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Some advice on eventing and having kids

12 replies

Ehhn · 06/05/2013 14:06

Bit of a cross post from other thread started by someone else in another MN forum... I'm struggling with the idea of having kids. Mainly because I ride horses competitively (at a level that is potentially dangerous - eventing and breaking youngsters), I like going heli skiing and ski touring and I play rugby. I cannot see a way in which I could have children and still live this lifestyle. And I just love my sports so much; it goes beyond just a hobby, it is a total way of life - even though I have a phd, I am choosing tutoring instead of a career so I can devote myself to sports, particularly my horses. I tutor kids so maybe I see th bad side (expense, worry, failing, bad behaviour, bullied, mental health probs) but we have reached a point at which my boyfriend of 6 years wants kids and I don't.

I just see all the struggles, expense, loss of free time and I don't see how you can maintain your identity and life and have children. I have started following mumsnet for some hope and I've found new problems that I never even considered! Is there anyone out there who can bring an alternative view? Is there anyone who has managed to maintain their equestrian life at the same level of competitiveness with kids? Obviously, I know the professional eventers who have, but they have teams of grooms and working pupils helping keep the wheels turning.

Sorry - bit long and rambling, but it's become a huge issue in our relationship...

OP posts:
Plomino · 06/05/2013 17:10

It can be done . I work shifts as a police officer (full time) and also have done eventing competitively , albeit when I was younger and only had the two kids . I don't now I'm 43 and have 5 . It took an awful lot of dedication , getting up at 4am to do the horses to give me evening riding time , which was also late at night . Winters were particularly gutting , and it was bloody bloody hard work . Then we moved to norfolk and have the horses at home , which makes life a lot easier . But it can be done . I admit I did take a long hard look at whether I wanted to carry on ,particularly after being cartwheeled into the ground in front of DH and the two boys due to a combination of horses over confidence and a bad judgement on my part . I came to the conclusion that it is a risk sport . But life is a risk . So is getting into a car . Or for me , going to work . All we can do is mitigate the risks as far as we can . I wear a point two now , I pick sensible horses to ride , within reason . You don't have to sacrifice everything .

My next door neighbour is the same . She has two kids under 10 and competes all over the place . They just go with . But then her DD thinks she's going to be the next Mary King .

DolomitesDonkey · 06/05/2013 17:14

If you just "don't want kids" I wouldn't even bother exploring this avenue. Some people just don't want and I don't think you need to justify your decision. However, Wink, how old are you? What I was quite adamant about in my early 20s changed.

I booked a ski holiday when I was pregnant (summer hol) and I ski hard. Riding 6 weeks after section and tbh it's money that's put the brakes on my ambitions, not children!

horseylady · 06/05/2013 20:12

My ds is 6 months. Pre baby, dh and I discussed everything before getting pregnant. Both is us are sporty.

I no longer do three fitness classes a week. I do still ride most days. I still compete. Last weekend out showing, xc schooling Thursday then I did a competitve 32km endurance ride yesterday. Dh plays squash three nights a week, plus football. But there are compromises to be made.

However, if you don't want kids, you don't want kids.

But from someone who was unsure and easy either way, I wouldn't change a thing.

horseylady · 06/05/2013 20:13

Oh and we skied. We went with friends, me and him took it turns looking after him.

horseylady · 06/05/2013 20:14

And it'll not be long until he has his own pony/squash racket and football either lol

Booboostoo · 06/05/2013 22:22

When you have children your view of the world and your priorities change but it is very difficult (impossible?) to see this perspective from the outside. Imagine someone who is not horsey and sees the amount of time you spend in the dark, cold, wet and mud so that you have a chance to get kicked in the head by an obstinate and frustrating creature that weighs three quarters of a ton! It's difficult to describe the horse ownership experience to a non-horsey person and how its worth the sacrifices (in fact they don't feel like sacrifices because the horse is so worth it). It's the same with children, at least for many people.

However, if you don't want children then you just don't want children and you can't force yourself into parenthood any more than you could force someone into pet ownership.

bonzo77 · 06/05/2013 22:30

I think you can make it work if you want to badly enough. You get / pay for help. You make some sacrifices and compromises. Some things you don't quite do justice to. It's not about the eventing, it's about any of us who live an expensive / dangerous / labour intensive lifestyle. My career, hobby (yes, horses) and leisure have all taken a back seat to my kids. I've achieved a balance that's ok, and things will evolve.

Ehhn · 06/05/2013 22:33

Thanks for your comments... All 3 perspectives Give me some hope!

Dolomites- I'm 27 and finishing my phd. When i was a teenager i was keen for sterilisation so i have matured from there! Guess I'm at a cross roads as phd ends and im suddenly (for the first time!) being offered lots of different rides by generous owners. I could make a go of eventing at last... Got a lot to work out with oh as he currently lives in city and me in country etc etc. and to work out how our lives would work. but good thing is he is supportive of me doing horses, even if he has zero interest in helping/joining in. Mainly because he remembers the 3 months between me selling my young riders horse and me getting a new ride (I wasn't fun)

I like the idea of organising pony club, going to sports day and all of that romantic kid stuff, but I'm just hyper aware of the realities, whereas oh is a bit rose tinted about it all. Also, doesn't help that my mother, whilst v keen to come and help at competitions, has told me there is no way on earth she will hold the baby "while I go out having fun"!

But some discussions with oh will get us further. We will either break up or marry and settle down... It's that kind of decision. As I say, your untinted, achievable accounts make things feel a little more possible.

OP posts:
DolomitesDonkey · 07/05/2013 06:04

right, here's the truth about motherhood. If you tie yourself to a baby for 12 months with no time off for good behaviour you will become dull and mental.

If you go to the stables every day and work and ride - with sometimes daddy looking after baby you will retain you and it'll be a doddle. Sounds like your husband is prepared to muck in. If he can also learn how to skip out, feed and pick hooves for when you just can't then he's a keeper.

A baby can be wrapped and stuffed into a chair next to the arena. Toddlers are harder! Wink

I asked my doc for sterilisation when I was younger ...

Motherhood is what you make of it. Mark king won a 5* at 24 weeks pregnant and of course Emily is coming on these days. I have friends who skied up to and including the day they went in to labour - I also know people who turn in to shells of their former selves.


DolomitesDonkey · 07/05/2013 06:05

Mark king? That's impressive for a fella! Wink

carabos · 07/05/2013 09:08

DH is a horse pro and we were living in a caravan on his yard when I became pregnant. We did move into a house before DS was born but we carried on with a horse lifestyle, including eventing abroad and advanced dressage throughout the DCs childhoods.

We took the DCs everywhere with us, I did childcare and DH did the horses himself. We were super-organised and worked as a team, tapping into help when needed e.g. we were selected for a GB eventing team to Spain when DS2 was about 7, which involved being abroad for a month including over DS2's birthday and we left the DCs with some very good and long-suffering friends.

Remember they are only little for a few years, you don't have to put your whole life on hold while they grow up, even including a pregnancy you're only looking at a couple of years of real difficulty, then you're into the "new normal".

However, as others have said, if you don't want children, you don't want them and that's nothing to do with being horsey.

mrslaughan · 07/05/2013 09:10

I think you are young - and still have time..... I didn't have my first until I was 35 and 2nd when I was 39. That's not to say conception was easy - but whose to say I wouldn't have had fertility issues if we had tried earlier.
I skied up to 24 wks with my first and heliskied when he was 6months old. Did I loose my nerve abit - definately, but I am a real henny penny (the ski is falling in) - which I am guessing you aren't .
I never thought I wanted kids, but in my 30's I did.
It really comes down to money - my mother is also not interested in helping with the kids - lives them, but in her words, she already raised 4 kids..... Not that I would be asking her to do that. Anyway she lives in a different country from us now so she is not around.
What I think it comes down too - is how much money you have and then compromise.
If you can afford full time help with the children and house then if is definately doable. So maybe that needs to be part of the discussion around having children with the OH.
I have a friend - a very keen dressage rider and it was definately part of the discussion she had before conception - and she rode up until she could no longer get on, and was back on when her baby was 6 weeks old.

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