After a lot of internal, and some not so internal, debate, the horses are finally out overnight . Over the last few years we’ve got them out in mid March, just before my birthday. This year though, even a month later, it wasn’t a straightforward decision to leave them out overnight . The torrential rain and howling winds have been relentless, and winter has seemed endless. Our top field, which is split into 2 paddocks, (we call them Annabelle’s and Carole’s, after the people who’s gardens back onto the top corners of each), has been totally trashed. I despair of any grass ever growing on it again. On Monday the girls went into our smaller, bottom field for the first time this year. Nobody’s been on it since the beginning of November. Even so, it’s hardly what you’d call verdant down there.
So now there out, I have a different set of challenges to find solutions to. The first being, how to find my way to the bottom field by myself. Say hello to the blind horse owner’s best friend – electric fencing. The flexibility of easily manoeuvred plastic posts and ribbon like tape, which can be put almost anywhere, makes the best guide rails ever – so long as nobody connects it to a power source.
My relationship with Florence is really beginning to blossom! She really is a lovely horse. . I love the way she talks to me. I get called to in the morning when I first step out of the back door, and she wickers away to me while I’m doing stuff. The noises she makes when there’s food on the go are amazing.. She’s no push over though. Leave her an inch and she’s not above walking back out of her stable, or out of the paddock in search of greener grass. She always does it with a smile and a wink though.
It’s riding her though that’s really got me going. . She exudes confidence , and I’m finding it infectious ! My imagination has gone into overdrive , and I’m beginning to wonder just what we might be able to achieve together .
I haven’t had a riding lesson for at least 5 years. Well not since I bought Magnum to be honest. However, I’m so inspired by Florence, that today that came to an end. Oh my word have I got some bad habits !
I didn’t disgrace myself, but there’s ample room for improvement.
My lesson wasn’t on Florence,but on one of horses at Kingsland Stables, where Hal has lessons. Having a lesson on a strange horse , in a school I’ve never ridden in before, is a little nerve wracking . Spare a thought for Melissa though. I’ve ridden a horse before, she’s never taught someone who is blind before.
I intend to progress onto having lesson Florence. Some things need to beput in place first. We’ve started by taping a 20 X 40 patch of field to use as a school. At the moment there are a lot of brambles at the C end, and last years muck heap between K and E, but it’s a start. I also need to find, or create some system of audible dressage Marcers. Having absolutely no useful vision any more means that I could get lost in a Square cardboard box, so orienting myself around a Minaj is proving quite difficult. Also, without having anything to aim at, riding a straight line just is not going to happen. If I can get these things sorted out though, and my relationship with Florence continues to develop as it is at the moment, Who knows what we might be able to achieve? It might be blue sky thinking, or just pie in the sky, but perhaps we may be able to do some very low level on affiliated dressage in the future.
Feeling invigorated and enthused. My inspiration and motivation? My horse.
So there we were, Hal working on the trench for the water and electricity for the stables, me filling hay nets. The mares turned out , in a boggy travesty of a paddock, routing around for any scraps of grass they could glean. When I realised that the background noise that my subconscious was filtering out wasn’t actually one of the neighbours mowing their lawn.
Earlier in the day, Hal and I ventured down to the bottom field, hoping we could turn the girls out down there. Frustratingly we foun it totally waterlogged. Our top field , which is split into two paddocks, is such a boggy mess that a couple of recent visitors to the house have ask in puzzlement why we’ve ploughed it! I despair of any grass ever growing on it again. This time last year, Magnum and Sapphire had already been turned out 24 seven for nearly a month. This year the girls are still coming in at night.
So imagine the grass green eyed monster that awoke in my soul when I realised that it was our new next field neighbours I could hear mowing their field. They don’t actually live next door house to us, but they have just bought a bungalow a little further down towards the village. Like us, their bungalow comes with land. Nothing has lived in their field for as long as we have lived in our place. So it’s extremely lush and green. Not ideal for that gorgeous little Shetland Ponies. Extremely galling to listen to though, for somebody who despairs of ever being able to turn their horses out full time ever again.
This was brought home to me again earlier today. Face Book did one of those memory things on my timeline. When I asked Hal what the photo was, it turned out to beSapphire grazing on the back lawn. Apparently it was a year ago thatMagnum had Cellulitis , and had to be on box rest. Because Sapphire wouldn’t be turned out on her own, we kept her in with him. However she soon became bored, so I turned her out on the back lawn for a couple of hours each day. This is when the stables were in the garage, so they could still see each other when she was on the lawn. If I put her on the lawn today she would probably drown.