Mar 16, 2022

Nine Eventing Parents Share their Secrets to Balancing Barn and Baby Time

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
USEA/ Taylor Pence

One thing that eventing and parenthood share in common is the amount of dedication required to get it right. Aiming for excellence in horse showing and child-rearing is taxing enough on its own, but combining the two and things can get a little more challenging. For many, eventing truly can be a family affair. We reached out to USEA members to share some of their favorite eventing parenting tips, tricks, and hacks to make juggling all of the pieces just a little easier the next time you head out to the barn to ride or make your way to the start box.

Jordan B.: “Start training them young. Playpens at the barn, amazing supportive clients, and lots of truck naps! Eventually, it gets easier and then before you know it the littlest one is begging to bring her pony to the events too!”

Lisa S.: “Get ready to cry. A lot. For no apparent reason, In front of your trainer and barn mates. Know that not everyone is the same rider they were before they had kids. I sure wasn't and it was a shock to me and I wish I knew that was pretty normal.”

Audrey M.: “I have two young children. Sometimes I have to ride at 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m. (after they go to bed) if I want to ride at all. Listen to your kids and show up for them if they need you. Show up for your partner if he/she/they need you. It’s okay if you can’t do it all. Stop comparing yourself to the 20 something who has all the time in the world.”

Stephanie C.: “The biggest thing that has helped make it all possible is my village of wonderful clients and parents! At shows, they hang out with my kids while I ride. At home, the kids find crazy ways to entertain themselves while I teach and ride. They lunge each other, play with the miniature ponies, dig in the dirt, and play like kids used to back before iPhones and tablets. We don’t keep toys at the barn, and it’s a screen-free zone. I love how the barn is raising my kids to use their imagination, not be afraid to get dirty, and never shy from hard work. My girls love cheering on all of our horses and riders!”

Olivia H.: “Backpack carrier while grooming/tacking/untacking and stroller while riding (with a snack of course)!”

Melissa W.: “Two things: if you ask, most people will help. They are inspired by parents balancing life and family, plus who can say no to a muddy kiddo with big eyes and a desperate mom? Secondly, your child will survive and flourish because of the life you lead. They will see your determination and think that is perfectly normal, so they will be determined in whatever it is they do in life. You are demonstrating valuable skills in time management, social skills, and that life does not stop as a parent.”

Deanna T.: “Setting up a trailer tack room as a playroom works out great for show days. Lots of snacks and activity books are a must.”

Clare M.: “Coolers full of snacks are key, along with whatever interests your kiddos. Our goal was to never make barn time miserable or scary, so we kept them with safe animals and made sure they could get out of the heat or cold. We have awesome kids, and they’re good, helpful, tough partners!”

Christian: “Make the kids work around your schedule, so you can always find time to ride. Organize play dates at the barn with other mothers. Then one can watch while the others ride, and you can take turns. Remember that nearly anyone is able to babysit if you are literally 20 feet away. Grandmas, aunts, uncles, dads, older kids. They're often really excited to hold the baby for an hour or two. Just buy the pony. You know you need one.”

Sep 30, 2022 Convention

Registration is Now Open for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Savannah, Georgia!

Attention USEA members! Registration for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is now open! The convention will be held in person on December 7-11, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia.

Sep 30, 2022 News

USEA Names Athletes for Inaugural EA21 National Camp

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce the selected Young Rider athletes for the Emerging Athletes 21 Program (EA21) national camp, now that the EA21 regional clinics have concluded. Twelve riders were accepted into each of the five regional EA21 clinics, taught by USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) instructors, and now riders have been selected from the regional clinics to participate in the inaugural EA21 national camp this winter.

Sep 29, 2022 Instructors

The Eventing Coaches Program: Phyllis Dawson on Training Horses and Riders

Ninety percent of training a horse is getting the horse to understand exactly what you want them to do. In general, horses are generous and willing creatures who want to please us; very seldom do they behave badly on purpose. Horses don’t come out and say, ‘Let’s make Mom’s (or Dad’s) life miserable today by going as poorly as possible - most prefer to do the right thing, as long as they know what that is.

Sep 28, 2022 Education

A Veterinarian’s Tips for Maximizing Longevity and Soundness

Regardless of the level at which a horse is competing, its veterinary team is at the forefront of most decisions regarding its career and well-being. Liz Arbittier, VMD, CVA, has been working with equine athletes for over two decades. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) in 2001, she worked in private practice with a focus on sports medicine and pre-purchase exams until joining Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center Field Service team in 2013. Situated in the heart of Area II’s eventing scene, the team provides ambulatory services to the surrounding area, which is home to multiple Olympians.

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