Horse Care Riding Tips

How to Balance Horses and Life Without Losing Your Mind

woman and child feeding horse in winter
Written by Natalie Gasper

Honing In On Horse/Life Balance

Horses can quickly overtake your life, especially if you’re an active competitor or if you keep them at home. While being involved is a good thing, it’s important to find your balance (and not just in the saddle).

Finding balance with horses can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. Not only do horses provide excellent physical benefits, like improved health, but they also provide great emotional ones (like reduced stress and an increased sense of calm).

Achieving a healthy balance can help you enjoy your horse time even more. Utilizing tools like calendars for scheduling, finding the right boarding facility or even leasing out your horse can help ease the time burden of horse ownership.

woman bridling horse

Source: Canva

You’ve Heard of Work/Life Balance… How About Horse/Life Balance?

Owning a horse is a wonderful, crazy experience. Trying to manage all that responsibility can take a toll. It’s important to find a balance between your barn, home, and work lives.

The Benefit of Horses

Winston Churchill knew what he was talking about when he said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

Physical Benefits

Horses are excellent for heart health.

30 minutes of riding counts as moderate exercise. Riding is also a full-body workout, strengthening everything from your calves to your core to your shoulders.

Emotional Benefits

My favorite thing about horses? Their electromagnetic field is five times larger than ours! In other words, being around them can directly impact our heart rhythms. Plus, they have a coherent heart rhythm, which creates a sense of calm and well-being.

Sense of Community

Horses provide a natural social outlet. Whether you take group lessons, go for trail rides with friends, or chat it up while mucking stalls, owning a horse can help you find a community of like-minded people.

Sense of Purpose

Horses can be remarkably grounding. Even if everything else in your life feels messy, your horse expects to see you at the barn. Having a barn routine can give you a wonderful sense of purpose.

woman riding horse over fence

Source: Canva

The Cost of Horses

Like all the good things in life, horses aren’t free. The key is to find a balance with what you can afford.

Financial Commitment

Being around horses can cost anywhere from nothing (if you volunteer at a horse rescue) to upwards of $2,000 a month (full board + training).

Time Commitment

Horses will always cost you time, whether you’re a volunteer or a full-time competitor.

Expect to need anywhere from a few hours a week (volunteering or lessons) to 15+ hours a week (if you ride 6 days a week, show, or own multiple horses).

The Benefits of Balance

Your horse won’t be happy if you’re always showing up stressed, or if you’re always acting rushed.

You’ll both be much happier if you can strike a balance and start enjoying your barn time.

Tips to Achieve a Balanced Life

There are several ways to find your balance.

  • Harness the Power of Scheduling

Life becomes simpler when you write things down. Keep a calendar, on your phone or paper, of all your appointments (doctors, vets, dentists, the farrier, etc.) for both you and your horse. This will help you block out time in your day to make sure these things get done.

  • Take Regular Riding Lessons

Scheduling a weekly or twice-monthly lesson is a great way to help manage your time. Not only does it give you an excuse to prioritize riding that day, but you’ll also get ‘homework’ in your lesson to practice for the next one.

palomino horse being ridden western

Source: Canva

Lessons were a huge help to me, especially when I owned two horses!

  • Choose Your Boarding Facility with Care

If you’re worried your horse isn’t getting enough turnout or are stressed that your barn manager isn’t picking out his feet once a day, you’ll end up spending more time at the barn than you can afford.

Find a boarding facility within a reasonable driving distance (for me, that’s 15-20 minutes) AND with a barn manager you can trust to look after your horse when you’re not there.

  • Participate in Ride-Share (we don’t mean your car 😉)

If your work and home lives are making it difficult to get enough barn time, consider doing a full or partial lease with your horse, at least until things slow down.

Knowing that someone else will be there 2-4 days a week to care for him can take a load off, and help you enjoy the time you can spend at the barn.

horse making funny face

Source: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How have horses impacted my life?

Horses have been by our side for thousands of years. These days, they’re almost certainly taking a hit on your wallet, but they also work wonders for the soul.

Q: How do I make time for my horse?

Decide that spending time with your horse is a priority, then make a schedule. Find at least days a week where you can spend time at the barn, then commit!

Q: How long should you ride your horse each day?

My favorite trainer once told me that ten minutes is better than nothing. Ideally, your horse can get 30 minutes to an hour a day. If you’re pressed for time, getting on and walking around is better than skipping that day altogether.

Q: How long does it take to be able to ride a horse?

It’s not just about saddle time. You need to allow time to groom, tack up, warm up, ride, cool down, and untack. On average, this takes me 1.5-2 hours (depending on the length of the ride).

Q: What time is best to ride a horse?

The best time is the time you’re available, whether that’s early morning, afternoon, or evening (if you board somewhere with a lighted arena).

Q: What do horses teach us about life?

Horses teach us many things, including patience, confidence, and kindness.

Q: Why are horses so important to human life?

For thousands of years, horses were our fastest means of travel and helped nations communicate.

Hundreds of years ago, they helped with tasks like farming. Nowadays, horses are mostly for pleasure, but many still have working jobs.

Parting Thoughts

Horses may cost a lot in terms of time and money, but the benefits will always outweigh the costs.

If you can find a way to make time for horses in your schedule, you’ll be happier (and healthier).

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:


No Time to Ride? 11 Tips for Balancing Life and Horsemanship (
Achieving a Work/Riding Balance | US Equestrian (
6 Health Benefits of Horses | American Heart Association
Benefits of Horse Ownership | Extension Horses

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About the author


With a bachelor's degree in creative writing from the University of Central Florida and an editing certificate from the University of Washington, my decade-long writing journey has been a kaleidoscope of diverse experiences. I've had the privilege of contributing to a spectrum of platforms, including newspapers, print and online magazines, literary journals, and individual clients on subjects spanning from horse care, gardening, motorcycles, to exploring East Asia.