Sucking eggs

As it’s (almost) the middle of winter, there’s a lot of blustering advice going around the horse community at the moment whereby some are criticising others for moaning.  I’m tempted to join in, because it is frustrating as a non-horse owner to sit and watch those who whinge about “having” to “find time” to go and “do the horse” in the dark/wet/cold/mud/before work/after the school run/prior to microwaving dinner.  I can’t promise that won’t one day be me.  And yes, it’s awful if you’re having a less than ideal time of it – your horse might have thrown a shoe and the farrier’s too busy to come straight away, meaning you can’t ride, but your horse still poos and needs his rug changing; your beloved equine might have a more serious injury, which requires walking in-hand to get some exercise or, worse, mean box rest.  You probably curse the day anyone invited you to ride as a small child, rendering you helplessly hooked on this furry drug, and leaving you in the current situation of financial ruin with an inability to feel your extremities.  But something makes you do it.

And here’s what I’ve learned: focus on the positive.  I’m not sure if this is a story which can be told, it may be something which requires living, but I’m going to try.  I’ve been through some dark times with my riding, and there may be more to come.  But even the bad times haven’t made me want to give up.  I still want nothing more than to be with a horse and, ultimately, clamber into the saddle.  I am happier around horses, whether I’m mucking out a box, attempting to get matted mud out of a mane or dragging water buckets around with wet legs (though that situation is much improved since my discovery that ski pants are the way forward).

But here’s the thing: this is your time.  It’s play, rather than work, and should be enjoyed.  We pour a phenomenal amount of money, time and effort into our horses, so it’s even more important that we enjoy them than we enjoy our work (and we know how I feel about the importance of feeling positively about our jobs, too).  But to give a pictorial (and festively-themed) representation of why we should cherish this time, I’m going to give you some examples from the past, present and future.

The ghost of ponies past
I was That girl: the one who got really excited when she spotted a horsebox on the motorway.  The child who didn’t want to do any sport other than riding.  The one who scoured TV listings and memorised event schedules in order to watch the quarterly 15 minutes of equestrianism on TV.  The girl who, when finally given the opportunity, cherished time with her loaned pony, and got to do exactly what she wanted – try a hand at showing off in the ring.  These aren’t from Burghley or Badminton or Hickstead or Olympia, like the ones from my dreams, but nobody’s taking them away from me.  My past is made of pastel ribbons, and I loved almost every minute.

rosettes-horse riding-childhood-competition-memories

The ghost of horses future
I’m not clever enough in the right way to have made this image, I saw it on Facebook a while ago, and fell in love with it.  My body has grown up, but it still has that shadow of The Dream attached.  Whatever shape yours takes – and mine has many, actually – keep it in mind with every step you take.


The ghost of horses present
This is the kind of thing which you often hear professionals say when they’re quizzed on why they do certain things that they do, but this relates beautifully to the everyman/woman too.  I’m a huge advocate of doing things for yourself, but sometimes it’s worth bearing in mind that you’re also always being watched.  Give someone something to look up to.  Show them that life is fun and worthwhile.  Be the one to demonstrate the possibilities by having them yourself (that’s a win-win).


With all of that taken on board, if you’re still struggling to find the impetus to go and pat your pony and tell him how much you love him and can’t wait to take him on the first glorious hack during Spring, take Pat Parelli’s advice: buy a motorbike.


4 thoughts on “Sucking eggs

  1. “if you’re still struggling to find the impetus to go and pat your pony and tell him how much you love him and can’t wait to take him on the first glorious hack during Spring, take Pat Parelli’s advice: buy a motorbike.” People need to remember this! Lovely post 🙂

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