Balancing the two can be difficult, but not impossible!
Motherhood is a wonderful gift. There’s nothing more life-changing than welcoming your first child into the world. As an equestrian, you may be wondering how you’ll manage to ride and care for a newborn. It may not be easy, but it’s possible if you’re determined and have support. Many women before you have been successful at being moms and riders!
Whether you have one child or three, a newborn or toddler, they’ll require your undivided attention. Let’s just say motherhood is a full-time job with overtime. There are bottles, diapers, prepping meals, tons of laundry, playtime, bedtime stories, and lots of cuddling to name a few responsibilities. I’m sure you’re already aware of your horse’s needs- hay, grain, water, exercise, etc. The trick is to prioritize and manage your time.
Helpful Tips for Moms that Ride
Learn to prioritize your life.
Start off by making a list of your top priorities in life. It’s important you’re realistic with yourself. Try not to worry about being the perfect mom. You don’t have to cook elaborate meals and look flawless every day. You may also have to slim down your hobbies and side jobs. Projects are fun, but can really drain your time. If you can, cut down on your social media and TV time. Use those extra minutes to be with your family or horse.
Ask for help.
The reality is there is no way you can do it alone. You’ll need the help and support of a spouse, family member, or friend. Not only can they help babysit so you can ride, but they may also check off some of your to do items like laundry or dishes.
Here’s a great idea for those that need some extra help…. Exchange childcare for riding. You may be able to locate a responsible teen or adult who would love to watch your little one in exchange for an hour or two of riding. Your horse will also benefit from the extra attention and exercise.
Some mom boarders get together and take turn watching the kids. Ultimately, you may also have to paid for childcare. That will depend on your budget and your level of involvement at the barn.
Create a kid-friendly barn space.
Even if you have childcare or a babysitter, there will be times your little one will have to come to the barn. You can get creative and construct a safe space for them to play or nap in. Some use a Pack ‘n Play, bouncy seat, swing, stroller, or baby carrier. It will depend on your child’s age and activity level. Once you have a toddler, a designated space that keeps them secure will be necessary. You can provide them with toys, puzzles, and snacks. Playing music or turning on an audio book can also entertain them.
Moms quickly learn to utilize nap times. Your young child may sleep long enough for you to groom, clean stalls, or even ride. You’ll have to be efficient around the barn to make that work though!
Avoid training projects unless you have a good babysitter.
Training a horse requires a lot of time and commitment. If you plan to take on an unstarted colt, then you should have reliable childcare at least a few times a week. These horses need consistent work on a daily basis. They also need hours of wet saddle pads, so make sure you’re realistic about your availability.
A better option may be a finished horse who you can hop on and enjoy sporadically. Being a mom requires flexibility and there may be plenty of times where you have to skip riding. Additionally, this horse may serve as a good teacher for a child who is interested in learning to ride. A family horse is happy to wear many hats!
Be kind to yourself.
Expectations can really wear someone down. Stop comparing yourself to other riders and moms. You don’t need the cleanest house, fanciest wardrobe, and flashiest horse. Make sure you meet your child’s basic needs and offer them a loving home. That’s what matters! Similarly, your horse will need to have their needs met too. And in the end, there’s a season for everything in your life. You may have to sell your horse or turn them out to pasture for a while. It’ll all be okay though!
As you embark on this exciting journey of motherhood, reach out to others for advice and support. There are some great resources out there to help you!
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