Horses and human pregnancy - do they mix?

Tootsie4U

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Its a very personal topic, but I am wondering if I could get some input about how the ladies of the board dealt with having children while still riding horses.

I worry that raising a baby while trying to raise my baby equine will put a big burden on our lives. We have said that we will wait to start a family until we can find a home with acreage so the horses can be there with me and I can perhaps ride while the baby is napping. It seems a big juggling act and Im wondering exactly how much affect it will have on my equine goals.

Thank you in advance for sharing your personal stories :)
 

Tootsie4U

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Oh my, please dont anyone take offense to this thread title, oh my:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: - no jokes either! If a mod can edit it, feel free :eek: Note to self: think before you click!!!
 

Kanuma

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mum continued to ride after she had me!!!!! but she didnt have a young hores hers was a horse that could be left for a while then when you got back on he would be an angel!
 

Echo64

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I personally haven't had babies and ridden horses, but I'm close friends with someone who has. She had an older horse (about ten or eleven, I think at the time) and she rode through her pregnancy, but avoided as best she could, the things that could really hurt her or her baby. She did quite a bit of schooling, and rode pretty hard, but she opted to not do much jumping until after the baby was born.

After the baby was born, it was about four months before she could really come out away from the baby. It wasn't that she really worried about her little one with someone else, but her child was one who was a little fussy about everything (and when they're so little, they need their mothers around all the time anyway), but she got back to riding. She told me it was really weird at first because she'd become used to riding while she was so large, and her balance felt funny.

Unfortunately, she had to sell her horse on, because she couldn't keep a horse and have him just stand out in the field doing nothing. I'm sure she'll look for another when her little one isn't so little, but that was her decision.

A foal, though...that's tough. I think it'd be a lot of work with a foal and a newborn, because each require a lot of time and work separately.
 

Wally

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This is someting, as you realise, that is So personal.

When I was Pregnant I only had one or two horses. The rideable ones went on loan to a friend who ran a riding club once I had the baby in tow. I rode for quite a while while pregnant, but then Fattyhorsepig is/was a very, very reliable, trusworthy horse. Once I had the sprog to look to I put the nags on hold for a while, ...mind you I didn't have such a good time actually giving birth....won't go into details ;)........The super himan in me was at a very low ebb.

You may find that you become a different person once you are pregnant or given birth, you may not feel different, but I bet your thought processes will change and you'll re-organise your priorities, this is something you cannot and must not plan for as you cannot predict the way your hormones will re-arrange your brain....and they will! :)

Yes, you can do both, but only those of us fortunate to have nannies and grooms can do it with any real success. I had neither, so something had to go on hold, just for 12 months, then it was full steam ahead.

If you are lucky and have a load of doting freinds just waiting to baby sit tiny baby then you will be fine. I had no body to help at all. If I got 20 minutes a week of someone else baby sitting that's all I had, it was Mega, mega hard work.

Take things one day at a time, there is never a right time to have a baby, you can put it off for years and years waiting for the "right" time....it never does come if you're not careful.

See which way your mind is going to go. I'm certainly not the same person as I was before I had kids, I'm still a bit of a hooligan, but not half as dangerous as I used to be, once you have experienced the "mother tiger" in you, it may just shock you at the depth of feelings and emotion you are capable of.

I consider myself not a brave rider, I don't do X country any more or jump anything bigger than about 3 feet high.....I think I am now a whimp......there are folk out there who still think I'm off my head and will ride nutters!....I pick my nutters very, very carefully these days!

:D :D

By the way, once young'un is here I bet you won't be able to bring yourself to ride while he/she is napping....you'll want to nap too!;) ;) ;)
 

chev

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Unfortunately that's one question that can't really be answered, since so much depends on your own personal experience - what your horse is like, how your pregnancy goes, how you feel following the birth and so on. That said, I'll share my stories, since it's one thing I've had a fair amount of experience with!

I've been lucky in that all my babies were born following fairly easy straightforward pregnancies. I kept riding till a week before the first was born - in fact backed a youngster at seven months pregnant, and had no problems. Getting back to riding afterwards was a lot harder - partly because I was hurting (and how!) but also because I was swamped by unexpectedly powerful maternal feeling which made it impossible to leave my baby for any length of time. By the time she was four months old I was carrying my second, but resumed riding until shortly before my second was born - again, no problems.

Then I lost my third baby. In spite of being assured that being around the horses had no bearing on it, I still found it very hard to believe I hadn't in some way caused it. Because of that, when I became pregnant with my son, I did much less - I still had about 14 assorted mares, foals and youngsters, but enlisted more help with physical things like carrying water. Youngest baby again was straightforward.

Things I've learnt? Don't make plans - I imagined handing a smiley baby to a doting relative while I rode, to be reunited after a good schooling session. The reality was more like wait till she was asleep, bung her in a carrier on my front because handing her to anyone who didn't smell of baby sick and tears made her scream, before legging it out to the field trying to get feeds, hay and water done before she woke for the next feed (which seemed to be spaced every twenty minutes apart to me). Make sure that the horse is on a minimal routine - the less you have to do the easier it is, so aim for a summer baby! And don't expect too much of yourself. I manage very happily, by taking the baby with me everywhere and simply doing what I can when I can. So if she's asleep, I can get quite a bit done - then we have days where she won't put me down and I get nothing but feeds done. As long as I tell myself this is not wasted time I get along fine.

Do my horses and my babies mix? Some days yes, like a dream, others... well, no, in short. Would I change it? Never.
 

Wally

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Chev, can we get together and write a book on the subject!:D :D You said so much better what I wanted to say!

I too lost one and convinced myself it was because I didn't know I was pregnant and rode, so I proved to myself with the next that it wasn't anything I did.

It was when I was nearly 10 months with him and was recommended to get out and walk a labour on....we decided to work with the sheep ( don't do it if you are on mainland anywhere, pregnant women and sheep should NOT come into contact, we are a certified enzootic abortion free zone) Anyway when I rugby tackled the 3'rd wild hill sheep and missed and was shouted at by my man for letting it go, I realised there was nothing I did to cause any miscarriage.

If a pregnancy is meant to go full term..... and beyond it will, if it ain't it's noboy's fault, nothing you can do to cause it, nothing you can do to stop it miscarrying.


Mind you after that debacle he still didn't arrive......I think he thought I was a horse! 11 month gestation......nearly, not far off I can tell you!:D :D
 

lisae

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random thoughts on kids/horse hobby

Hubby and I courted on horseback, we had two nice QH type trail horses and a trailer and we'd go out on the weekends. We bought our first house and were able to bring said horses home. Once I got pregnant it was quite a shock - twins! ("there goes the budget", were his first words at the ultrasound....) I rode only a couple of times thereafter because I got big FAST and my balance was off and I was 35 already and didn't want to screw anything up with a fall. Alex and Jon were born March '92 and we sold the horses that spring. It was just too much working fulltime and having two babies who alternated naps and a husband who works 14 hour days! To his credit he did the horse chores that winter because I was on pregnancy bedrest, as Chev says you can never predict these things.

And guess what, I didn't miss the work or the responsibility of horses, and they had both gone to good homes. About the time the boys were six or seven, I remembered how much fun/challenge horses were, and bought the Morgan gelding. This came about because the boys themselves were becoming so much more independent, it was time for something for me.

As noted above, this is very personal and another person may not need to wait that long. I will say this, children grow so fast and it is like a blink of an eye, they are asking to drive the family truck. (Yes, they are only 11, but Dad is a farmer and lets them try driving in the field in low gear.) So I would say don't hold off on kids, there's only a certain window of time for that, but you can always get back into horses, and stay with them.
 

chev

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:D :D Mental image of pregnant Wally wrapped round a sheep... :D

On the subject of long pregnancies... my third went on... and on... and I can guarantee, curries, leaf-sprung Landrovers on bumpy lanes, jumping off swings in the park and Rude Things :eek: DO NOT WORK. The threat of induction did it in the end... nothing like fear to bring on labour!

And lisae is so right... I wouldn't have missed out on having these kids for anything. I am very, very lucky.
 

Tootsie4U

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11 month gestation - crikey! :eek:

I suppose it does depend highly on the individual, but the common consensus seems that a delay was in order and the horses went on the back burner for a bit. At least I can rest knowing that you got back in it and still keep going. Thank you again.
 

JaniceH

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Mmmm, difficult one this, it does depend on so many things. I didnt have horses of my own before I had my two boys, but I think it would have been quite difficult as small children are quite high maintenance too, and as Wally said, it is very difficult to predict what sort of pregnancy, delivery and feelings you will have after the event. I had an unexpected c-section with my youngest son, and following a stroke afterwards was out of action for nearly a year, totally unplanned for and totally out of the blue, you just cannot plan for things like that. My two are now 10 and 3 and James (the eldest one) wanted to learn to ride, so I decided to return to riding as well as I did ride quite a lot when I was little and a teenager. The 3 year old stays at home with Daddy, as he is so mobile and would just get under everyones feet and hooves, children of his age have the attention span of a knat lol! But the best thing is that once children get to the age of about 5, then you can all ride out together. I think the safety aspect is something that is constantly in your mind as a mum, you are constantly aware of what that small person is doing all the time. Small babies can be moved around in prams or carseats, to be near where you are, but once they are mobile and crawling, then they will not be happy with being confined while you ride, so you would have to find someone else to look after them for you.

Perhaps horses might have to take a back burner for a while, but if you have help, then anything is possible if you want it enough!
 
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Yann

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Unless you give birth to a little angel (it can happen I suppose), the fantasy of riding while your tot has a snooze will be just that. The reality will most likely be very different, especially early on, I know I'm only a dad but when they're tiny they can completely take over your life and leave you with very little spare time for anything else. Anything you do do may have to be planned like a military operation as well, however simple:D

There's nothing more rewarding in life though and it does change you viewpoint.
 

Kady A

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Morning guys - another mum here. I didn't own my own horse whilst pregnant with Gabriel but I was riding regularly at a yard exercising showjumpers. I consulted with my gp when I found out I was pregnant, she said I had to stop with the high performance horses and settle on plodding about, which I did for quite a while. Sadly a complicated pregnancy put an end to my riding and when I too had problems in delivery I thought my riding days were over - at least for a while. I was back in the saddle 8 weeks after I gave birth only to find that my back seized up and I suffered from sciatica quite badly. I was out of action for 12 months and unfortunately during that time the effects of the rotten labour I had became apparent, that and post natal depression. Time and lots of complications and surgery have gone by and here we are five and a half years on, I have a fabulous gorgeous boy, a lovely mare Stella, I work part time at an EC, the depression is under control (thank heavens for horses and prozac!), the other health problems I suffer as a result of pregnancy/labour I am learning to live with. I don't have the confidence riding I once had, too aware of the fact that as a parent I have such a responsibility to my boy and his daddy. So sorry if I sound a bit doom and gloomy, its so hard to combine your kids and horses at times. You really just have to see from day to day how its going to be, you can't make too many plans with babies and horses as something always ends up going a bit pearshaped. I think we all just find our own way, its trial and error and I wish you lots of luck!

{{{hugs to us mummies and to those babies we have lost and never forgotten))
 

ponynuts

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Hi,
A friend of mine has two children and two horses! When she was pregnant with the second, one of her horses was 5 years old and of course needed schooling. My friend continued working with her horses until she had about 2 months to go but would still look after them after that. I suppose my friend is lucky in that her horses are kept at her house and her OT and mother would look after the children. One point to take note is to think about who would look after your horses if you had a complicated pregnancy. Again my friend was lucky in that her OT and myself looked after the horses if she was tired or wanted to spend time with her children.
I do not have horses or children myself but I do know people that do and they do seem to be able to have both. This is only made possible as they have the support of their friends and family. I think everyone is different as to how they cope with a pregnancy. Some people cope quite well as others find it more difficult to adapt.
My suggestion would be perhaps you could loan/share your horse until you feel ready and therefore you may not feel presurised to leave your baby.
 

chev

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Just like to say, it is possible to combine kids and horses with very little support from friends and family... we moved to the other end of the country when my third baby was three months old. OH was working between 60 and 84 hours a week on shifts and I had twelve horses and knew no-one. It was certainly extremely hard work... but not impossible. During this time I also had one pony on box rest with an injured eye, and a mare in foal.

It's definitely not something I'd recommend, but I do think we can cope with a lot more than we realise if we have to. I think the most important thing to realise is that however cliched it sounds, having a baby (particularly your first) changes your life in ways you could never imagine. Until those changes fall into place, planning your life with that baby is very difficult.

I'd also add that I know several mothers who have full time jobs. They think I'm nuts having four kids and four ponies; I still think they have a harder time of it than I do.
 

LindaAd

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At the time I was pregnant with my second child (first was born in London, so not relevant..) I hadn't got my own horse, and when someone offered me a ride on a lovely Fell pony, I just didn't feel like riding. That was one of the first signs I was pregnant.... I was quite old to be having a baby, too; maybe riding all through only suits the younger ones....?

Didn't get a horse really until the little one was at playgroup, although we had goats to milk and a donkey...That was the easy way of doing it....Now I'm at the other end of the process, and the children have grown up and left home, leaving me with two horses and two ponies. No more goats or donkey, though.
 

shaka

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I'm 14 so can't really comment, but when I saw that thread title I had to do a double take! My boyf and best m8 were standing behind me and saw it and went, no, horses cannot become pregnant with humans, and vice versa.
Anyway, there was a feature in Your Horse magazine yonks ago about riuding during pregnancy. It talked about when you should stop riding, what you should do with your horse during, tips on the yard to make life easier etc. Mary King had a little bit in it as well. She said she rode up untill something like a month before giving birth and getting back in the saddle 2 weeks after. She rode King William round Badminton while pregnant with her second child. When she started getting bigger, she stopped jumping and just carried on with flatwork.
 
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Tinkerbell

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Oh my life - what a complex topic and very, very personal.

On the one hand, I can imagine groups of people looking horrified if you mention horses and pregancy and going "My God! You should never do x while pregnant!" and perhaps leaving you feeling as if you have failed as a mother.

On the other hand, there are those that go "Of course, I was practically IN LABOUR as we entered the jump off!" perhaps leaving you feeling like an inadequate horse owner/rider.

One thing you can be sure of is that children are unpredictable, especially when babies, and as Yann said, any ideal of schooling while the wee one takes a nap are fantasy - enjoy them while they're an ideal! One day you will find yourself realising that you have left the toddler pootling about in the stable, while a bemused horse looks into the back of the car and sniffs the baby seat... :D