Rider Story

How I balance horses, kids and the rest of it!

12 May 2016

How I balance horses, kids and the rest of it!

Having a very busy life, which includes looking after my two gorgeous kids (a three year old girl and a one year old boy), working four days per week, looking after the housework, riding two horses (almost) daily and being a wife to my amazing husband, Andrew, I tend to try and have the view on life “I will do what I can”. After all, my horse needs to be fit, but my kids also need their Mum.

Recently I competed at the Australian National Polocrosse Championship. I played in the Senior Mixed team for Victoria. It has been a long, hard road for the past 7 months to get to Nationals. I had 2 horses and myself needing to get fit enough and strong enough to be selected into a team in January, and the fitness needed to be maintained and built on until Nationals week in April.

Most days I tried to get up and ride in the mornings, getting up at 5:30am, riding and getting back home by 7:30am. I would then get myself, kids and hubby off to our days, be that work, childcare or nanny’s place.

I liked rising and riding in the mornings as I know how tired my kids, and myself, are after our busy days. By the time I get home, spend some time with the kids, cooked tea, bathed the kids and tried to do some housework, I was exhausted. Also riding in the morning gives me the sense that one job is over and done with early, and I do not need to think about finding time to get it done later in the day.

Of course, I cannot physically do that every day. I get tired, some mornings I just couldn’t get myself out of bed. After all I am only human and sometimes my kids do not sleep that well! It just means I need to reshuffle my day. If I cannot get out to ride in the morning I will generally ride after the kids go to bed. We are lucky that our season runs over Summer, so I have long days due to Day Light Savings which gives me an extra couple of hours to play with.

I have a board on our fridge which maps out where we are, what is for tea, when I am riding etc so Andrew and I both know where each other are and what is going on with the kids. Andrew and I both lock in our jobs for the week, so this gives us an idea of what we can expect.

I am lucky to have so much support. My parents help me a lot with the horses and the kids and for this I am forever grateful. My in-laws also help a lot.

The thing that gets neglected the most in my life is my housework. It has always been a real struggle of mine. I have never seen it as an overly important thing. My house is never disgustingly dirty…but the clothes are piled up on my couch, I normally have a few dishes in my sink and the washing basket is full, but somehow we keep it ticking over.

It has been a long 7 months. Lots of early mornings, late nights, long days and weekends travelling around the state with 2 kids in tow. The kids love going to Polocrosse. They have their friends, and my 3 year old loves to take her pony and ride around. Now the horses are turned out, we are all catching up on some much needed rest. Time to start planning out our next adventure….Topsy Ring at a local Gymkhana for Olivia..? I think that could be fun!

Nicole Donnelly, Horse Mum




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