When training cost too much time_soltutions_hippologic clicker training

When training cost too much time: Solutions for busy horse owners

When I asked horse people to fill in my survey for my membership (HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy) a huge majority (80%) said that time and money were their main reasons for not accomplishing their equestrian dreams. I found that fascinating answers, since I expected the main reason to be (lack of) “knowledge” or “motivation” (lack of/fear). It breaks my heart to hear so many of you feel you don’t have enough time to spent on or with your horse. So let’s dive into the reasons why training cost too much time and what can be some solutions.
I already wrote about what to do if you (feel) that you don’t have enough time.

Preparation time

Some people find it time consuming to set up the antecedents for training: they have to separate their horses or feed them before training.

In positive reinforcement training we never want to train on an empty stomach. It’s also not wise to ride your horse when his stomach is empty since that can cause ulcers when their stomach acid is splashing around in an empty stomach. Waiting until they have eaten some hay can take 15- 20 minutes. So even if you have some chores to do, you still can’t train.

Solution #1

What if you could find a friend that comes a bit earlier that can toss in a flake of hay while you’re on your way to the barn? Would that be helpful?

Solutions for busy horse owners that want to enjoy their horse more

Think about what advantages it will bring

Yes, you need to make arrangements. Maybe you can ask your friend to text or App you when your horse is fed. It can take courage, maybe you feel you’re a hassle. You don’t know that until you’ve asked it.

Solution #2

Don’t think about what a hassle it is, think about the advantages! Focus on what you want!

Just like in R+ training: focus on the desired outcome. That’s way more fun than stressing over the possible struggles you’ll encounter. Think about how lovely it would be to train one or a few times a week! How much fun you and your horse would have if you could train more! What else do you have a horse for?

Your horse is most likely our hobby and hobbies are suppose to bring you joy! Even if it’s one day a week that you can arrange some assistance, wouldn’t that be great? That’s 52 times a year that you’ll enjoy your barn time more!

What’s the cost of not doing it?

Invest in training! It’s worth it

The opposite side of the same coin is to ask yourself what it will cost you if you won’t make it easier for yourself.

You probably won’t train as much. And you might even let go of your dreams and equestrian goals! How’s that about a cost? Not being able -for instance- to hack out (trail ride) because it’s too time consuming to arrange that or that you don’t have time to train (and prepare your horse) for the thing that you would enjoy so much…

Also putting time in training is the best investment you can make: it often saves time! And you’re team building with your horse if you resolve fears or insecurities your horse has. That will improve his quality of life.

Solution #3

Prioritize! This is your life!

Have you ever considered that if you’re happier, everyone around you feels better? How is that for an investment! In Canada we have a saying: Happy wife, happy life. I can tell you form experience that if I have had a happy barn hour our whole family benefits!

It’s more than just you: your horse would probably love to spent more time with you (you are his hobby and highlight of the day as much as he is yours).

Invest in Training!

I see training as investment! Investment in the bond with my horse, but also it’s a really great time investment that will pay off!
Training investments I made that save me hours on a monthly basis are:

  • House training my horse. I never have to clean up in the arena or grooming place.
  • I taught Kyra to respond to her name and I never have to go get her (in the pasture) or worse: chase her. Which is also a great return on investment mood wise, if you know what I mean. 😉
  • Trailer loading. When Kyra sees an open trailer she wants to jump in. No more stress and no more taking an extra hour to get her in.
  • I did water training so she will go into puddles and I can wash her without ending up wetter than she is. So hosing her off is done in a few minutes.

Wake up call

I realized one day that I didn’t ride as much as I had envisioned. Kyra was of course only an 11 month old baby when I got her. And not to mention: wild! So riding was out of the question for the first few years. Then when she was 4 and half years old I only rode short times and not daily. This became slowly a habit. There was always some reason not to ride…

Basically it came down to fear (I just skip the whole part how I figured that out). Fear of not being good enough rider for her and hurt her, fear of over asking, fear of riding in stormy weather and so on. When I realized that I really love riding, I started to prioritize it. My rides where about $500 I calculated so if you rode more the price would go down (amount of rides/hours in the saddle divided by the price of keeping a horse). A real wake up call.

I also often did “the necessary” when I was at a barn that I needed to do chores and I only came to muck, feed and bring horses in. ALso not a good time management. It would be way cheaper if I would lease a horse or would take lessons! Yes, not as much fun to ride traditionally or NH horses…. So I decided to change my ways.

The longer I live on this planet the more I realize that time is the only thing you never get back if you waste it. Money will, time won’t. I have a horse to enjoy!

Be bold, change your habits

Like many people I have brought up with the idea of doing the chores first, before doing the fun stuff. As parent I now finally understand why parents, teachers and bosses say that…So at the barn too I did chores first, before training.

But…. After chores I am often too tired or don’t feel like it. Or it’s already almost time to go home.

I know when I start clicker training I do love it! Doesn’t matter if it’s under saddle, groundwork or at liberty training. I always enjoy the time with my horse!

Then I changed my habits, figuring out that clicker training and riding would give me energy, while doing chores cost me energy. I also always am figuring out ways to save time doing chores without cutting down on quality.

Solution #4

If you have limited time, start with your training. Prioritize! Have fun first! If you’re a dedicated horse person you will do those chores! Stop worrying about what you’re supposed to do (according to who?).

What brings you energy and what cost energy?

I am also very loyal doing chores, so I would never skip one stall or skip cleaning waters. I know that if time would become the bottle neck I would always put in some effort to get it done! If time is an issue before training, I would simply skip it. Doing that too often, meant I was really missing out on enjoyable barn time. The very reason I have a horse!

So now I do the fun stuff first, get myself energized and enjoy the chores also more. I don’t feel resentment doing chores ‘because they take away my Kyra time’. Now I feel so much better. I wished someone would have told me this 30 years earlier, so I wouldn’t have missed out hours of joy. I am grateful that I did figure something out eventually!

Enjoy your barn time, it’s your hobby! I think this would make a great bumper sticker, right?

What have you changed or will you change to enjoy your horsey time more? What can you do in order to reduce time not spent on training?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Are you ready to change some things? Are you ready to change your life for the better? Enjoy your horsey time more and more often? If you’re ready to change you, stay tuned for next blog.

Need support, inspiration and your own R+ community?

HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy

Join the HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy! A few times a year the doors open up to welcome new members.
In the Academy you get accountability, I am a great fan of goal setting and supporting horse people to live the live they dream of. You get access to my personal feedback and advice and also get access to online courses.

The most important aspect is our supportive, loving community with a wealth of knowledge that we want to share with other enthusiastic R+ trainers. Want to get a notification when the doors open? I usually celebrate it with a free challenge, training or other fun activity. Sign up here.

Happy Horse training!
Sandra Poppema, BSc

Founder of HippoLogic

 Sandra and her horse Kyra
HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy

Join the HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy! A few times a year the doors open up to welcome new members.
In the Academy you get accountability, I am a great fan of goal setting and supporting horse people to live the live they dream of. You get access to my personal feedback and advice and also get access to online courses.

The most important aspect is our supportive, loving community with a wealth of knowledge that we want to share with other enthusiastic R+ trainers. Want to get a notification when the doors open? I usually celebrate it with a free challenge, training or other fun activity. Sign up here.

Happy Horse training!
Sandra Poppema, BSc

Founder of HippoLogic

 Sandra and her horse Kyra


1 thought on “When training cost too much time: Solutions for busy horse owners”

  1. Pingback: Don't have enough time to clicker train your horse? Do this! - HippoLogic Horse Training

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: