This is our eleventh year boarding horses and with that has come eleven years of holidays. I have always loved Christmastime and like most people it is a time of visiting friends and family and buying special gifts for the ones you care about. It is also an extremely busy time of year for my boarders and the barn is much quieter the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years.
When we opened our business I had never given any thought to taking care of chores on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. Prior to opening our facility we had four horses on our farm and feeding them on any holiday just took a couple of minutes and that was it. Once we had forty horses on our property the job became huge and now I was doing almost two hours worth of chores early Christmas morning along with my husband David and then again in the evening. I quickly realized how much this was going to affect our time with family especially when we needed to travel for the day.
Running a horse business is a wonderful career but there are going to be times when you feel like you are missing out on other things. It takes sacrifice when you own a business and when animals are involved it takes even more sacrifice because you never close for the day and the horses still need to be fed. Now I know you can hire someone to do chores and many barn owners do that but for many people it can be difficult to hire someone to do chores if your place is larger and the chores take a long time and in many cases it is just not a financial option.
Over the years it has become so much easier for David and me and the blues I would feel during this time of year have become less and less. It has become easier now because my girls are older and they understand this is part of owning a horse business and they wait patiently until we get back in the house to open gifts and spend time with each other.
I also have come to realize that there is no perfect job out there. There are many people that work on Christmas day and all the other holidays throughout the year and when I start to feel sorry for myself, I have to stop and count my blessings and realize how lucky I am to go to work out in the barn with beautiful horses waiting for me to acknowledge that I see them.
Yes, Christmas can bring the added stress of trying to get the shopping done, gifts wrapped and the cookies baked but it will all get done and if you take a moment to think about the positives of doing chores on Christmas morning, you might come to find a peace out in the barn that will turn out to be the most peaceful part of your day. I have come to enjoy feeding the horses early on Christmas morning. It is my time to reflect and have some quiet time before the rest of the crazy day begins.
If you feel yourself getting the blues because you feel you are missing out on family functions and chore time dictates when you need to get back home, learn from each year and modify it so that the next year is easier. If you can find someone to help with the chores on a holiday, make it extra special for them. Make it worth it for them.
Also, one more thought-Many of your clients also experience holiday blues and for some of them the barn is their place to find peace and joy. You might come to find out that some of them would be so happy to do chores for you on a holiday. All you have to do is ask.
Trying to be a wife, mother, businesswoman and equine professional can take its toll on anyone and the holidays seem to magnify it. Ladies, I have written a book just for you because I experienced the stress and blues that the holidays can bring when you are trying to do it all. My new book "One Horsewoman to Another" will encourage and inspire you but most importantly you will realize that you are not going crazy and you are not alone. This book is about the journey we take as women and equine professionals and finding yourself again. Sometimes we can get lost in all of it and before you know it, years have gone by and you wonder what happened. I hope you take some time to sit down and read this book. It will encourage you in more ways then you can imagine in both your personal and business life.
Wishing you many blessings with your horse business,