I’ve had babies on the brain lately, but not like you may be thinking.

No, I don’t want a baby horse. I’m thinking about human babies, but I don’t really want one of those either.

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In my personal life, my world has been a bit baby saturated as many women in their 30’s experience. Of course my Facebook feed is covered in baby photos vs college photos now, but closer to home my best friend had a daughter last fall and my younger brother is expecting his first child this summer. I’m excited for them and am happily doing DIY baby presents and having grand plans of introducing these future horse girls to their first pony ride. The truth of the matter is that I honestly do like kids!

I just don’t think I want my own.

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To me, it seems like there are three kinds of women in the world (forgive me for over simplifying… I’m about to do so). Women who can’t imagine life without a family. Women who can’t imagine lifeย with a family… and the women in-between. I’m probably a mix of in-between andย oh hell noย – depending on the day.

Recently I read this article from Horse Nation about their new series on pregnancy/riding. The author expresses that she waited to decide to have a child until her “heart wanted it”, which I think is a good phrase. Right now (and maybe forever) my heart does not want this.

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However, I wonder how much horses factor in to my decisions. I’d be curious of some non-existence census data that would say how many horse women of a certain age have kids. Are women who ride less likely to want a family? More likely? The same?

From my perspective, it seems like less likely… but that may be entirely skewed by the fact that me and my peers are mid-child bearing age instead of on the other side of it. It’s no secret that having the time and resources for horse + child makes the situation impossible for many. Even in the best circumstances, it has to be difficult.

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If I was one of those women who couldn’t imagine living my life without being a mother, I’d probably sacrifice the horses with the “I’ll do this again when I’m older” mentality. Instead, I’m a woman who can’t imagine living my life without a dog in the house. I much prefer them to babies.

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Since there’s no census data out there, respond in the comments if you care to answer. I understand this is a very personal decision that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, and that’s fine. I’m merely curious if other womenย feel like me… are horses the thing that nudge me towards the side of non-motherhood?

83 COMMENTS

  1. Horses are definitely, without a doubt, one of the reasons why I am not putting very good birthing hips to use right now (or ever maybe). Seeing my mother give up riding for kids (though her choice) was and is hard for me to watch, and I have a hard time imagining that for myself.

    Besides, with the dog and two cats, I think we’re at maximum capacity for drool/hair/noise/love in our house.

  2. For me, if it werent horses it would be travel. Basically, i don’t want kids because I see no value in it (for myself). I love my life, love the freedom, and nothing about being a mother appeals to me. Of course having horses makes the decision easier, but you can have horses and kids. I don’t think they are a strong enough reason not too. If you aren’t feeling it, there is probably other reasons people just don’t realize. Doesn’t really matter as long as you live the life you want,

    • Agreed! My mom is like “but what will you do when you’re older, you’ll be alone.” I think that’s such a selfish reason to have kids!! Plus I’ll have my crazy horse lady friends ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Yeah, I am here too. Don’t want kids, never have, but I don’t think it is specific to horses. I think they are a good reason, but I would always come up with some reason

    • I’m there too. I don’t want kids and never have – I have all the dependents I want right now with a partner, a horse, two dogs, and two cats. And I have a lot of great friends, too. I have a variety of reasons for not wanting kids, but it all comes down to just not wanting them. I feel really strongly that every child should be WANTED, either by birth parents or adoptive parents, and I know how it is if a parent isn’t 100% on board. So without being committed to the idea, I won’t do it.

  3. Though I am not riding right now, I know I want to get back into horses soon. I’ve never wanted kids. They do not appeal to me in anyway, and birthing one scares me. I’ve also looked at the financial aspect of it, I would much rather have a horse instead of a kid, and I don’t think I could afford both!
    But then again, some days I’m the inbetween lol Oh to be a woman…

  4. I’m definitely in the ‘oh hell no’ camp. And horses play a huge part of that. When people ask me what I do, my default answer is “ride horse”, not my occupation. I like being able to go to the barn 5-7 days a week. While I admire the women who can and do manage to continue riding while their kids are young, I have no desire to add that level of challenge to my life. I’m selfish and I’m totally fine with that.

    Nothing irritates me more than having to defend my choice not to have children. No one is asked why they chose to have children, so why is the flip side considered fair game. I firmly believe that it is not fair to bring children into this world just because of societal pressure. It’s not fair to either child or parent.

    • There has been a lot in the media/news lately about the women having to justify themselves if they don’t want children. I think it’s an important and interesting conversation.

      • SO irritating.

        I’ve always felt that making and raising future members of society is a privilege, not a right. Something that should be done with 100% intention and should become the parents’ #1 priority.

        I wonder how some of the folks inquiring about others choice to remain childless would stand up to those standards?

        • Yes. This. Exactly this. Children deserve 100% of their parents’ intention and commitment, and if someone (like me) can’t give that or doesn’t want to, then there shouldn’t be a second question. Children are so important.

  5. When I was younger, all I wanted was to have kids and a family. Now that I’m older, I think I really like being able to be independent and not have to plan my life and the things I want to do around a little person. I know I would have to give up my horse because I’m doing it on a shoestring as it is, and I honestly don’t know that I would be able to sacrifice that without feeling resentful. I really like the phrase “when the heart wants it”. I think I’ve felt that way over the last 2 horses I’ve purchased, not so much over a baby. I used to feel like the world would end if I didn’t have kids, now I think the 3 bunnies and horse fulfill my need to nurture something. At times, more than fulfills that need. Anyone else feel like their horse is a perpetual toddler? Anyone? No? Just me? ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I waffle around like you do. I’ve often said if someone just handed me one, I’d probably be game, but otherwise the whole pregnancy/giving birth bit is terrifying to me. My husband and I have discussed it some and I try to timeline when it might work out-you know, not now because money, but after Paige has her baby, but then I’ll lose a possibly good year of being able to afford to show Copper, but then I’ll be wrangling a yearling/two year old, and then wanting to ride said young horse…I’m not sure there ever is a good time to get pregnant. Plus there’s the fact that I own/work my own farm that has implications. Pregnancy and manual labor aren’t the most sensible combination really. Also, it is one of those things, if I’m not 100% sure I know that I want a baby, it isn’t fair to have a baby. In my opinion.

  7. I’m totes happy with living vicariously through my friends…. I absolutely cannot imagine having a child right now, or any time in the future, because of all of the time and money it would take away from riding. And then I might go crazy. If I do ever decide to expand my family, I plan to adopt. A) because I feel irresponsible bringing a child into the world when so many need homes, and I have no selfish desire to proliferate my genes and B) I’d adopt at a past the baby stage because I hate babies. I like when the start walking and can poop in a toilet. (Of course I am under no false presumptions that adoption would be easy, it’s just where my heart is if I ever decide to have kids).

    I do feel like horse women tend to be less gung ho in general about bringing new life into the world. Maybe because our maternal needs are met with the affection we dote on our four legged children. I’m not sure. But I also know that more and more women are deciding not to have children. I saw some statistics on this the other day that were pretty astounding, but now I can’t recall them and don’t want to risk misquoting it.

  8. Recently got married and of course the question comes up of whether we are planning on kids. I said, “Horse first” and people think I’m joking…nope! I’m ok with kids but not really a “kid person,” much more an animal person. That is how I’ve always been even when I was a kid myself!

  9. I’m solidly in the hell-no camp! I can’t imagine having a child or ever wanting to. I’m not a fan of babies, or even young kids. I like helping our 4H girls at the barn, but only in small doses and when I can return them to their parents. 24/7 childcare sounds like complete torture to me. The only babies I’ll be thinking about are the 4 legged, 1200lb ones!

  10. I honestly feel that in order to “have it all” (baby/ies AND horses), you need one HECK of a supportive partner.

    In 2013 my husband and I decided to get pregnant, and I knew I’d be sacrificing riding during a portion of my pregnancy. I did get the okay from my doctor to ride my mellow gelding, but stay off my other slightly-more-enthusiastic gelding.

    But, once I had the baby, my husband started encouraging me to get back to the barn and get back on the horses. He willingly stays home with the baby while I do conditioning rides , and while I’m gone for endurance rides over the weekend.

    Without his 100% support, I couldn’t do both. And I honestly feel like that’s the key factor to having it all. Someone who gets how important horses and the baby are and supports the horse addiction and is willing to parent while you’re gone.

    • This so true. I’ve been lucky enough to “have it all” – both my horse and the three little ones (4yr, 2yr, 4months) – only because my husband KNOWS how important it is for me to ride and have my horse time. He looks after the children while I run around the paddock, helps pay for the expenses and encourages me to keep up with it even when I think that I just can’t any more.

      Sure, I do have to make some sacrifices – I’m not showing this year, haven’t for the last four years and I’m not likely to be able to in the next two or so years either… But I love my little family, and I don’t mind missing competitions as long as I can ride!

  11. My fiancรฉ and I plan on having a baby in the next year or so, but since I just got my mare last fall I might push babies back one more show season. I am extremely fortunate that aside from probably finding a partial lease for her towards the end of pregnancy and the first month or two of then baby’s life we should be able to swing it financially. I worry about having the time to be a good mom and a human that has “me” time but I know Patrick understands how important riding is to me and we’ll make it work, as a team. I am also grateful that his hobbies are mostly in the home, so the kid can stay in it’s pack in play while dad does his yard work or plays video games. I really appreciate this conversation. It wasn’t until I had been dating Patrick for 6 months or so when I realized that there will be a bit of logistics to sort out if I do get pregnant (how do I keep my horse in shape, how do I not go crazy when I can’t ride because my balance is compromised or I get motion sickness, etc)

  12. I am the queen of the hell no camp! But honestly, horses were never a part of the equation. I just do.not.like. kids. Never have… Even when I played “house” as a kid, there were no children involved. I don’t really even like my niece…just don’t tell my sister-in-law that – LOL!

  13. When people ask me why I don’t want kids, I answer because I ride horses. They are just as expensive, accident prone, and adorable in my opinion ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. I was always oh hell no! But now I’m more like you. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I had maybe one. But I’d also be perfectly happy not having kids. That said, I’m an old spinster (35 and single) so my window is closing anyway. I have a niece which is probably the best of both worlds. I can have baby time when I need it, and give her back when I’m over it!
    From experience, I have several trainer friends who made having kids work with horses. They have nannies to help out so they can get riding done. So it’s doable if you can afford it. I don’t know that I could handle having my farm AND kids financially nor as far as time would allow. Since I also have a full time job. Most of my friends that rode just for fun, either gave it up, or chose to ride only once a week while raising their littles. For me, horses first. All day every day. That probably would make me a terrible mom anyway!

    http://www.amateuratlarge.blogspot.com

  15. This is something Johnny and I have been talking about for a couple of years; we are both terribly undecided. He knows the horses are important to me. I know he has his own hobbies to pursue. We both enjoy the lifestyle we live. We can take trips easily, get dinner at Whataburger at 9 PM, and blow all of our disposable income on saddle pads and Pokemon cards. For us, it’s difficult to imagine what life would be like with a child. I also have a hard time imagining myself as a mother.

    Two of my horse friends have had babies in the last year; one was back in the saddle as soon as her doctor cleared her, and she’s actively competing again. She totes her son around their farm, takes him to horse shows, and generally doesn’t let having a child get in the way of the rest of her life. Her husband is super supportive, too, which I think is very important. The other friend has decided to take a year off riding; the general assumption of mutual friends is that she’ll never return.

    I’m personally torn on the issue, as I think having a kid could be sort of fun. But I also like having money and time for ponies!

    • We have waffled a lot too. I think waffling is important, because it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. If the answer isn’t an instant yes for all parties involved, I think the right answer is to take as much time as you need to think things over. It’s not like you can change you mind later!

  16. I’m a momma of 2 in my early 30’s, and with a likely possibility of #3 here soon. I also have had horses all my life and LOVE them, but for me family always came first. And no, I have not always liked kids, in fact I really only like my kids most of the time! But like you said, its a heart thing.
    It is about impossible to ‘have it all’ when it comes to kids and horses. If your with the horses you feel guilty about missing time with the kids, or the very least who is having to watch them. If you haven’t seen your horse in a week you feel bad about that! Like a previous poster said the only way it can possibly work well is having a bang up husband that won’t give you crap about going to the barn and doesn’t mind watching them for you.

    As for me, I’m okay with waiting until my girls are older to spend more time with my horse, and just try to make it work the best I can. I have tried taking them with me to work/ride them but have had a few close calls that has put a damper on that.
    Ok, done with my book!

  17. I’ve never wanted kids, and I’m about to be 35 so I doubt that will change. I love seeing kids dressed up in show clothes (until they whine/scream/shove their face at my dog, but I digress). I love being an aunt, mostly because I get to do all the fun stuff with none of the work. I wouldn’t say I hate kids, because that’s too strong, but I have a very low tolerance for their shenanigans and definitely don’t want one in my house under my supervision 24/7.

    As for the horse girl-no kids correlation, I get to nurture and love my horses/cats/dogs, so perhaps that helps fill a “need” that might make people crave parenting. I don’t really like saying that my horse is my “kid” though, for a couple reasons. One, to me he’s better than a kid, because he’s an amazing magical fantastical animal, I don’t have to change diapers or listen to him cry, he doesn’t keep me up at night (at least not often), and I don’t have to put him through college. You can’t go galloping through a field with a baby, you can — and should — do that with a horse. Two, it undermines how hard being a mom or dad is. I see what my friends’ lives are like and I honestly can’t imagine doing it. I don’t even know if I could.

    On a related note, my boyfriend and I are in the process of buying a farm (fingers crossed!) and it has a tiny one bedroom house on it which is perfect for us. Every contractor/inspector/professional we talk to just assumes we want to expand the house because we are going to have kids. We just laugh and assure them that we intend on having lots of donkeys who don’t require a second bedroom or bath.

    I wrote you a novel. Whoops. Obviously I have lots to say on this topic!

    • I also don’t like comparing my animals to people’s kids. Sure, animals are responsibility just like kids are… but the scale is so, SO different. Completely on your same page there!

    • Yes – I know I linked to it in my blog roundups. I’ll see if I can find it.

      I believe the end result of the poll, as admittedly unscientific as it was, was that many equestrians were making a choice of horses over kids.

  18. I was really unsure for awhile how I felt about kids. But then I spent some time last year really thinking about it-and realized I never saw my future just being my husband and I. Now I just have to get over the fear of babies and birthing part!

  19. In the future I would like kids, yes. I think it is totally do-able and I think that it would only be a sacrifice if you made it one. People can find ways around being able to ride and still raise a child – for those who are in the Hell-No camp I do respect your decision still.

    Kids are a pretty big part of people’s lives and they are expensive. But you don’t necessarily have to forgo one for the other. *shrugs* There are ways around it all!

  20. I am also an inbetweener, but I have a different problem. There is a more than likely chance I would give lyme disease to my child either in-eutero or via breast milk. I have a really hard time thinking it is ok for me to do that, but it makes me sad because some day I would like to make a mini Blake. For now, I will keep playing with my ponies.

  21. I would definitely like kids in the future but am realistic in knowing that horses won’t be my priority in life anymore once we have kids. I know what I’d have to give up and I am willing to – just not for a VERY long time!

  22. I am just like you: somewhere between “meh” and “oh hell no”. most days it’s definitely hell no. I also have issues with working and mothering- I told my husband the best chance of him having a kid was letting me go in with my friend who wants to start a MD farm brewery with 10 stalls to teach and train out of. still don’t know if I want to give up my “sweet government salary” though.

  23. I’m right there with you! Same place on the spectrum. Same place seeing all my friends have kids. Same place of liking kids but just not super interested in one of my own.

    Saiph and I recently had a conversation about it all and she noted that being a mom is something you have to want more than anything else. More than horses. More than your other loves. Even more than your relationships with those you care most about. The being a mom and mothering your kid(s) should always come first.

    I thought that was a great way to think about it and gauge if I’m really ready. If I’m hesitant about being able to set all other things aside, then I’m not ready. And I can honestly say I am NOT ready. Not now, maybe not ever. My mother was ready and is still absolutely outstanding…it’s a high bar and I don’t know that I’ll ever meet it. Until I feel I stand a chance at being as awesome as she was, I won’t have human kids – and I am 110% okay with that.

  24. I do not want children, and I never have. I like kids mostly, and certainly adore my niece … but I don’t want my own. I have a wonderful life with the horse I have always wanted. I love my independence WAY too much. I think children should be for people who really WANT children. Plus I’m lucky to keep a cat alive … not sure I would be a successful parent anyway.

  25. omg that nugget in the sweater <3 adorable!

    I've never been a "baby" person. I'm an only child and I live far from my extended family so I really don't even know how to BE around babies. I am great with the 2 and up crowd, though! I was always firmly in the "undecided-more towards no" group but after I nannied 3 boys under the age of 8 one summer, I actually came around to the idea a little bit. But I know I would only want one child.

    The spinster thing really might decide for me…which is fine.

  26. Interesting topic for sure! From reading the comments, I am at a whole different point in my life than those who have commented so far. I am 49 – both daughters are in their 20’s and on their own (for the most part!). I did not get my horse till I turned 40 – youngest daughter was my horse lover and started riding around age 10. I know several women with young families who ride but most of their children do as well. I admire these women and wonder how they manage it all. If I was back in my 20’s without children and had my horse – not sure what decision I would make.

  27. I’ve never wanted kids, but I have to admit that having horses does definitely come into play. Also, I don’t think it’d be fair to have kids with the lifestyle we live, moving from place to place every few months. Along with that, there are so many people that grew upmom the track that end up going all wrong. Plus, I can’t even smell a dirty diaper without gagging.

  28. The timing of this post was interesting to me since it’s coming so soon after the conversation Liz referenced above! That conversation was the first time I was able to really express why I have never wanted kids: because if my world falls apart and all I am left with is the child, if all I can have is that child (beyond the horses, the husband, my pets, my lifestyle, my job) would I be okay with that? Would I be happy?

    The answer is a huge resounding NO.

    And I feel like the best moms are the ones that would be completely willing and happy to give up everything for their child. I’m not saying that they *have* to do that, but it’s something that does happen so, so often. I have an amazing mom. A mom that I could not imagine being any better than she was and is. We talk on the phone every day; she is my best friend now that I’m a grownup, which seems really weird to a lot of people. My mom really did lose everything: my dad abandoned our whole family for another woman and left us stranded on the island. And my mom got up and kept on keeping on. She has an iron will. She never once showed us how devastated that left her. But she adored my dad and had lived for our family. And thanks to the support network she had (her sisters and mother; we lived at my grandmother’s growing up) she was able to focus singularly on my brother and me. We were raised by a tribe of women. I wish my mom had not had to lose everything, but I loved our life growing up and I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t because of that.

    As an adult now, I look back on all of that and can’t help thinking, “How did she do it? How did she survive?” Her world basically imploded. She survived because the one thing that she had wanted more than anything else in the world, more than true love, than the house with the white picket fence, than a professional career, was to be a mom. And I can’t hold a candle to that.

    The horses are one of the many reasons why I choose to stay childless, as I am surrounded by SO many friends who had to give them up for years, if not decades, in order to have children. And watching them come back as re-riders, their former confidence lost because of aging bodies, is a little heartbreaking for me. I commend their bravery, but I don’t know if it is something I would be able to do. So yes, horses are a factor now, but I first formulated my wish to not have kids when I was 7 years old. It was right after my parents’ divorce. I said, “I never want kids. I want to find the love of my life and be an artist or work with animals when I grow up.”

    And here we are.

  29. I like to read Scary Mommy Confessions because it mostly validates my feelings on not having kids.

    I have always been completely uninterested in childern. I literally see babies and small childern and feel… nothing. And always have. Show me a puppy? I freak out and get down on the floor to play with them immediately.

    I feel like if I were meant to have children, I would actually have to want them first. Add to that making lunches, getting up in the middle of the night, going to every soccer match/hockey game/dance recital and I am like “Hell no”.

    And, I would 100% have to give up horses, for financial and time reasons. And I get much more fulfillment out of that.

  30. I don’t want kids regardless of horses. But horses fit into the why I don’t want kids. Part of it is easy: I seriously have 0 desire to have a baby. I see other people’s babies or kids and feel 0 instinct to have one of my own. I see other people’s dogs and feel a burning desire to have them even though I already have 2 dogs. So a lot of it is probably just genetic. However, I think the real reason is selfishness. I want to live my life. And this is the part horses fit into. I want to do things that having kids would make difficult/impossible given I am not rich enough to have a full-time nanny and send my rich spawn off to boarding school. I want to travel and ride horses. I know some people still travel with babies, but it does not look fun. And I know some women keep riding after kids, but the majority that I know don’t. They say they will, but then they slowly drift off and stop.

    So no kids for me. Ever. But everyone should do what makes them happy.

  31. ALL HORSES NO KIDS FOREVER.

    And not because I’m gay. It’s 2015. I could have kids any number of ways if I wanted them. I just DO. NOT. WANT. KIDS. At all.

    PS I’m a preschool teacher, ha.

    Anyway, even on my riding hiatus I didn’t want kids. Now that I’m full-on back with a horse who I think is insanely talented, I’m even less interested. No thanks. I’m a FABULOUS aunt, though. Like, find me a better one. That’s my job and I do it very well. ๐Ÿ˜€

  32. I think I am a rare breed haha! I have 2 kids, 2 horses, 2 dogs and a husband.

    I don’t slack on my riding (still lesson 2 days a week and hack 2 days a week) because of the kids.

    I still get to the barn 6-7 days a week, I bring the girls with me and we turn out, groom and fill water when hubby is at work on the off days when hubby is working.

    I have other friends with kids and horses and they aren’t as die hard as I am, maybe I am crazy? But I have chosen to be a mom and the best rider I can be.

    My girls love going to the barn, it’s like a second home to them. The 4 yr old knows the rules and I am strict about manners and behaving.

    If you want something, you will make it happen.. it’s not easy but hard work and dedication make great things happen ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. i always assumed i’d have children until one day i woke up and thought, ‘ehhhh nah not for me.’ i love my niece and nephew very much – but am happy with the more limited nature of those relationships vs. actually being a parent. i enjoy the freedom of doing what i want when i want (call me selfish if you like) – and that happens to take the form of all horses all the time lol

  34. I’m not sure where I stand. I’m not sure that I want kids. Some days I think maybe I do but I’m worried that it’s for the wrong reasons. For now I’m happy with life the way it is.
    On another note, I’ve been trying to work out how to write a similar blog because of this (http://www.yourtango.com/2015274167/childless-by-choice-women-are-the-reason-society-is-deteroriating) article that made me rage! But more of a what’s society coming to than a should I shouldn’t I.

  35. Three of my favorite things are riding horses, drinking alcohol, and eating sushi. Nope, I don’t think I’m cut out for incubating a child for nine months!
    Also, my co-workers’ daycare is more expensive than my board…

    Plus, I often walk a very fine line of managing some chronic health issues (mostly hypothyroid, pcos, tmj, and chronic sinusitis). When things are going well, I can take on the world as well as anybody else. When they aren’t, its a struggle just to make it through the work day without spending all my time at home sleeping. Although I’ve heard getting pregnant helped some women, I’m very leary of adding a child to the mix.

    Plus… I just don’t have baby fever. Foal fever, yes. Baby fever? Nope. Nope. Nope.

  36. I recently held a baby for the second time in my life, actually the first time where I willingly held one – I was forced to hold my nephew when I was young. While everyone else was watching kids, I was watching horses.
    My reasons for not having kids are fairly selfish really, but isn’t having a kid so you (potentially) have someone to take care of you when you are old selfish too? That would be my only reason besides the fact that as my husband has said we would make one really smart kid, lol.
    If I had a kid though, I would never see it. I’m gone all day at work, home to eat, then off to the barn til 9-930 every night of the week. I have no intentions of changing that schedule besides maybe one night off if I ever get back to one horse. I spend at least 4 hours a day on the weekend at the barn as well. So basically my husband would have to raise the kid. Then add to the fact that I have no interest in the get huge, can’t ride, pop something way too big out of my body thing and you can see it’s not happening, lol.
    I have found that I have an affinity for well behaved kids who love horses though. Plus P loves pony rides and kids that come with goodies for him. So I’m hoping my best friend’s little girl will grow up to love ponies and that I can be her horse crazy “aunt”.

  37. I thought I would have one or two when I was younger but life didn’t work out that way and I’m okay with that. I’m the only childless one in my group of riding friends and the “You can’t possibly understand” thing does get old sometimes…

  38. I feel like I’m the total opposite of everyone on here, hah! I’m still in my early 20s and in NO rush, but eventually I want a whole gaggle of kids. I want my own personal army. Like, I want All Of The Kids. Gimme.
    I do get a little panicky sometimes thinking about all that I would have to give up- riding is my therapy in many very real ways as well as my passion. But I still have many years before I have to think about that, and who knows what could happen in those years.

  39. Interesting topic! I have been married two years and the only reason I have held off on owning a horse is the fact that we would like to start a family in the next couple years. I lease, lesson & show so I feel like my horsey side is being fulfilled and I don’t have to feel guilty about the time/money spent on a horse I own (or guilty about not spending enough time with said horse) when we decide to have kids. My husband is well aware that as soon as the kids get a little older, leasing will not be enough for me and I will own a horse again. That’s a very personal decision for everyone!

  40. I would like kids someday but not right now – yes, because of horses. I’m 26 and a lot of people that I know my age already have kids. I figured that I wanted to enjoy being an adult without worrying about kids for awhile. I also want to focus on my riding and meet some goals that I know will be a lot harder when I have kids. Part of it is finances too, I’m making two vehicle payments (house, horse, etc.) each month and my thought is to pay off what I can then possibly start a family. My husband is a family guy and is great with the neices/nephews. I eventually would like a little girl that I can do mother/daughter horse things with (hopefully she’ll be into horses). But I mainly just want to get some things accomplished, finances straight, and then “my heart will want it.” I’m thinking before I’m 30.

  41. For those peeps in their twenties, just enjoy it! I wasted a bunch going to college (lol) and missed vital horse time. Now I’m doing the juggling kids, work, hubby, horse game. I think if I had stuck with horses through my twenties it would have been easier.

    Sometimes I want to sell horse and just go back to occasional lesson. But once we get the little one more situated and hubby can bring kids back to barn I know it will be more fun again. My 3 year old is a crazy boy but he loves the dirt and horses etc and i love sharing that with him.

    So the one thing that is hard to explain is the weird way having the kid (usually) changes you. I never really was a kid person, but knew I wanted them. Once I had mine, my heart broke open and softened a little of my jaded nature.

    I always respected women who held firm to not wanting kids, it never should be done out of obligations or accidents. I am bummed some of my really cool horse friends aren’t making really cool horse friends for my mini me though ๐Ÿ˜‰

  42. I’m about to turn thirty and I most definitely do not want to have kids. After seeing what my parents went through and are going through with my disabled brother… I just don’t want to risk that happening to me (although I will take care of my brother and my parents when and if that time ever comes). Yeah that’s selfish. It’s not my only reason though. A phobia of vomiting and a fear of pain are two more reasons. I do like kids (in small doses) and they all usually love me. Every mother that I’ve babysat for says I’m really good with them…. but babysitting is enough to convince me I don’t want to do it full time. I much prefer my dogs and horses. ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. I’m also in my thirties, and married. We have no kids, and no plans to have kids. I’ve never wanted kids, they have never figured into my life plans. Even at a young age I hated playing “house” I’d much rather play “office” or “animals”. I have nothing against kids, I love my niece, and she’s totally awesome, but I don’t think they are for me. I’d much rather spend my time and love on my horse and cats.

  44. I was a mix of in-between and hell no but somehow I ended up with two kids. They are 15 and 13 now and I have absolutely no regrets. I did take time off from riding, but now I’m riding more than ever, and sometimes the 13 year old comes with me. Life is good.

  45. This is a subject close to my heart, since I’ve owned horses nearly my whole life and I’m currently pregnant with my first baby!

    I always knew I wanted kids. And I know that if push comes to shove, if finances don’t allow me to own a horse – I’d choose raising a family over having a horse. Although I’d still do my best to lease out my mare or something before immediately jumping to sell her. I can’t really imagine not having a horse, but I’ve pretty much just been a weekend warrior for the past couple of years…so I’m not as diehard anymore as lots of you bloggers are ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Still so far away from it, but I definitely do, assuming the timing works out right (as in, hi, I’m so single). I love that I grew up riding and showing alongside my mom and would love to have that someday. The hours and miles we logged on the road hauling, the show mornings, late nights in a hotel, that time was the most priceless thing and I am so thankful for it (and would love to do it again with her in a few years!) I know there’s no guarantee any future minions would even like horses, but it’s not even so much the horse aspect as it is the bond aspect. My mom is my very best friend. I can’t imagine a future without at least one child. As for horses, I think you just find a way to make it work. There’s a reason I chose my field and graduate school and a lot comes back to being able to support horses and my lifestyle in my future.

  47. I am at the point now where I am ready to start having kids in the near future. I had a (non-horse person) friend tell me the other day that after I have a kid I won’t care about horses anymore. I wanted to pull an old school “talk to the hand” move and walk away! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m determined to keep horses in my life! And I get so excited about the thought of experiencing horses with my kids! My horse better stick around long enough to tote my kids around!

  48. I’m in the same boat as you (minus being in a relationship). Yes, it’d be nice to have a little one that I can push pony stuff on one day… but for now. I’m enjoying the adult-me time. Plus, all my friends have kids so I can steal them… Then give them back. I’m already planning lead line on Brantley with Hannah…

  49. Everyone’s comments are so interesting to read! I’m 32 and have a 4 year old and a 9 month old. I didn’t want kids…until I did. About 5 years ago haha. A supportive spouse or someone else who’s around and supportive is imperative if you’re gonna be a mom and ride horses. After my first, my mom came over several times a week and I rode my horses. After my second, my mom got a job where she came come over all the time. My husband is not willing to watch the girls for me to ride. So I don’t ride. ๐Ÿ™ but one day the baby will be big enough to be out there with me and I’ll ride again. My 4 year old asks all the time to ride!

    • Okay, your post and my comment totally inspired me! On Sunday, I asked my husband to watch the baby so me and our 4 year old could take turns riding. (Then of course, I walked the baby around, too – her firs time!) We had so much fun that I decided to figure out a way to make it happen more. The very next day, me and the girls went outside. I had the baby in my carrier on my back while I gave my older daughter a riding lesson (right now she just walks, but she’s learning how to steer and woah and all that good stuff – and I think she’s a natural!). After her mini lesson was over, I plopped the baby in the baby jail (AKA pack n’ play) that I brought outside and put in the shade. She happily played while I got a ride in. Man it felt so GOOD!! We repeated the process today with success again. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  50. I didn’t read all of the comments, but please, please don’t think you can gauge how you feel about having kids by your experiences with other kids. Parenting is hard, but awesome. I never really wanted kids and now I have 4. I still don’t fawn over babies, but I find great joy in watching and raising my own.
    We also have 4 horses, and I’ve had horses through my pregnancies and babies. My oldest is 7 and I’ve not found anything harder then being a ‘horse-mom’ as they all want in, but man is it fun! It’s super busy (I work, teach, and am getting my masters as well as the horses and kiddos), but it’s ok. My kids have added more to my life than I would’ve ever known; just like my horses!

  51. Really interesting to skim through the comments and see all the thoughts! I knew that if I had a baby before a horse that I would still be riding, albeit in a limited capacity, but horse ownership would be put on the back burner for later in life. I would hate to feel regret for not living a passion during a time in my life when I have the flexibility to truly enjoy it. Now that the horses are locked into the budget we can start to think about kids :).

  52. Wow this hit home! My husband and I have been married almost 5 years now and everyone keeps asking when we’re planning to have kids. We had always promised each other we would wait until we were at least 30 and we’re only 28 now…but as I’m getting closer I keep questioning if I’ve accomplished enough with my riding career to validate taking a year off. I don’t want to feel like I let myself down if that makes sense. I will say I am lucky enough to have a family farm to keep my horse at and a younger sister who I know would take over riding my gelding for me. My guy can be a little spunky sometimes, so I don’t think I would feel comfortable riding while pregnant.

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my thoughts on the matter! Having a child just seems like too much of a life change still…I’m thinking “accidentally” getting pregnant would make it easier! lol

  53. not sure I can add anything to the discussion, but here are my two cents: I am 44. I’ve taught elementary school for about 25 years (I was a classroom aid during college). I’ve been with my husband since 1990. We don’t have have kids and never wanted any. I love children, but they are my job, not my life. Instead, I have two horses, a dog, and we travel. We’re in Portugal as I write this. I live a very rich life.

    My husband once told me we WILL regret being childless at some point, but the question was could we live with the regret. That was a very wise way to look at the situation. Acknowledging that there would be regret made it easier to continue on the path that we chose.

    Before you decide kids or no kids, you might want to try my husband’s litmus test: can you live with regret. My answer was a resounding yes. By the way, Portugal is absolutely fabulous!

  54. Thanks for such a great article Lauren! This topic is very close to my heart right now. My whole childhood and into my 20s I said “I’m NEVER having kids…just horses and dogs!” My husband and I agreed on this matter completely. My parents respected our decision, but I know they were disappointed. In the past 2 years or so, now that I am in my 30s, I went from the “oh hell no” category to the “maybe, on some days” category. My husband remains firmly in the “oh hell no” category, and it is a bit of an issue in our relationship. I am not convinced myself (for a lot of the same reasons as the comments above – horse time lost, selfishness, not a kid/baby person, etc), but I feel like my life has no purpose right now. I think – what is my purpose in life? – go to a boring job, ride my horse, sleep, repeat??? There has to be more. I just can’t convince myself that having a baby will fill that void. Anyone else feel that way?

  55. I pretty much always said that I didn’t want kids. I never babysat and I couldn’t even feign interest when coworkers got pregnant. So, basically, I was one of you twenty-somethings who say no kids.

    But then I decided that I didn’t want to miss something that could quite possibly be the most amazing thing in my life. There is a biological time limit. At 33, after 10 years of marriage and a lifetime horse obsession, I had my daughter and she is more wonderful than I ever could have imagined. I still love my horse of nine years and I miss the hours that we used to spend together, but my daughter is so worth it. I do have a supportive husband and I get to ride, but the time required to raise a child is monumental. In some ways I feel like I have it all, but I also work my butt off (my husband does too). Kids and horses are really expensive, but when my daughter says “Harley” and willingly puts on her helmet, it is priceless.

    I want to tell you that you don’t want to miss this, but I never would have believed it myself. And, I don’t think that I would have wanted a kid if I hadn’t had my horse first. I do not regret the hundreds of hours that I spent with my horse. Things are just getting evened now.

  56. I will weigh in on this and maybe give it another perspective. When I was younger I was in the Oh HEYULL NOOOOO!!!! group. I might want kids, but not now. I didn’t even like other people’s kids. Then I had one. Yeah it kind of changed things. I finally made the decision to sell the horse I had, which was actually long overdue. I rode oher people’s horses now and then. I missed having my own, but I didn’t miss the one I had if that makes sense.

    Fast forward a few years, the child was 2 and the hunt for a pony was on! Something that would ride & drive so if kidlet decided she wasn’t all that ‘into it’, then at least I could still play with said pony and have fun. I made it work. She showed, tried barrel racing and we taught the pony to drive, because in all honesty, the one we found didn’t know a thing when I bought her.

    Fast forward 10 years, kidlet is now in her teens, I’m married and found out I was pregnant with twins. The kidlets are 6 now and out of 10 horses we had at the time of our split, I’m down to 3. The kids want to ride, so I put them on ponyman and lead them around. They love it, he loves it, everything works.

    As it was said upwards in the comments, you need a good support group. You also need someone you trust to watch the kids! Maybe I’m kidding on that last part. It can be done and I feel that part of the problem with seeing other people’s kids running amuck and misbehaving? No I certainly don’t want kids like that. But the beauty in it all, I can raise my kids to be quiet when needed, respectful of others, have manners and they are FUN to be around. When it’s someone elses kid, you have little to no say or input over their behavior or discipline. What you can do is influence them and let them know, you may do this at home, but you don’t do it here…

    If it’s meant to be, it will happen and you’ll make it work. it’s what you do as parents. Having horses as ‘me time’ is not a bad thing. We all need our own space to keep our mind fresh so we can come back and be our best. And I agree, if you want it in your heart, then it’s time. You’ll know if it’s for you or not. It’s your body, your decision.

  57. I’ve always been in the “I want kids” camp, and now that we are expecting one, it makes that stance pretty firm! Ha! HOWEVER, I will completely admit that I am spoiled by having a husband who rode since he could hold onto a saddle horn, and an extensive family of horse lovers who encourage/demand any of our kid/s be horse savvy.

    I hope that this kid is ready to be bombarded by love from both our families, and our barn family who are incredibly supportive. I thought this subject was really cool neat to get into, as horses are such a time commitment. I think the general consensus from my post last fall was that most people said if they didn’t want kids it wasn’t all about the horses.

    I do know that some time wrangling will need to happen down the line, but I’m going to go into this completely open minded, and just as horse crazy as I have always been. Things will work out.

  58. I was right there with you for the longest time, but at a certain point something just clicked and I knew it was the right time. So glad I did! Lulu loves going out to the barn with me. Or at least I think she does ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not riding nearly as much, but that has much more to do with other circumstances such as losing two horses this year than having had a baby. I still lesson twice a week on borrowed horses and as soon as I move closer to the barn (happening in one week) I’ll probably be out much more. Fingers crossed!

  59. Having not grown up with horses, I told my husband that I wanted to get a horse first, before kids. This was before we were married. My reasoning was that I was afraid that once we had kids, the likelihood of having a horse decreased dramatically. There would always be an excuse. Not that there aren’t plenty now, but rather, even more. So that is the direction we are going.

    I’ve also struggled with the idea of having kids because I was always one of those ‘hell no’ people, and so are most of the women I am around. The science field seems to foster more forward thinking, independent women. I feel like if/when we do have kids, I’m going against the grain a little.

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