I don’t have enough time!!
Finding time for our horses can seem like an impossible task some days. Between all our other commitments, some days just getting our horses fed and watered can feel like we are stretching our timetable. While I’m right there with you, if success with your horse is something you really want to achieve there are some skills that can help you carve out little chunks of time with your horse.
Ever heard of the Eisenhower Matrix? It’s a great way of prioritising your activities ranked by level of importance and urgency for your day, week or even month.
Grab a piece of paper, and divide it into 4. Top left, decide what is Important and Urgent. Generally, this is crisis, emergencies or important deadlines, but would also include feeding animals (and family). These should be ticked off your list quickly.
Top right is Important and Not Urgent. This section often includes relationships and family, and is likely where your horse riding will fall. Allocate a large amount of planned time for these activities.
Bottom left in Not Important and Urgent. These items need doing soon but are not important to you – so can you delegate them? If not, get them done quickly and don’t spend too much time on them.
The final quadrant is Not Important and Not Urgent. Usually television, games and social media fall into this category. In September 2016, Mediakix estimated the average time a person spent on social media PER DAY was almost 2 hours!! But let me ask you – if it’s neither urgent nor important, could it be nothing more than a time waster, which you could be using more productively, for example, riding?
NEGOTIATE LIKE SAMUEL L JACKSON IN, WELL, THE NEGOTIATOR
Nearly all of us are required to work to be able to afford our general expenses (most of which goes to our ponies, dare I say!). While not possible in all cases, there is a chance that you can negotiate with your boss for some flexibility in your work day. Here are a few suggestions that may work for you, depending on your work situation:
Can you start/finish earlier, or perhaps even later, to take advantage of some time with your family and horse?
Can you negotiate some of your break times to be at the end of the day, to leave earlier?
Can you negotiate time in lieu in place of overtime, and spread those hours throughout your week/month?
LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH
It might sound cliché, but the better your health, the more energy your have and the more productive -you will be. Ensure to get a solid sleep, eat well and make time for exercise – remember, horse riding is exercise!
SAVE YOUR DAYLIGHT
Horse riding is an activity that favours sunlight, unless you are lucky enough to an undercover arena with lights. Have a look over your Eisenhower matrix, and highlight the activities that can be done in the dark, such as housework, meal prepping or (in my case) writing.
ORGANISATION IS KEY
When your time is limited, organisation is key to getting maximum value. Having your tack shed organised in a way that allows quick access to everything you need for a short ride will be guaranteed time saver.
At the same time, organising your desk can save you precious time that should be used wisely - riding, of course.
IT’S TIME FOR A NEW MANTRA
When we become busy our focus can shift off our important priorities and onto random, unimportant tasks. This not only wastes our time but starts to change our views of the important tasks in our lives, in essence negating their higher priority.
This doesn’t mean that you should beat yourself up when other, urgent and/or important activity take away your ability to ride, but is definitely something to think about if your time is being absorbed by non-urgent and unimportant tasks.
Remember, not every training session has to be an hour long ride. 15 minutes of bonding can go a long way to bringing out the willingness and cooperation for your next ride. 20 min of tuning can make your next ride more successful and your horse more confident. A 10 minute in hand walk can make your horse more curious and confident. It isn’t essential to stick to the traditional lesson plan lay out that you are used to for you and your horse to succeed.
Katie Boniface from https://www.equestrianmovement.com/