The summer holidays are looming ever nearer and for those of us with children things are about to get a whole lot more difficult.

 

If you struggle to find a balance between being a parent, owning a horse and working we have got a list of handy hints to help save you time and hopefully make you feel less like you need double the amount of hours in a day!

 

 

 

  • Golden rule for all parents; Let sleeping babies lie.

If you have young children why not time going up the yard with their naps. This way they can sleep in the car or pushchair while you get on with the stable chores and poo-picking of fields. Of course in hot weather, if it is not possible to park in the shade you will need to use the pushchair rather than the car.

  • Invest in an electronic nanny such as a portable DVD player.

While they sit somewhere cool and watch films you and your horse can work up a sweat in the school or field. We don't advise going on a hack and leaving them unattended though obviously!

  • Get the children involved.

Kids love being given a task. In my experience I have found if the task involves water all the better. If this lovely weather keeps up why not set them to washing out buckets and wheelbarrows. They can also be great poo-spotters while you are out poo-picking the school and field.

  • Make time for your family

If you spend some time at home being attentive to your partner and children first, sneaking off up the yard for an hour later should go down much better!

  • Be prepared

After a manic day the last thing you want to do once the kids are in bed is start thinking about tomorrow which will be just as crazy. But if you spend a few minutes packing lunches and getting clothes ready for the morning it makes the day go that bit smoother. Then you are free to collapse on the sofa with a well-earned glass of wine!

  • Share the load

Try and find other parents in a similar postion. You could have their children while they sort the horses and then swap over.

  • Find the right yard

Being at the right yard is essential. If you are going to have the children in tow a flashy, professional yard with all mod-cons probably isn't what you need. They are less likely to look fondly at your brood. Try and find a nice family yard that welcomes children. The yard I keep my horse at has more children than adults and at weekends they all go off and entertain each other leaving the parents in peace. It's bliss!

  • Take time out

Don't feel guilty if you decide you can't continue to own a horse and raise a young family. It is hard work not to mention expensive without the strains of owning a horse on top. You can always own again when the children are a bit older. If you really don't want to sell you could find a sharer to help with costs and chores or put your horse on loan for 12 months and see if the dust has settled enough then.

  • Cut costs

Looking at where you can reduce spending will definitely ease the stress. Competiting and lessons may need to go on the back burner and if possible keep your horse out 24/7 to make things cheaper and easier.