I’ll bet no one has ever told you compromise is the spice of life. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, clearly you haven’t eaten it right because a little spice is definitely nice. Especially when it makes your food taste better. But enough of a metaphor – I’ll bet you’re not surprised to hear compromise is truly the answer to most problems we run across.

So you have a full-time job, but you still want to make sure you make it to that end-of-year class you are dying to ride in, right? It’s no use pretending you’ll be able to manage everything yourself. The dogs will need to be fed after you leave the office. Your husband, boyfriend, or otherwise may also require some kind of attention, lest they realize they’re number two to your horse. Shouldn’t they all know that by now?

Having a full-time (non-horsey) job doesn’t mean you can’t also show, and frequently. Simply put, there’s more planning and organization to be involved. Success comes from careful planning and organizing, so crack open your day timer or calendar and be sure to give yourself ample time to prepare before your show.

This usually means allotting more time than you initially thought. Many bosses aren’t going to take kindly to you when you knock on their door and request to head out early because you have to school your horse in the indoor and your farm went to the show a day early. Unless he’s particularly equestrian educated, he’ll laugh. To save yourself from that situation,  request your time off early. Be prepared to call your trainer to see if she can hack your horse for you.

I know, I know. Skipping the preparation ruins some of the fun, but wouldn’t you rather be on good terms at work (so when your horse colics, or throws a shoe no one will mind when you skip out) and have your horse exercised? Compromise, my friends.

In the past, it’s definitely crossed my mind if I can’t do all parts of the show prep myself… I don’t deserve to go. With real life responsibilities, sometimes we don’t get to do what we’d like to and we have to find a suitable stand-in until we can get to the show and bless our favorite four legged friends with too many treats and a loving pat.

Know your schedule, and know that things often go awry. It’s unplannable, so going with it like a rolling stone is important. Communicate with your trainer and barn manager about your limitations and time restrictions. They’ll respect your commitments if you’re upfront and you know what you need. That’s always half the battle, right? So plan, plan, and then plan some more.

Let’s face it. If you’ve got to use your vacation days to feed your inner horse-girl, then you’ve got to. Vacations may be less often.  Showing with a full-time job is manageable. Even if you just have to take this call really quickly. Duck into your horse’s stall to chat with your team. They’re probably used to hearing you talk about your horse, anyway.