't that of Shakespeare's "to be or not to be" a horse owner, but instead, how to be a horse owner. Can a person balance the full-time responsibilities of developing a successful horse horse for the show pen or trails, and work a full time job?
Pre-plan your meals. While this may sound completely crazy, it makes a HUGE difference. There are tons of ideas and recipes online - just search on Pinterest and Google! Crockpot meals are even easier because you can throw the food in the crockpot, run out to the barn and ride, and then dinner is done when you come back inside!
- Making excuses. This is a major area that I need to work on. It's so easy to say "oh, that can wait til tomorrow" or "I don't feel like taking on that challenge" after a long day. Give me 10 minutes and something I don't like to do and I can come up with 25 different excuses as to why I won't do it. BUT when you look up at the end of the week (month, year) and you're still at square one, it kinda makes you wonder why you didn't just buckle down and do it in the first place.
- Taking your issues out to the barn. The barn is a place I know I can go to get away from some of the chaos life brings along. However, if you have a bad day, leave those problems in the house or at work. If you don't, more than likely your horse will react to your pent-up frustrations, and things usually get worse. Been there, done that.
- Saying "yes" too often. It's really easy to agree to help out here, volunteer there, and quickly overload yourself with extra responsibilities that take away time from the barn. Don't be afraid to say "no" or "maybe next time."
- Logging in at home. Avoid social media, computers and even television when you get home from work. Trust me. Even if it means leaving your cell phone in the house. (I carry mine to the barn as a safety precaution if I'm alone, but otherwise, it stays inside.) The moment you "login," you open up a world of distractions that will suck your precious barn time into a black hole that you'll never see again!
It's very easy to get discouraged when things happen and you don't get to the barn, or you don't get specific goals accomplished. With a little determination and a whole lot of patience, however, you can make it happen.
Me? I've got my mind set on showing my mare at a minimum of one ApHC regional show this year. There are two on the calendar in the next 6 weeks. We'll see what happens.