You only have so many hours in a day, so when it comes to coordinating work, family, friends, school, and horses, it can be easy to feel like you’re always running behind or giving something up.
I am a huge fan of time management, and it got me through my undergraduate years without losing my mind while balancing everything. Like everything in life, a romantic relationship requires balance and time management to work. It can be tempting to spend all your time with your horse…or significant other, but this system is not practical for making time for the other important things in your life.
I’ve dated an interesting collection of men. Most have at least attempted to be supportive of my riding, even if it was only in the beginning. Now, I dream of being the ultimate upper level eventer one day; I want to ride at the Kentucky Three Day Event at some point in my life. This dream means that I may be a bit more ambitious than the regular amateur and sometimes I clock a lot of extra hours at the barn trying to advance my upper level riding career, while financing it with a “normal” job and attempting to actually have a life. Most guys don’t dig this. Sure, it sounds super cool in theory, and sometimes they even offer to come to the barn, but when the normal evening at the barn lasts three to five hours, it’s easy to see how they quickly lose interest.
There was one gentleman that I was dating once upon a time. We had discussed marriage a few times, but I was young and it was never something that I had seriously considered. It came up again and this time he made it clear how serious he was. I took note and took him seriously, up until we hit a major speed bump: he told me it was him or the horses. Cue the pause, internal panic, anger, and being completely taken aback that this could be a thing.
How could someone who not only said they loved me but also said that they wanted to marry me ask me to choose between them or my sport? It simply didn’t make sense. Well, with age has come wisdom. It doesn’t make sense, and it never will, because life is about balance and that is not balance.
Obviously, I chose horses. This decision came partially from my ambition, partially out of self-love, and partially because anyone who truly loved me would never ask me to make that decision.
There will come a time in your life where horses may need to take a backseat to other things. You could be working hard in school to earn your degree, planning a wedding, buying a house, having a baby, or needing to focus on learning to be an adult and paying bills on your own. Having balance in your life and not prioritizing horses won’t make you any less of a horseman or horsewoman.
The thing about this horse-life balance is that it must come from your decisions and priorities. Yes, people make compromises and sacrifices out of love and necessity, but asking someone to give up their passion completely does not fall into that category. When it comes to dating a muggle, it’s important to understand that they might not see eye-to-eye with you on your priorities. However, anyone worth being with will do their best to understand and find a balance that makes both of you happy with the outcome.