How do I make it all work?
After not riding earlier this week (due to tack fiddling) this is on my mind again. Well timed!
Important context is that I live in the Bay Area. The barn is five minutes from my house. I figure work is an hour away, but depending on when I leave, that can easily be an hour and a half. Occasionally it’s more. If it’s raining? All bets are off.
On my guaranteed work-days (4 days a week), I’m up between 5:45-6am. I generally have to leave the house by 6:15. Breakfast is optional and pretty rarely happens. My job isn’t super flexible, but if traffic is good I’ll run errands before I need to be at work. Same thing over lunch: either I’ll get stuff done so I can be done faster at the end of the day, I’ll go out and do local errands, or maybe I’ll go for a walk/jog. Three of those work days, I won’t head home until 6:30 or 7, so I probably won’t get home before 8. Then my SO and I get to figure out dinner – he’ll have been gone all day, too. I try to be asleep by 9:30 or 10.
One of those work-days is a shorter day. I try to leave work close to 3. If I do it right and beat the worst of the traffic, I can go straight to the barn and get there by 4, but more often 5 (and heaven forbid I have to stop home first). Then I’m at the barn til dark. This is a short-ride conditioning day. Brush horse, sort any new gear adjustments quickly, tack up, head out for an hour and a half – four miles takes us an hour, plus 10 minutes on either end to get to and from the trail. Pull tack. Quick brushing. Clean stall in the dark. Refill hay if needed if I missed that earlier, refill water bucket while cleaning stall, give pellets & supplements, dump wheelbarrow, head home and figure out if I want dinner.
One day a week I only sometimes have to go in to work. I try to get some housework done in the morning if I’m going in early-but-not-super-early, then aim to leave work by 1 or 2. Repeat the shorter-day stuff, except that maybe I’m moving a little slower and aiming for a 6-8 mile ride instead of 4 (two to three hours allotted instead of one and half).
Weekends are when we try to do real conditioning rides. Ha! By which I mean.. if we’re doing 10-20 mile rides, those get pushed to weekends or non-working weekdays. It really hasn’t happened this year, but that’s a pony-and-rider problem, not a scheduling problem. I theoretically aim for 12+ mile rides twice a month. It doesn’t always happen. Weekends are also when I ride with friends (in the evenings) and try to hang out with my SO (usually in the mornings/early afternoons) and run local errands and do housework and maybe relax and.. prep for the next week, sometimes.
I regularly end up feeling like my life is a lot of juggling where I have to be constantly moving, but I still resent the winter months where I can’t ride much and am forced into lazing around at home. Balancing act, indeed.