Does struggling to fit riding in around a demanding day job sound familiar? Ben Way, best British first-timer at Badminton this year on Galley Light, is Head of Equestrian for property firm Butler Sherborn. In the following video, he explains how he successfully juggles the two.
1. Have a great support team
Ben’s alarm clock goes off at 5.30am every day. He rides one or two horses before leaving for work at 7.15am and, when he returns at 7pm, he schools at least two more. Bedtime is around 10pm.
“Having a good support team is vital when you’re trying to fit in horses around working,” says Ben, whose help comes from his mum, Mary Pritchard, plus his girlfriend of three years, Sarah Parkes, and head girl Amber Franklin.
“My mum does most of the organising — sorting entries, invoicing owners — as well as riding out and helping with the practical stuff.
“Sarah events herself and is on the yard all day. We bounce ideas off each other and I know the horses are in good hands. It wouldn’t be possible for me to do this without the brilliant people around me.”
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2. Be organised
Every Sunday, Ben and Sarah make a plan for each horse for the following week. With a nine-to-five job and a three-hour daily commute to fit in, Ben has to plan every hour.
“If you don’t have that structure and a clear plan you will end up wasting time. Everyone needs to know what is happening and when,” explains Ben.
3. Stay focused
We all know that it’s hard to switch off after a hard day at the office, but feeling stressed or tired affects your riding.
“The good thing about not doing horses all the time is that you can break up your time and concentrate on other things,” says Ben.
“Although my hour-and-a-half commute is a pain, sitting in the car for that amount of time allows me to switch off, listen to the radio, and make the transition from work mode and into horse mode.”
Don’t miss Access All Areas with Ben Way in today’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (16 July 2015)