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30 Ways to Balance Family and Friends

Reduce stress with tips to balancing a horse life with family and friends.

February 2008 HI Exclusive

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Learn to balance family and friends using tips 1. Encourage family and friends’ interest in horses, but never force the issue.

2. Take willing family and friends to competitions they can enjoy without a lot of horsey knowledge, such as jumping, speed and cattle events.

3. When family or friends tag along to the barn, invite them to participate by helping you groom or feed.

4. If you have the resources, consider keeping a gentle second horse that friends and family can ride.

5. Even better, give those you love the gift of riding lessons if they’re inclined.

6. Plan a horsey vacation with your loved ones. Many equestrian outfits offer activities for non-riders as well.

7. When possible, plan your ride time early in the day, so you can reserve evenings for family and friends.

8. Go trail riding or horse camping as a family.

9. Families can also participate in trail trials and mounted orienteering as a group.

10. If family obligations keep you from riding, make arrangements so that your horse gets out even when you can’t be there.

11. Take your family to a horse expo: There’s something for everyone—live entertainment, live animals, shopping and fair food!

12. Watch a horse movie with your friends or family—even non-horsey folks can appreciate a good one.

13. Enlist a shutterbug friend to be your equine photographer.

14. If you have a chef in the family, find healthy horse-treat recipes to try. (Even better, have that person be in charge of dinner while you ride—you can do the dishes afterward.)

15. Train interested family and friends to be your eyes on the ground. Instead of being bored watching you ride, they’ll feel involved.

16. Teach your non-horsey friends and family fascinating facts about horses, such as the one about how equines don’t throw up (kids love it!).

17. If you and your significant other love to hike, but your better half doesn’t ride, go hiking with your trail horse.

18. Let your kids add creative input to design your jumps and trail obstacles.

19. Start a horsey garden with the family: plant carrots!

20. A seamstress among family or friends can help with some of your show apparel, and is a good resource for blanket repair too!

21. When it’s time to buy your next truck or trailer, wrangle your favorite mechanically inclined friend for a test ride.

22. If your beloved dreads going to the boarding stable, throw a party there to pique your partner’s interest: It’s a great meet-and-greet opportunity.

23. When the barn needs painting: Throw another party and invite friends who are handy with a paintbrush—horsey or not.

24. If your sweetie enjoys home improvement, there’s usually plenty of opportunity for fixing things around the barn.

25. Don’t lose track of time at the barn while your other half waits at home. Return when you say you will, or call if you’re running late.

26. Love is a two-way street: Respect the time and expense your partner’s interests take, too.

27. Be gracious to friends and family who care enough to support you at a show. Show nerves are no excuse to behave badly.

28. Even if your family is irrevocably non-horsey, they can appreciate what horses do to help you keep your sanity.

29. Where possible, live close to either work or the barn to lessen commute time.

30. If your friends and family have no interest in horses even after you’ve tried all the suggestions above, they don’t know what they’re missing.

Keep the peace! Read on to find out how to resolve conflicts with a non-horsey partner.

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Reader Comments

M S    Etna, CA

2/17/2014 12:10:57 AM

I think 7 is especially important. We are privileged as horse lovers to BE horse lovers! Our friends and family who don't have that honour need our love and attention too. Don't punish them for missing out on this wonderful opportunity my letting them miss out on you too!

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

2/16/2014 11:59:37 PM

Great tips.

Lauren    International

2/15/2014 9:01:40 AM

Thanks!

Katie    Clarington, OH

8/20/2009 6:51:48 PM

my parents are non-horsey

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