I was fortunate to be able to bring my horse to college with me. I boarded him at a barn about five minutes away from my dorm, and when I moved into an apartment, he was a quick two minute drive away. He was my piece of home that went with me and kept me sane during those stressful nights where I had more homework than I thought was possible and just wanted to break down.
Not everyone has the luxury of bringing their horse to college with them, and those that do know that it can be hard to find the time to give them all of the attention and care that they need. Here are a few tips I learned from having my horse with me on how to balance horses and school:
One of the things my mom really emphasized when I brought my horse with me was that I needed to keep my priorities in order. School, then my horse, then everything else. I had to make sure that I had time for school and my horse before I could make time for anything else. It was tempting sometimes to want to put those two things on the back burner to be able to go out with my friends every weekend, but ultimately, having my horse there was more important to me than being able to always go out.
One of the most important things to me was finding a barn that I was comfortable with and that my horse would be happy at. There are plenty of places around my school that offer stall boarding, but they do not have turn out. This was important to me because my horse requires turn out every day to be happy. It took searching and talking to others who brought their horse with them to find the perfect barn for my horse, but when I did find it, my horse and I were both very happy with the arrangement.
I had a list of things that were a necessity for my horse and me, and I would not settle for somewhere that did not have all of these things. I was bringing my horse to a new place and I wanted to ensure his happiness while he was there.
It was also important to me to be comfortable with the owners of the barn. I was fortunate in that I found a barn where the owners genuinely cared about me and my horse. I had partial care while I was there, so they fed for me every morning and would turn out, and I would bring my horse in, feed at night, and clean his stall. I, like most horse moms, am super protective of my horse, so it’s hard for me to feel comfortable with just anyone taking care of him. I completely trusted the barn owners with my horse, which was also an added level of comfort at the barn I boarded at.
This may be the most important tip I have. Every day, I write down the tasks I need to finish during the day. My list would look something like this:
• Write history paper
• Order hay
• Ride my horse
• Clean his stall.
This made making sure that I was getting every thing done that I needed to would get done. When I was busier, I would even schedule everything by time. So I would study from 1-4 and from 4-6 I would go to the barn. This was so, so helpful in my everyday life and made me a little less stressed out.
If you are taking your horse to college with you, or considering it, I hope these tips were helpful. Having my horse with me during my first year is something I am still very grateful for. He was always there for me when I was homesick or needed to escape the craziness that is college. He was my biggest source of comfort for that year, and I am very grateful for him.