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Achieving Perfect Balance
January 2007

Like many of you, I have read numerous articles over the years with many wonderful tips for improving balance while riding. These articles have been most interesting and helpful, but what about finding time to ride in the first place?

As a mother of two, with a full time job, and a part time job supporting my husbands business, getting to the barn can be tricky. Both of my sons play competitive sports as well, and like most moms, I always put their activities first. For many years, when my boys were very small, I did not ride at all. I was anxious to advance my career, and settle in a family home, drive a reliable vehicle, have all the things families in North America expect. But in recent years, as I approach the end of my thirties, I have come to realize that you must take time to enjoy life before it passes you by. My one true love aside from my family of course, is the horse.

So, how do you go about finding the time and money to give a little something to yourself? I often find it hard to justify spending money for me. There is always someplace else most of us could put our money. I asked myself if I would find the money if one of my boys wanted to ride? Of course I would. Next…

I sat down with my family and explained to them that I really wanted to start riding again. I told them it was extremely important to me, and that if they helped me have one night a week, I would be a much happier, well rounded person. Having the support of your family is the number one ingredient for success.
I began searching for stables in my area. To my wonderful surprise, there were many to choose from. I knew that realistically, in order to be committed, the closer the better. I also knew that the facility must have an indoor riding arena, because we live in an area where winters can be long and harsh. It was also important to me that the facility have a suitable washroom.

The facility I selected was the perfect choice for me. It's a five minute drive from my house, it has a huge indoor riding arena, and a very large, well maintained outdoor riding ring as well. It also has a new washroom, heated tack room and heated viewing area over the arena. Another huge bonus to riding at this stable, which I wasn't aware of when I made my selection is that they host a lot of horse shows on the weekends. What is great about that of course is, I can go as a spectator or volunteer to assist any time I am available.

I have been riding again for over a year now, and I simply love it. It has allowed me to take back a piece of my identity and it has boosted my self confidence in all aspects of my life.

I have become very fond of the other adult riders in my class, and the horses we ride, and the instructors and everything about the experience. Having the riding lesson to look forward to each week has also changed my doom and gloom attitude during the long winters. Unless there is a blizzard, we bundle up and ride.

The past year and a half has been achievable due to three primary factors, support from my family, my commitment to my one night a week (including putting the money aside), and my effort to ensure that my horse time does not interfere with the rest of the family. There have been a few occasions when lessons have been rescheduled, once due to a storm and once due to Christmas. Make up lessons were available, and in those cases, I do not attend unless there is absolutely no inconvenience to my family. I went to one makeup, missed the other. They do not ever ask me to miss my regularly scheduled night, and I do not ever ask them to rearrange any other day of their week.

Of course, as we all know, the more time you spend with horses, the more time you want to spend with horses, so my next hurdle will be trying to figure out a way I can spend more horse time without impacting my family time.

I'll keep you posted…