Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Seasons greetings!


I hope you're all having a good Christmas, all is well here and I'll be back to full blogging in 2013.

Till then, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Snowy ponies


Pic by the lovely boyfriend, who's just braved a blizzard to get their feed in. 



Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A short poem for horse owners



Happy horsey by the hay,
Stands and stuffs her face all day,
When she is full she canters round,
And lames herself on frozen ground.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Floods

It's been pretty hairy in the North East for the past couple of days but thankfully things seem to be settling down today.

I hope everyone and their horses are Ok, some parts of the country have been decimated. 

I think my low point was wading through a lake to reach the field which was just that little bit higher than my wellies. 

Needless to say, as long as the horses are safe, I don't mind a soaking.




Monday, 26 November 2012

Five tips for handling Christmas as a horse owner


1. Take stock of your feed room supplies and make sure you have enough to tide you over until after the New Year. Ditto for hay/haylage and bedding. There's enough to do without worrying about when the feed shop opens again. 

2. Being a horse owner on Christmas day is one of the times when you get your reward. When you're sick of food and relatives you can sneak off to give them a cuddle and take any frustration out on the muck heap. It's also a good opportunity to divide and conquer - if gran usually gets sidelines by noisy children, wrap her up and take her with you to the yard where you can both get some peace and catch up properly.

3. Prioritise. Horses don't care if their browband is diamante, so if money's tight, the best present you can give them is to make sure they have all the essentials, food, water, a careful check over every day, shoes etc. 

4. Make hay while the sun shines. Soon you will be surrounded by people telling you they'd really like to lose weight after too much Christmas indulgence. Get ready to smile, place a pitchfork in their hands and cheerily shove them in the direction of the stables. Their weight loss is your labour gain.

5. Ask for practical gifts. There's always someone who doesn't know what to get you so perhaps you could signpost them towards certain unsexy items that make life bearable. Think waterproof trousers, decent torches and heavy duty gloves. A scented candle won't keep you warm in bleakest January.



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Ten mins of horsey magic


Saw this vid by horse trainer Emma Massingale a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to post it ever since. She is fast becoming one of my favourites and I'm hoping she'll be booked for next year's Your Horse Live. Fingers, toes and hooves crossed!

Click the link below and enjoy.

A day in the life 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Your Horse Live 2012


For me, this is the event of the year. It's an injection of inspiration and ideas just as the nights turn pitch black and you have to remember how to tack up by feel alone.


God (left) Gold medal Goddess (right)


The best bits were too many to mention. A week on and the demos that have stuck with me the most were by Richard Maxwell and Jason Webb, who both dispensed a lot of common sense that I'm now learning to use with Rodney and Cady.


Sylvia hops on Indiano to piaffe

It was so exciting to see Carl and Charlotte in the same year they won the gold - I'm so happy to say I've seen them ride in the flesh.



Jason Webb and Queen Bee get underway with some spook busting


A week later and I was in Birmingham to see the Spanish Riding School and our dressage Olympians. Lee Pearson was incredible. He said: "“We’re only here once so if there’s something you want to do, do it. Working behind a desk drove me mad. People told me I wasn’t good enough and it was like a red rag to a bull.”


As easy as One...

Two

Three


I'll be keeping his words, and the words of all my horsey heroes, in my mind for the future.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Your Horse Live 2012


Just back from a great weekend at my favourite event of the year - Your Horse Live.

I took loads of pictures and plan a big update towards the end of this week, but for now I'd just like to share something from the brilliant Carl Hester.

"It's hard if you have one horse. 

"If it goes badly it ruins your day, your week, your month...and eventually your marriage. 
"Charlotte and I are very fortunate, we ride several horses in a day.

"If it goes badly with the four-year-old then you might ride the six-year-old next and it goes better.

"If that goes badly too....well, we save Valegro and Uthopia for late morning."


Monday, 5 November 2012

Meet Rodney

New boy Rodney arrived a week ago. He's an eight-year-old chestnut Welshy who I bought from my friend.

As far as buying horses goes, it was stress free. I'd ridden him before and was made fully aware of his 'funnyisms', which are thankfully very minor.



He's settled in really well and we've already been for a few rides here and there - he is very dreamy - sweet and smart, and I have an extremely soft spot for him already.

Cady is neither sold nor forgotten, but recovering from an injury to her heel. She'll probably have a quiet winter and we'll hopefully bounce back into training in the spring.

I find myself not minding the dark nights too much this year. The frosts have been beautiful and it's not so bad if you're wrapped up warm and have a decent torch.

Next week I'll be at Your Horse Live and the week after I'll be seeing the Spanish Riding School. Both trips were planned months ago, I can't believe how quickly they've come round.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Guest Interview 'Good things can become amazing'


To keep things fresh I've decided to interview horse owners every now and again. Georgina Bird lives in Nottingham with her four horses. I've picked on her because her lovely neddies are a little bit tricky and I'm always keen to hear how people deal with their less straightforward horses - mainly so I can use their advice on Cady Monster! Anyway, here goes:

Can you tell us a little bit about your horses?

I'm extremely lucky to have four horses - we just love to collect! Neeve is a 13.1hh Connemara cross who I've had for nearly five years. 
She's always been a bit of a cow if I'm honest but she has taught me everything,as she was very naughty on both the ground and riding. I remember being at a pony club rally where I tried untacking her myself and she dragged me across a huge field in front of everyone. Sonnie is a Welsh cob cross who sadly didn't have the best start in life. Me and my mum were the first people he really trusted. Sonnie's the sort that tricks everyone by being a donkey on the ground but as soon as he feels one foot in the stirrup he acts like a 17.2hh stallion/racehorse/Grand Prix dressage horse. Sophie is the sweetest pony ever and a Connemara cross. We bought her as a four-year-old  and ever since then shes shown an endless amount of talent.She is my main competition pony who I do everything on from showjumping to dressage to eventing.She's just like Sonnie though - acts like a donkey on the flat and as soon as there's a fence up she's tanking you all over the place! Finally my big brown beast Paddy! Paddy is a 16.3 KWPN.He was a showjumper who we brought to turn into a dressage horsey, but he'd rather stand on his back legs all the time! He's definitely a horse to watch now he's found that the lorry isn't so scary. 


Georgina with Sophie and Sonnie



What's been the highlight of this year for you and them?

Like horsey people know, everything is up and down with them. Sadly its all downs for me! The only high for me this year was finally having my horses at home with our own school and stables!

Any low points or specific problems you've had to overcome? If so, how did you do it?

Oh dear, I would be here for days if I mentioned all of them! My problems have included bucking, napping, dragging, lack of trust, bolting, rearing, leaping and not wanting to load. The only answer is being patient and taking your time.

I try to ignore the bad and praise the good. A problem I constantly have is comparing myself with other riders, which means I sometimes forget how amazing and talented my horses are. 
Lately it's really been making riding less enjoyable so I have decided just to block it out and focus on every little thing they do well. Then I try to remember that good things can become amazing. 


What is your favourite part of the horsey routine? (I like checking them early in the morning before work when they're still a bit sleepy)

I enjoy waking up, looking out my window and seeing them graze in the fields or with their heads  stuck over the stable door. I also love it when they walk over to say hello or neigh at me. It really puts a smile on my face.


What piece of horse sense has stuck in your head - who said it to you or where did you read it? 

Everything Carl Hester says, he's the guy I really look up to. Richard Maxwell once told me a joke "How many show jumpers does it take to fix a light bulb? None, because they don't need one - the  light shines from their arse!" 


Monday, 15 October 2012

Early morning checks





What can we do when our horses get hurt?


What can we do when our horses are ill or injured?

Obviously the first step is to do the necessary: call the vet, clean them up, patch their wounds, bring them in for a night, whatever is needed.

Which is tricky enough. I have spent more hours hanging onto hind legs trying to disinfect wounds without getting kicked than I want to think about.

My right shoulder reminds me constantly of that horrible moment when you've got to get that dressing on while they lurch away from you, determined to get away from the stinging sensation. and why do I always forget to have a spare hair elastic to tie their tail out of the way? Cady chooses to whip me in the face with her tail whenever I'm trying to sort her out - dirty dreadlocks in your mouth makes a stinky job worse!

But worse than the logistics of treating an injured horse is the feeling you have to confront when you drive home having done all you can for that day. I would rather apply a hundred bandages than face that sinking feeling, that knot of uncertainty which includes a a raft of questions - When will they get better? Will they get better? Should I get the vet out again? What state will they be in tomorrow?

It's an exhausting state, and the only thing that satisfies those questions is time. And even when we get the answers, they're not always the ones we want.

Being a horseowner means facing uncertainty head on. So little is guaranteed and so much can go wrong. If there are riders who've never experienced this, I've never met them - most of us have experience (s) of things not working out.

So what we can do to get through the times when it all goes wrong?

1) Start at the start. Whatever practical care needs to be done, do it and do it well. That way you know you've done your best to aid a full recovery. No one wants to look back on these times and think 'if only'. Also, having a good first aid kit at the yard will help you to act faster and reduce your stress levels. Until recently I kept mine at home, until Cady came in covered in kicks and I realised my hibiscrub was a fat lot of good eight miles away.

2) Look after yourself too. When you've done all you can it's best to go home, get a bath and some food and go to sleep. I used to read pony books where the heroine would stay up all night with her wounded horse. Ok, sometimes that might be necessary, but most of the time it's just going to wear you out faster. And if your horse is sick for a long time you need to avoid burn-out. Take care of yourself when handling a sick or recovering horse too. If they're on box rest and you need to walk them out, hats and gloves are a must. Don't wait till they're rearing and boxing at your head to remember.

3) Accept the misery. When Harvey was sick and I knew he was going to be put down, I let myself feel awful. A good cry helps us come to terms with a horrible reality.

4) Distract yourself. You've done all you can and now it's just a waiting game. If your horse is ill for a long time and the stress is getting to you, go and visit your friends, go and see a film, go out in the world and remind yourself that there is life beyond the stable yard. I think this rule also applies to times when you're going through a bad schooling patch, a behavioural problem, a stroppy phase or a tough run at competitions. You might think everyone else is having a great time while you struggle on but this often isn't the case. Reconnecting with other people is the quickest way to realise this.

How do you handle your horse being ill or injured? If you'd like to share your story please get in touch alison.goulding@yahoo.com

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The month of madness


Cady rounded off her spectacular spell of misfortune on Saturday by jumping out of her field in search of friends, snapping the top wire on the fence and slicing the bulb of her heel open.

She's now living with the quiet mares and looks both knackered and relieved. 

I've patched her up wound powder, a bandage, Vetrap and masking tape and now she's wandering around with a giant alien foot. 






It's been a testing few weeks [and actually a year filled with good, bad and plain disaster] as far as the horses are concerned, so I'm ready for a bit of happy fortune.

The positive is that me and Cady are getting on well. I'm trying, once again, to rush less and be kinder and it does genuinely seem to make for a better bond.

While riding is off the menu I'm keeping myself good by catching up with horsey brilliance on the internet. This loading video by Emma Massingale is gorgeous - funny and beautiful.



And don't tell the bf but I've already started some hypothetical Christmas shopping. These winter woollies Scarves might make nice stocking fillers for someone....I can't think who?! Hint, hint...

Feel free to join me in drawing up wishlists  Houghton  Country







Thursday, 4 October 2012

Argh!!!


I literally cannot handle the drama any more - Cady is determined to turn my hair grey. 

We were absolutely knackered after work yesterday so decided to abandon riding and just walk down to check on her and give her a feed.

She was lying down fast asleep and even waggling a feed bucket at her didn't prompt much enthusiasm.

She ate her tea lying down while I joyfully assumed her new magnesium supplement must be chilling her right out.

Cady: 'Mum, I am literally, on death's door. Love me.'


Eventually we did decide to make her get up at which point we realised one of her back legs was a big fat pudding that she wouldn't put her weight on. 

"Oh right let's walk her up and get the vet," I said, while inside my thoughts were "Sh*t, Sh^t, Sh*t!!!!!!!!!"

We waited for the vet till it was pitch black and then decided we may as well wait till the morning since she had managed to eat a haynet and showed no signs of dying.

Which was a mistake because I spent the whole night thinking about burst tendons and snapped ligaments.

Turns out she has an infection, caused by her kick wounds from the last fortnight.

So for Christmas she has antibiotics. I'm hoping her gift to me will be some peace and quiet.

* From this I have learned that it is always wise to make your horse get up, even if they just look like they're having a snooze.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Ahhh! (Better than Blurgh)


Cady is mended, more or less, so tonight I'm planning a ride.

She was lovely over the weekend and enjoyed the Bugs Bunny carrots my boyf got for her, complete with green fluffy tops.

Here is a picture of her being sweet: 




Thursday, 27 September 2012

Blurgh



Woody Allen once said: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."
 
The observant among you will notice that my last blog post was optimistically named 'Goals, Goals, Goals'
 
And then all was quiet, until now, when I have finally found a minute to update the story.
 
About two days after I wrote that blog post, Cady had some great physio done by Emily Bewsey, who you may remember treated Harvey.
 
I cannot recommend her enough. Cady was an impatient stampy-footed sod all the way through but Emily was undeterred.
 
And then two days after that Cady got kicked to kingdom come all around her back legs and two chunks bitten out of her tail. Obviously there was some catastrophic fall out in the field and let's face it, we all know who will have started it.
 
She's since been in her own field for a week, wearing a very thick rug to keep the rain and wind out, while growing fluffy and feral.
 
Tonight I'm going to attempt to get her out of the field while she no doubt demonstrates the manners of a wild mustang.
 
I have visions of her landing on top of me and my legs sticking out like the Wicked Witch of the East's...

Wish me luck, ha ha ! 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Goals, goals, goals!



Do you ever get caught in this thought process as a horse owner?
 
"I'll be really happy when my horse can jump a grid well."
"I'll be really happy when we can hack out on our own."
"I'll enjoy owning this horse when he/she loads easily."
 
I do. I feel impatient when I think about where Cady is in her education. If I dwell on it long enough and hard enough I can really spoil things by thinking about where we should be and what we should be doing.
 
Impatience is good for pushing you forward, but it can also take the shine off the present day by making you feel dissatisfied.
 
I feel like we're improving,  it just doesn't seem it when I think about what my friends do with their horses. Progress doesn't seem to come quickly for us, but I wonder if everyone feels like that?
 
Rather than get het up about it I've decided to lay out some goals to work towards.





Short term:
 
1. Practice loading and travelling Cady short distances
2. Lots of cantering while out hacking (our rockiest pace)
3. Ride three times a week over the winter
 
Long term:
 
1. Go on a pleasure ride
2. Do some cross country schooling
3. Go on a riding holiday with Cady
 
AND - Most important goal of all - practice being grateful for every day I have a healthy horse I can go and spend time with.
 
Now all I have to do is get my head down and work hard, while chanting: "Rome wasn't built in a day...Rome wasn't built in a day!"
 
* I'm getting organised this year so Cady is having an MOT. On Friday Joanne Forster came to adjust her saddle and we've got some physio and massage booked in.
 
This way I still have a bit of time to re- save up some money for Christmas presents!

 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Piccies!


With the good weather lately, the horsey times have been rollin' along nicely. We've squished in some schooling, some silliness and a trip to the RSPCA show to see the rehabilitated horses show off their skills and loveliness. The piebald is called Moon and was ridden side-saddle by his owner Claire for the demo: very, very impressive.

The final pic is Cady, with a tiny adjustment thanks to Photoshop. See if you can spot what's been added to give her some extra magic.








Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A fresh start


A few weeks ago you might remember my friend Emma came over and forced me to go on a hack with her before I disappeared for good into Harvey-related gloom.

It was just the ticket and while we drank our coffee afterwards she suggested I might want to think about moving yards.

There's nothing more depressing than walking past the empty box where your horse used to live, and I felt she had a point.

Fast-forward to Sunday and me, Cady and the boyf were up at sparrow fart to take her to her new home - a lovely yard with nice hacking, facilities and where she can live out all year round.



We settled her in and I returned in the afternoon to find a happy horsey. In fact, she looked so not-mad I decided I had enough of a death wish to try and ride.
Off we went, all on our own, careering about spooking gently at gates, water troughs, twigs and other horses. It was fabulous. 

A fresh start, a clean slate, a new day: sometimes that's what we need to feel better and move on with our lives. I can't bring Harvey back but I can give Cady the best life possible.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Escaped pony...



My morning drive to work is not normally a memorable event, but today was a little different.

I was driving up the A167 towards Chester-le-Street when I saw a chestnut pony grazing at the side of the road. At first I thought he might be tethered there as there's been a lot of that around here lately, but no, he had escaped for a wander.

Since horses and rush hour traffic go together like children and chainsaws, I doubled back and went to go and find him.

By the time I'd got back down the dual carriageway he'd headed back up the country lane Thank God, so I dismantled Cady's bridle and headed after him.

He wasn't wild about being caught but we got there in the end and I walked him up towards the RSPCA animal centre at Felledge where the kindly staff took over.

The pony was about 12hh to 13hh, chestnut, unshod, with a spiky mane and a Roman-ish nose. I've referred to him as 'he' but it may have been a girly, it was all a bit of a blur.

If you think you know this pony or its owners please give the RSPCA centre at Felledge a call. The pony was in decent condition so someone must be missing him/her.

* On another note - I will be putting a spare headcollar and leadrope in my car for any future events like this! Just in case...

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

New boots, Olympic fun and groundwork...

 
I had a sad moment last week when the zip on my faithful Mountain Horse boots gave up the ghost. It's been replaced before over the past seven years but something tells me this time it's terminal.
 
They've been great boots - comfy, practical and very forgiving of the fact that I only cleaned them once a year.
But all good things must come to an end and on Friday morning I went shopping for new boots.
 
 
 
 
I had something economical in mind but all sense went out of the window when I found I could get the zip on some swanky-docious Mark Todds past my fat left calf muscle.
 
Now I am furious with myself for spending so much money on boots that are clearly going to need a lot more care than the last pair. They look they would melt with horror if I splashed them by accident.
 
They're too posh and too shiny for grubby old me and I haven't dared wear them yet. Which means trotting around the arena in my old pair with the zip gaping open. Not quite the elegant switch over I had in mind.
 
 
 
 
 
 On a slightly cheerier note - I managed to wangle a day off on Monday to watch the Olympic eventing with my pals. It was great fun and I thought our riders and their horses were fantastic.
 
 
 
 
My friend also popped down to the yard to do some groundwork with Cady, who was on top form, and then sorted out my droopy contact and wandering outside rein so I can begin to think about working in a proper outline once more. A good day's work methinks :)
 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ignorance is bliss


It's a dark and terrible moment when your realise how wonky you are on a horse.

I rode out on Cady last night, my boyf took this pic, and I suddenly saw the truth.







Look at my left shoulder! What are my hips doing? I'm like a gargoyle clinging to the side of a building.

Those weekly yoga classes appear to be a waste of time. Poor Cady, no wonder she looks like she's peering around a corner when she's standing square.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Weekend pics






Top is me and Cad schooling in the sunshine and bottom is Rodney-cam - he was kindly lent to me on Sunday morning so I could ride out with Em. It was like a Christein Pullein-Thompson novel..blue skies, sunshine and fields of gold but no complicated mystery to solve...

Monday, 23 July 2012

How the internet helps us stay horse crazy 24/7

When I was little, maybe 10 years old, and my horse fever was at an obsessive level - I discovered the best thing ever.

The yellow paper, or Ad Trader as some will know it. A newspaper of classfieds with a big Horse and Pony section.

I spent hours pouring over all the adverts for livery yards, horses and saddles and show listings, confident that one day I would find an amazing horse for sale at £11.90 (my life savings) who could live in the garden and survive on £1.20 (pocket money) worth of carrots a week.


While some little girls may have planned outfits for dolls, I was busy deciding what my horses's show name would be and our cross country colours.

It would be some years before I could afford my first horse but that the yellow paper kept me busy for hours. As did pretending the garage was a stable and chalking a feeding schedule onto the wall - cringe!





These days things are even better - thanks to the good old tinternet. There are loads of Facebook pages dedicated to horses plus you can see everyone's horsey photos and buy nice saddle covers and all that kind of bobbins.


My boyf moans about me spending too much time on Facey but it's really just a grown up substitute for Pony magazine so he should count himself lucky ;)

At the moment I'm also loving all the horsey vids on Youtube which are great when it's peeing down or you've mashed your neck, back and shoulder like I managed to do last week.

I stumbled across some great vids the other day by a horse owner under the name NSSlover. Her real name is Georgina Bird and my God she copes very well with her horses. One has the most remarkable temper tantrums and she just sits there patiently and gently guides him and until he's working beautifully.

He's gorgeous but he makes Cady look like absolute child's play and really inspires me to perservere a lot more with schooling. I would definitely say they are worth a look, as are classics like Ross and Ed, which melt my heart and make me wee with laughter in equal parts.

*I'll soon be sharing some weekend pics of me and Cady being well behaved and schooling in the sunshine and the hunky chestnut Welshy, Rodney, who I rode on Sunday morning with my friend Em. As soon as I get my computer fixed anyway!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A friend in need...


When things are a bit rubbish, you find out what a difference a really great friend can make.

My mate Emma has been keeping a close eye on me since Harvey died because she's spotted that I bluster through things smiling when inside I don't want to get out of bed. 

Probably because she's faced a lot of heartache with her animals over the years and knows too well how sad it feels when they're gone and the world just carries on anyway.




I've spent as much time with Cady as ever lately and she's been a great comfort but my enjoyment for riding had just sort of trickled away. Enter Emma, who has gently kept tapping away at me to pick up the reins again. She texted me again last week and suggested she box over with her lovely mare Tia so we could go for a hack together.

Man I just did not want to, but I reluctantly agreed. And I'm so glad I did. Emma and Tia arrived and we had a great ride. Cady was good as gold and I was really proud of her, while Tia and Emma were number 1 superstar rock steady hack leaders. 

There was all kinds going on with traffic, flappy pigeons, joggers and road signs etc but we survived totally unscathed.

The sun even came out and when we got back and the horses were seen to we had a cup of coffee and some cake.

Since then I've ridden a couple more times and enjoyed it, cleaned my tack and bought some nice fly spray that smells of eucalyptus. I feel enthusiastic again and that there are plenty of good times to come - and very lucky that I have a friend who'll go out of their way to make me feel better.

I'm a firm believer that you have to take charge of your own life but I also know that you can't always summon up the motivation to move on without a gentle shove from someone who knows you.

And I think this is especially true when it comes to the horsey life. So if you're in a rut for whatever reason I would highly recommend accepting a bit of help from your friends. It goes a long way.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Let's face it, this blog has been quite low on laughs lately. But I did find a couple of old photos today that made me smile so I thought I'd share. 


This one made me laugh because the horse looks terrified and I look like a total git.



And this one tickled me because Cady looks like she's in Alcatraz.



This one is little Cad being beautiful on Monday. We had a really nice potter around the arena apart from a brief moment when I was about to get on, took my coat off and scared her and she diddled off for a canter  and a mouthful of grass. It was quite funny really. Horses are great comedians.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Time to face forward

I put off writing yesterday's post for ages but actually it was quite cathartic and I rode Cady last night for the first time in ages.


It was a bit hairy in parts but I stuck to my new rules, pinched from Kelly Marks/Zen Habits!


1. Start very small.
2. Do only one change at a time.
3. Be present and enjoy the activity (don’t focus on results).
4. Be grateful for every step you take.


We're now working on making friends with the far side of the arena, which is flanked by waving trees and noisy birds. I'll keep you posted. 














Monday, 18 June 2012



Well. This is the post I hoped I would never write. Harvey horse has been put down.
 
His feet did not get better (there were complications with his abscesses and he began to show a pulse in all four feet so there may have been something else lurking) and he began to be aggressive with the other geldings in his field, we think possibly as some kind of defence mechanism.
 
I organised a separate field for him but he was distressed when the horses nearby weren't out and I decided that enough was enough. I never cared if I got to ride Harvey, as long as he had a happy life with his chums in the field, but this was no longer the case and I felt he had become increasingly stressed in his box and spooky to lead which he had never been before.



Beautiful Harvey horse

 
I hope at some point I'm going to feel like he had a nice time with me, albeit far too short, but at the moment it just feels like a disaster. When you love your horse it's a massive contradiction to then end their life with a phone call and my predominant feeling at the moment is sheer guilt. The saving grace is that I feel lucky to have a horse who was such a gentlemen about life, despite what he'd been through. 



I really miss him and I'm finding myself reluctant to spend time at the yard but again I hope in time this will change. Cady is a massive comfort and continues to be her lovely, cheeky self. 
I suppose if there's something to learn from this it's that we have to enjoy them while they're here (and while we are). If my writing is a bit sparse for a while then please accept my apologies.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Why do we love our horses?


I am now entering my third week of gravel foot hell.

Harvey has two abscesses, one in each foot, hovering around his coronet band and I am practically demented trying to coax them out. But stubborn they remain. As I keep reapplying poultices my mind keeps asking Why? Why am I doing this? Why do I have horses when they are so much hassle, money and pain-in-the-arse-ness?
 
And it's a good question. Why do we love horses when sometimes it's a very difficult thing to do?




 I did a quick poll of my horsey friends and here are some of the answers:
 
"I love all of it, looking after her and riding her, just going to see her grazing makes me happy and if she has a whinny for me I am over the moon."
 
"I love the adrenaline rush of getting around a cross country course and having a lovely picture to show for it.  I enjoy the glass of wine (or bottle) and chat with all my supporters at the end and the day."
 
"They're such a huge magnificent animal that can say NO at any time but instead they let us crouch over their shoulder as they gallop us into the wind."
 
"I know I've cried more tears over my horse than anything else, but all he has to do is look at me with those big brown eyes and I melt completely. 
"I know I'd remortgage the house if he needed treatment that I couldn't afford.
"Just spending time stroking him and telling him all my problems is a big stress reliever, even though he (and the others) cause me more stress than anything else!"
 
One of my favourite answers was this poem that my friend sent me. I'm sure most of you have read it but I think it sums it up very well!  
 
 
 Why do I like horses? I think I must be mad. My mother wasn’t horsey - and neither was my dad.
·         But the madness hit me early - and hit me like a curse. And I’ve never got much better. In fact, I’ve just got worse.
·         My stables are immaculate. My house is like a hovel. Last year for my birthday, I got a brand new shovel.
·         I hardly read a paper, but I know who's sold their horse.  I wouldn't watch the news, unless Mr Ed was on of course. 
·         One eye is always on the heavens but the washing waves in vain, as I rush to get the horses in - in case it's going to rain. 
·         And although they're wearing 15 rugs, the best that you can get, I bring them in to keep them dry, whilst I get soaking wet. 
·         I spent every penny I've got on horsey stuff for sure, I buy saddles, bridles and fancy rugs, and then I buy some more. 
·         I should have had a haircut, or bought that nice blue shirt.  At least it wouldn't look ripped and covered all in dirt. 
·         I can't make the books balance, so I don't even try.  But I can back up a car and trailer in the twinkling of an eye. 
·         It's jeans and joddy boots that I live in night and day, and that smell of sweaty horses doesn't wash away. 
·         Once every now and then I dress up for a ball, with make up and posh hairdo, high heels and all. 
·         I ache from long forgotten falls, my knees have got no skin.  My toes have gone a funny shape from being squashed again. 
·         But late at night, when all is still and I've gone to give them hay, I touch their velvet softness and my troubles float away. 
·         They give a gentle nicker and nuzzle through my hair, and I know where my heart is, more here than anywhere.