Balancing horses with work and exams – what I’ve learnt..
I’m coming up to sitting my A-Level exams in June, so I thought it might be useful to write from my personal experience about keeping my horses going whilst studying. Balancing your time, which is usually quite limited if you have horses, can be a challenge at any stage in life so I thought I would share my own tips:
Make sure you allow time to fit everything in and use your time efficiently. Personally I use a timetable to plan out when I am free – this may not be flexible enough for some people but it ensures that I know how much time I have, and if I can afford to have some ‘down time’. An alternative for using a timetable, which is really useful for planning your ‘revision’ or work time, is making a to-do list for the week. Try to keep it in priority order though so you won’t miss any deadlines.
In terms of revising whilst riding – it is possible!! Whilst I’ve tried putting post-it notes on my horses’ mane, they just aren’t sticky enough…! Instead, I often tune into podcasts or make recordings of my notes that I can listen to whilst riding so that I can multi-task. Whilst it may not be the most efficient method, it’s a good start and allows me to make more time to fit everything in. This can be useful for remembering speeches for presentations as well or researching ahead of a meeting – just listen to it instead of reading it.
Now the clocks have changed (finally!!) it might be a good idea to go riding at different times – perhaps when you wouldn’t usually revise, like later in the evenings after school or college. That means you still get to de-stress but it won’t take out of your time you’d usually use to do work.
At stressful times it can be hard to remember everything that needs doing – we always have lots of appointments as horse owners (farriers, vets, physiotherapists!) so try to keep record of everything by keeping a diary. I also use my phone to set ‘reminders’ when things are coming up so that I don’t forget certain appointments.
When I’m eventing, it’s a good idea to use a ‘mini-whiteboard’ in the horse lorry so you can keep track of your competition times for each horse and things you need to remember. You can rub them off as you complete them so that people helping you also know what’s going on.
Get some help:
Although I try to put in as much time as possible into the horses, it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of my parents amongst others. Make sure that you aren’t being overly ambitious and you have enough help to allow you to balance your horses with your career or education. If you are struggling, it may be a good idea to look into other options like sharing your horse so that you don’t need to spend so much time looking after your horse. Remember, the most important thing is that riding is a stress-relief, rather than a source of stress.
Do you have any other ideas? Let me know in the comments!
By Ella Vincent, an aspiring event rider from the South-East of England. For more updates, follow me on Instagram @ella_vincent_eventing.