Aside from industrial strength coffee, a reliable alarm clock and military organisation, how can amateur riders manage to juggle full-time work and competing?
Here are 14 tips to help make it work
1. Try to find a livery yard on the same route as your one to work, so that you can go via the yard on the way and way back.
2. A waterproof outdoor clock in the arena can help you stick to your tight schedule when you’re schooling.
3. Lay out your riding clothes the night before if you plan to ride first thing — you don’t want to be running around in the dark looking for a pair of jodhpurs.
4. Using rubber matting can speed up mucking out and mean you spend less on bedding.
5. Get haynets filled and feeds prepared each night so that you have less tasks to do when you are short of time in the morning.
6. Long, warm coats are useful to put over pyjamas when you’re feeding first thing and to put over work clothes when turning out before going to work.
7. Become an avid weather watcher — if you can only ride before or after work you need to find out when the best time is going to be weather-wise, so that you can plan your day.
8. Train your body to get up early by going to bed an hour or 2 earlier. Multiple alarm clocks might also come into play…
9. Try and negotiate with your employer about flexible working hours — taking a Thursday afternoon off for a schooling session could be a game changer.
10. Sync your work and equestrian diaries so that all your reminders are in one place and you can keep on top of show dates or farrier appointments, as well as those big work deadlines.
11. Invest in skinny jeans — you can dress them up for work and then hop on board as soon as you get home.
12. Plan competitions for times that you know you won’t be under so much pressure at work.
13. If you’re stuck behind a desk all day, get advice on how to build a fitness plan to help your riding. It’s not just your horse that needs to be in peak condiditon.
14. Find the right horse for you — if you’re fitting in exercising and competing around a full-time job, a relatively consistent and sane horse will help make sure riding stays fun.
Don’t miss our amateur rider special in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (29 May 2014), where we meet TV presenter and eventer Janine Jansen and follow a weekly diary of 4 riders juggling a career and competing