What do you do if you already don’t have enough hours in the day? Oh, yes, I know – you take on a horse 😉
On Friday the 1st July, Emily’s ongoing loan of Blue kicked off, so we hot footed it down to the stables to learn the ropes on our first day. I’d been a little bit anxious/nervous beforehand as it all seemed a bit too good to be true – I was wondering whether we’d have someone standing over us all the time or telling us what to do and what not to do, but no, the staff were lovely. They’re there to answer questions or check something if we need them to, but other than that we’re just able to get on with it and do whatever we want with Blue 🙂
On Friday, Emily learnt how to “catch” Blue in the field and bring him out into the yard; then she spent an hour giving him a really thorough groom (somehow, a grooming kit popped into our hands when we were browing in a tack shop the other week….) and we learnt about where the equipment was to sweep up after us and all that sort of thing. Heidi showed Emily how to tack up properly and then took it all off again so that Emily could do it; then she rode for nearly an hour in the school before untacking again, giving Blue a quick brush off and turning him out in the field again.
As part of the loan, Emily’s entitled to join for free the group lesson every Saturday morning, but we gave that a miss this week as we went off to the Winterton show. Went specifically to see the much advertised side saddle classes…..but there turned out to be only one single woman riding side saddle, which was a bit of a let down. Ho-hum. And not many horsey stalls either…in fact, the whole thing was a bit meh and we only stayed a couple of hours.
This morning it was back down to the stables again; Emily’s lesson is on Mondays but we got there an hour early so she could catch Blue and groom him and get the hang again of tacking him up. Then she had her lesson, and afterwards we learnt how to give Blue a shower and pop suncream on his cute pink nose 😉 We now have a key to the tack room and they’re having a key to the gate cut for us, so we can go at any time day or night. The schooling arena gets really busy after four once the kids are out of school and the adult liveries get back from work, but we’re extremely fortunate in being able to go during the day when there’s hardly anyone else around except the yard owners.
Tomorrow we’ll take Blue out on a little hack and see where we can find on a wander. Emily can only go with him as far as either I can walk or Jon can cycle, but at least it’s one way of getting fit! And we can certainly manage to go out and about around the village and down through the fields towards the woods and river 🙂 We’ve also got some brilliant books with ideas on riding exercises and horsemanship techniques, and Emily’s planning to do some bareback riding, teaching him a few tricks and all kinds of things. I spoke to Blue’s owner on the phone on Friday and she seemed nice, so I’m hoping she’ll also agree to Emily’s friend going with her sometimes over the summer.
So, that’s going to be us set for the next…however long…probably right through the winter, and we’ll look at buying a horse in the New Year. It’s going to be a “challenge”, fitting in stable visits of around two hours a throw five days a week, while also looking after a demanding parrot, a demanding father in law, home educating, earning a living (mustn’t forget that bit) and sleeping, but Emily’s thrilled to bits so it’s got to be worth it. I’m pretty pleased myself – it’s so lovely being back around horses again after about 25 years away. Even though I can’t ride Blue (much too heavy for him, wail!) I’m still enjoying being involved. 🙂 🙂