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The Pros & Cons of Riding Before Work

The Pros & Cons of Riding Before Work

Justine Griffin

It’s no fun waking up at the crack of dawn. To all the morning people out there – I salute you.

Being a horse person means I’m fairly familiar with getting up before the sun, either to tend to the horses in the barn or to hitch up and hit the road for a horse show. But after years of riding and being around horses, my body still protests every time that 4:45 a.m. alarm clock goes off. I hate it so much.

Now that we’re firmly into the winter season, my opportunities to ride while the sun is still out are slim. Gone are the days of summer where sunlight stretched into the evening hours, making slipping in a ride after the 9-5 workday a little bit easier. Now if I want to see any daylight when I’m at the barn, I have to try to ride in the morning.

As an adult amateur, it’s always a struggle to ride during the week. Managing my normal 40-plus hour work week, my home life, horses and any semblance of a social life ain’t easy. But pulling my weary body out of bed at an early hour… that really takes some motivation.

But first, coffee.

I don’t know how non-coffee drinkers function ever, at all, let alone in those early hours. Early mornings have turned me into a coffee snob, and I will not apologize for my excellent and particular taste in coffee beans (my favorite: Barn Cat Hero Coffee!). If there’s any silver lining to getting up early (trust me, there aren’t many) it’s that hey, at least there’s coffee.

Grandma hours.

On any given weekday, it is quite the feat to find myself or my husband still awake past 10 p.m. Our cool millennial friends think we’re ridiculous, but I have no shame. I cannot function without a regular sleep cycle. And luckily for me, my husband likes to workout at the gym before his work day starts, too. I totally embrace my old lady nighttime hours.

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Peace & quiet.

My favorite part about getting to the barn so early is usually I have the whole place to myself. There’s something so satisfying about walking down the barn aisle listening to the horses munching on their breakfast hay. The arena feels so serene at that early hour too. It’s an hour or two of uninterrupted personal time with my horse, aka pure bliss.

Smelly horse lady.

One of the pickles I always find myself in after a morning ride is trying to save enough time for a proper shower before I’ve got to get to the office. Some days, that’s a stretch. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t keep wet wipes, dry shampoo and deodorant in my car for this very reason. It’s not ideal of course, but hey, I do my best.

I did it!

My favorite part of logging a ride before work is the accomplishment I feel for the rest of the day. My horse always makes me feel better, no matter what is going on in my life. But climbing into the saddle just as the sun is rising, and heading to work just a few hours later fills me with a sense of happiness and determination that keeps me in a good mood all day. Heck yeah, I got up early. Heck yeah, I spent the morning with my horse. I can do frickin’ anything. Bring on ALL the TPS reports, Bill Lumbergh.

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