There’s no doubt that having horses takes up a lot of time and energy, and it can seem so all consuming that it feels like you don’t have time for anything else.
Yet, as I mentioned last week there are two athletes in your team. Your horse can be feeling and moving tip top but if you’re tired, weak and stiff you aren’t going to get the best out of him or you.
It’s entirely possible to take good care of yourself and your horse it just takes a little organisation, and also the mindset that you can change your habits…..
Eating well takes a little planning ahead, however good nutrition will ensure you have good health and also give you great energy levels which makes all the yard chores seem a little easier.
No matter how much you think planning meals a week in advance is a massive headache I can assure you it saves you loads of time in the following week. Yes, the initial habit might seem a little time consuming but once you get into it, it takes no time at all. Think about all the time spent having to pick up lunch during your day or popping to the supermarket after the yard etc. Then there’s making the decision about what to eat after a long day and you’re starving. If that decision is already made its brain power you don’t need to use.
Don’t make life hard for yourself on this. If it’s not realistic that you’ll spend time cooking it’s totally fine to use microwave veg, microwave rice or healthy ready meals etc. I use supermarket bought soup for my lunch (which I heat in the morning and take with me in a flask), I add milk and protein powder to some oats in the evening for overnight oats the next day and boil eggs for snacks or make a protein shake.
This sounds like I’ve done a lot of prep however I microwave the soup whilst the kettle is boiling in the morning. In the evening when my dinner is in the microwave I make the oats, and either the protein shake or put some eggs on to boil. It takes minutes! I also do my washing up from the day in this time-basically use every single minute you can to save time later.
If you want to fit in a gym session, decide whether you are more likely to get it done first thing or later in the day. If it’s first thing have your gym kit laid out for the morning and your back packed with your work things etc for the day.
If you’re going at the end of the day, have your gym bag in the car so there’s no excuses at the end of the day.
When I had an office job I would go straight from work to the yard-changing in my tack room, then straight to the gym if I hadn’t been first thing. It wasn’t far to go home in between but it still uses up time and it’s easy to get side tracked if you just “nip” home isn’t it?
Also have some healthy snacks in your car if you think you might get hungry and decide to go home to eat. Just some granola/cereal bars, apples (you can share these with your horse) or a protein shake can give you a little boost to keep going for that ride and gym session.
Now onto that gym session depending on your goals depends on what kind of workout you are doing but if you are struggling to find motivation keep it small and keep it simple. Just getting into the habit of even 20 minutes steady pace on a bike etc is fine-it’s a hell of a lot better than not bothering at all.
To save yourself time wasting in your riding ask your instructor for things to work on between lessons-get them to help you plan your week of riding. Again this saves brain power when it might be dwindling at the end of the week! You also might find you only need shorter schooling sessions because you go in and do what you need to do rather than just trotting around for ages until you’re both just tired.
Having horses can be all consuming but in all walks of life and areas of sport people are achieving things others can’t. Not because they are super human but because they really want it.
If you really want something you will make it happen no excuses!