Finding the Balance – By Bella Harvey

Finding the Balance - By Bella Harvey

Finding the Balance – By Bella Harvey

Life is hard. Horses are a lot of work, and if you’re a school-aged student like me then your NCEA exams are possibly looming just around the corner. Striking a sweet spot with all of these aspects of our lives is a tricky balancing act, and in order to be successful in all of them, we must work hard. Today, I thought I would share with you tips from my own experience of trying to juggle horses, school and my social life, because it is not always easy. 


1- Have goals. In order to be successful, one must know where they want to go. I think it is very important to have goals of all types, from where you want to be in five years right down to what you want to achieve by the end of the week. Having goals also gives me some structure, as it lets me know if I am heading in the right direction, and helps me set up a plan to work towards it.


2- Have a plan. I like to use a weekly planner to plan my week out. On it, I’ve got each horse’s work plan for that day as well as homework due and my other responsibilities, such as tutoring. I find it a very good visual indicator as to what exactly gets more of my time or what needs to be done first. I also like to get it all out of my head and onto paper, and this planner helps me to do that.


3- Stick to your plan. It’s all well and good to know when you should start that assessment, or when the horses need fitness work, but writing it down is not necessarily going to get it done. You should try your best to follow your plan, because you wrote it up for a reason. Another important thing to remember is that plans do change- how you plan your week may not necessarily be how it ends up going. People make last minute plans and we need to learn how to be flexible to fit these plans in our own schedule.


4- Have priorities, but don’t ignore things that need to be done. Procrastination is the assassination of success. Your horse’s paddock may really need to be mucked out, but you still have to finish that assessment, because ignoring it will not make it go away. Plan around urgent tasks, and if you run out of time make it up


5- Always leave some time for yourself. Burnouts do happen, and they aren’t fun. It’s important to give yourself some “me” time, to help yourself rest, recover and re-centre to prepare for the next week. I like to leave one day a week to read a book, or watch a movie. I’ve found that burning out knocks me off the rails and I lose motivation, so I try really hard to keep myself happy and relaxed.


6- Keep it fun. It is way easier to be motivated when what you’re doing is enjoyable. It can be hard, especially with schoolwork, but try to balance out the boring stuff with things you do enjoy, like riding your horse or listening to music while you work. I find variety is the spice of life, and without it life is very bland. I follow this mentality for not only myself but my horses too. They get very sick of arena work everyday, so I change it up and do lots of farm riding and hill work as well as mucking around and riding bareback.


Striking this balance is tricky, and keeping on top of everything calls for some especially hard work. But, the payoff is great, and that is why we do it. We love our sport, but realistically, we cannot ride our horses all day (if only!). We all have to go to school or work to earn a living, and it can be hard trying to fit our passion around our responsibilities. I hope my tips can help you spend more time with your equine friend without sacrificing your work and your social life. 

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