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4 Things That Make Caring for Horses Possible When Your Schedule is Packed

Last updated on February 28, 2024

4 Things That Make Caring for Horses Possible When Your Schedule is Packed

Now that the post-holiday lull is starting to fade and life is picking back up, you might be starting to feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities and to-do lists. Add in caring for horses, training/exercising, competitions, and vet visits, and suddenly your load just got A LOT heavier. It probably seems impossible, or at the very least EXHAUSTING, to manage a horse life and YOUR LIFE: work, school, household duties, family & friends.

Barrel racer and student Ali Armstrong knows this struggle very well. She is enrolled in nursing school to earn her LPN by this summer, with plans to continue to get her RN degree. Nursing school is demanding and fast-paced, but she still has multiple horses (one of them is the sweet Panama, whom we wrote about back at the beginning of 2023. Read his story here.) to take care of, rodeos, and barrel races to compete in! We sat down with her a few weeks ago to see how well she’s managing and get some pointers on HOW to juggle it all. Ali did not disappoint! Here are 4 ways she’s finding a work/life/horse balance and making sure her horses are still a priority.


Caring for Horses During a Busy Season

Time Management

  • Finding the time to squeeze everything into your day takes some practice, but it’s definitely worth it! Ali knows that if she’s in class until a certain time, she has X amount of time to ride after school before needing to start homework. Sticking to that schedule (with some wiggle room) ensures that all the boxes get checked at the end of the day.

Make Your Passion a Priority

  • Riding horses is Ali’s passion, so she had no interest in putting it on the back burner while in school, despite her grueling schedule. “Horses are a stress reliever for me,” Ali says, so she knew riding would keep her sane in nursing school. On super stressful days, nothing clears her head better than getting on the back of her horse. 
  • If you’ve got a hobby or a passion that keeps you grounded or brings you joy, it’s important to keep up with it as much as possible during a busy season of life.  

Get Creative

  • Sometimes you gotta think outside the box to get all the things done. That might mean flipping a schedule around, calling for backup, or multitasking at boss-level.
  • There’s been many a time when Ali has left class for the day, ran home to load up her horses and rig, and then set off for a race. She’ll bring somebody along so they can drive on the late night drive home while she studies in the truck!
  • When exercising her horses, she’ll ride one and pony another, switching off on who gets ridden. With this system, she is able to exercise 4 horses on the days she gets to ride.

Give Yourself Grace

  • There are gonna be times you mess up. There are gonna be forgotten appointments, races not entered, and tasks not checked off the list. You’ve got to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.
  • Ali has to remind herself that it is absolutely okay if she doesn’t get out to ride 7 days a week like she used to. She’s riding as much as possible, but in this season of life, it’s less than it used to be and that’s ok. 
  • Even as a highly competitive person, there are events this last year she hasn’t entered because she knew it would be too much strain on her or her horses…or just not possible with her schedule.
  • Putting yourself under extreme pressure for no reason except your own expectations is a recipe for disaster. Do your best, and just know that you can’t be everywhere all at once. 

Caring for Horses With a Packed Schedule


If your list is never-ending and you’re wondering how the heck you’re going to be able to juggle all these balls while caring for horses, just take a step back for a minute and breathe. It IS possible to have a work/life/horse balance, you just have to figure it out first. Get a great time management system in place, keep doing what you love (even if it has to scale down a bit), and find new ways of getting things done. Above all, be NICE TO YOURSELF! It might seem like a lot of work, and it is. But as Ali says, “If you want it bad enough you’ll make it work.”

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