Balancing Riding with School

Balancing Riding with School

It’s that time of year again: time for students to get ready for new classes and school adventures. Often, that anxiety starts to creep in: how will I balance riding with school? And how can I keep up with showing?

You’d think that as school starts, shows would slow down.  But for many of us, it’s actually ramping up for indoors. The end of the horse show season is in November… But it’s also the start of the next. That said, riders who show a lot have a lot to learn to balance. Even those that don’t show a lot have a lot of responsibilities at the barn.  Kids who ride often lead double lives. You might be one person at school, and a whole other barn-based superhero in the afternoon.  

How to Lead a Double Life 

But how do we make peace with these often-opposing priorities?  The goal here is not to squeeze every minute out of every day; it’s to actually create more time. The Horse Show Leases program encourages riders to take education seriously; so, with that in mind, here are our tips to keep in mind as you enter the new school year:

 1.    Eliminate Procrastination

The single biggest time-sucks in this life all fall under the category of procrastination. We find all kinds of creative ways of putting off unpleasant, or even just un-fun tasks.  It could be scrolling social media, having a snack, watching a show, online shopping, or organizing your tack trunk again. But if you can discipline yourself to tackle your biggest, heaviest projects without procrastination, you can save yourself a significant amount of time. That will be as true in school as it is in the barn, future jobs, and life in general. 

2.    Master the Transition

In riding, transitions are key. One of the best ways you can discern a rider’s skill level is in their handling of transitions. We somewhat obsess over them. We do that because a smooth, consistent transition markedly improves the quality of the overall exercise.  

The same applies to other aspects of life. Smoothing out and perfecting transitions is key to productivity. Your day is full of transitions.  Just a few possible examples: 

  •             Sleep-to-wake
  •             English class to Math class
  •             School to barn
  •             Horse 1 to Horse 2
  •             Barn to Dinner
  •             Barn to Family Dinner
  •             Dinner to Homework
  •             History Paper to Econ Homework


In the barn, a lot of us tend to do a better job with transitions. We understand our horse’s need to be efficiently cared for. But at home, we tend to transition slowly, often allowing distraction to creep in. We lose valuable time- which we never get back- in those moments. 

Plan a certain amount of time between tasks or assignments to stretch or shake off the cobwebs. Also, plan your tasks in an order that makes sense. For example, if you have to have your calculator (and math brain) out for both calculus and econ, do those two assignments one right after another. If you need a more alert brain for calculus, do that first. 

Just having efficient transitions may be able save you a good hour every day.

3.    Read Your Class Syllabus & Plan Ahead

A lot of time, a syllabus can seem like a lot of reading and pretty boring. We often blow them off. Let me tell you a secret- your syllabus can be your best friend.  Understanding your class structure well can give you a huge advantage. It tells you:

  •             the way the class is graded
  •             what’s important to the teacher
  •             when big assignments will come up
  •             any loopholes or lack thereof

Through using the syllabus wisely, you can plan ahead to keep your workload moderate and surprises to a minimum.  

There are lots of tips and smart strategies you can use to make the most of your time during the school year. But by employing these three alone, you can save a significant amount of time each day. You can save even more time over the course of the school year! With all that time, you can ride more!  



If you are committed to success inside and outside the show ring, contact Alicia Wilkinson at Horse Show Leases for the best in horses and training.








Jenn Crow
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