Whether you are single, married, or in a serious partnership, horses are a commitment on both sides of the relationship. Sometimes it can be a strain on a family member or significant other when the horse repeatedly takes precedence over plans, vacations, and time at home, especially in the case of an emergency.
I know we all dream about marrying a professional rider (okay, maybe that’s just me). Since the chances of that happening are slim, I have learned a few ways to have a better balance with horses in my life. Riding is a lifestyle, not just a hobby. Respecting and understanding that concept is not for all walks of life, and that is okay.
Discuss your riding plans for the week with your partner. Sure, last minute things will come up, but if your partner is aware on Sunday that you plan to ride Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday that week, he or she will not be upset when you cannot make it to an impromptu happy hour, or will help pick up the slack at home on those nights. This can be said of your friends as well. I like to make plans for the week early so I can determine my riding schedule. My friends then have no right to be upset with me because we have established the plan early on. Also, let your significant other or friends know that they are important to you, that you will do what you need to make your riding schedule work with an upcoming event or plan. So long as you are able to acknowledge that you are trying to do your best with a job and a horse, they will not resent your passion, but respect it.
Ride Early or Late
I am not a morning person. However, there have been plenty of times where I have ridden at 5am before going away for a long weekend, to ensure my horse was worked. The beauty of our sport is we can ride anytime we want. If it is important to you, make the time for it. Wake up, and ride before work so you can be home for dinner or plans with your friends. You can always ride later, after dinner, as well. This is especially helpful in the summer heat. Riding at 6am in 70 degrees is much more pleasant than at 5pm in 90 degrees!
Support Your Significant Other in Their Hobby
Golf, hockey, soccer, chess; whatever your significant other enjoys doing in their spare time, support them. Attend games, practices, and ask about their plans with their activities early in the week, the same way you expect to talk about what days you will be riding. Just because your hobby lives and breathes does not make it more important than theirs. Perhaps you can swing by on your way home from the barn, or on your off day. You should give the same support you expect to receive for being an equestrian. Your partner will be more willing to attend your lessons or shows when they feel appreciated and equally supported. Riding doesn’t have to take over your social life, if you do not want it to. You can communicate with your significant other (if you have one), ride early or late to avoid missing out on plans, support others in their hobbies, and have a strong base of communication about your efforts.
From one horse crazed human to another – Maria Holman