Bareback in the Rain

Never underestimate the therapeutic power of going for a hack. Even if it is raining. We all know that being around horses is good for the soul, but how many of us allow ourselves to just be in the moment with our horses purely as a self care strategy? No training or improving you or your horse, no schooling, no competition or sales preparation,and with it being about you, not the horse? Even I find this difficult to achieve, and I am neither a professional nor a serious competitor.

In my work as a Masseuse and Holistic Complementary Therapist I spend a lot of time advising clients on self care and stress busting. Truth be told though, I am useless when it comes to taking my own advice. This has to change!

As we travelled home from Mum’s funeral on Tuesday I gave myself a bit of a talking to. Whilst there is no way I am going to stop caring about and looking after others, i have to take caring for, and looking after myself much more seriously. It’s like they tell you in the safety talk when you fly, when the worst happens, you have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else with theirs.

My new self care strategy began on Wednesday morning. Our friend Claire came over to ride Breeze. Neither of us can remember when Claire last rode, but it’s been awhile. No, taking this into consideration, and bearing in mind that Breeze can be a tricky little madam when she puts her mind to it, I was more than a little taken aback when Claire said to me that, as she had put a lot of weight on since the last time she Rode Breeze, she was going to ride bareback to lighten the load . . What could possibly go wrong? As I pictured Breeze, riderless, and with Rein trailing, legging it back home, while Flo and I scraped Claire’s broken body off the road, I did manage not to squeal “Are you mad!?”, and instead asked “Are you sure?”. Ordinarily, Claire’s impending doom, together with the fact it was a bit drizzly, my knee and hip were hurting, and I was tired and heartsick from the previous day, would have made me say “maybe we should give it a miss”. However, Claire said she could always hop off if Breeze was a pain, the drizzle was forecast to stop, and Florence’s back is my happy place, so off we went.

I’m so glad we did. Yes, maybe I should have worn a coat! The rain got much heavier, and I was wet through by the time we got back. Breeze was a bit argumentative at first, but she soon settled down. Amazingly

, Claire stayed on Breeze the whole way round! She didn’t even look like slipping or losing her balance once, not even whilst riding down the steep Hill back into the village, or when Breeze saw a Pixie in the hedge and jumped out of her skin. I’m full of awe and admiration of Claire’s stickability and relaxed attitude . I need to be more like that. Of course, Florence was her usual unflappable self, intuitively tunes in to my mood and need for steadiness.

I came back in a much better place than I went out. Horses are amazing healers.

Good and Bad

It’s been a reasonably settled and peaceful few weeks where the horses are concerned. . Being able to have lessons, at home, on Florence, has been an absolute joy. Both Hal and I have been having lessons on Flo, unfortunately the truth has to be faced that, well she’s an absolute dream to handle on the ground, Breeze, bless her, is no novice riders school mistress. . Florence on the other hand, seems to be able to read her rider, and modify herself and her behaviour according to what she thinks they are capable of dealing with at that time. It really is uncanny. A Brilliant example of this was a couple of weeks ago when my dad visited. Dad is 87, and for a man of his age is in remarkably good physical condition. He used to ride, although he didn’t actually start until he was 58, but because he has been caring for my mum for a very long time he hasn’t actually sat on a horse for about 10 years. When I offered in the chance to get up on Florence he jumped at it. He really enjoyed himself, but in true Dad style got a little bit carried away and tried to get Florence to trot. Florence wasn’t having any of it. Hal told me that Florence his whole demeanour said, “Well, I could trot, but you aren’t actually balanced, and there’s no way I’m having you falling off me”.

In my last lesson I actually achieved one of my goals for this year. Drum roll please…

I cantered Florence!

Yes I know, I am perfectly capable of cantering, and cantered lots of horses on plenty of occasions in the past. Also I understand that you may think that having had Florence for approaching three years, I should really have done this before now. However, for a variety of complex reasons I haven’t done it, and to be honest with you it was turning into the one of those big mind monsters.

Not anymore! It did take me most of my lesson to achieve it, and I did very nearly fall off in the attempt, but I did it! Not only did those few short strides slay the mind monster, but they have given me something else to work on. It’s onwards and upwards from here.

Sadly however, away from horses, 2018 continues to be chock-full of bad news and problems. Last week we were celebrating our beautiful niece Sarah, Who is Hannah’s sister, and her lovely chap Scott’s wedding. A truly joyful occasion. Then on Monday my mum died. My mum has been extremely ill for a very long time, and it may sound extremely hard, but I find it extremely difficult to mourn her passing. She had both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, so the woman that I knew as my mum had not been there for very many years. However it’s extremely difficult for my dad, Who, until we got her into a home earlier this year, had been hurt sole carer through all of this terrible diseases ramifications.

I just wonder what else this absolute pig of a year is going to throw our way.

Tidy Tack Room, Tidy Mind? #HorseBloggers#ShowUsYourTack

Anybody who knows me will tell you that I am pathologically incapable of being tidy. A place for everything, well yes, this I can do, but, everything in it’s place – yeh right! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not intentional. I am always impressed, and to be honest, reassured, by a tidy, well organised house, office, yard, tack room, etc. I just can’t do it myself . I’d like to, I just don’t have that kind of mind.. the problem is that, whilst I fully intend to, for example, take the empty joint Aid pot up to the house to be recycled, or slip the dressage test sheet back into the folder, something always distracts me before I do, the item I am supposed to be dealing with will be put to one side, my intention being to come back later and finish the job – but then…

Hang on a minute! I hear you all shout. Aren’t all blind people inherentally tidy and well organised? Don’t all blind people have a built in ability to remember where everything is with millimetre precision? Erm, no actually. I wish we did, after all, I’ve blogged before about the amount of time I’ve wasted over the years frantically searching for stuff that’s directly under my nose. . Sadly though, it’s just a myth born of over sentimental fictional representation of blindness. Yes, there are indeed some blind folk out there who are obsessively tidy and well organised, and genuinely know exactly where everything is, but this is due to their personality, not their blindness, and I am definitely not one of them.

There are two areas of my life where, despite appearances, I really do make a supreme effort to try to be tidy and organised. My work, and my yard. I am highly conscious that, , in both these environments, my disorganised muddle could potentially impact on the wellbeing of others. Not only that, vut,i worry about being judged as incapable or incompetent.. just as I want my clients to feel that they are in a safe pair of hands, so I want any professionals who visit the yard to feel that my horses are. Oh my word it’s a struggle though! Where work is concerned, the focus of my attempts to be tidy is my stock cupboard. When it comes to the horses, it’s the Tack Room.

Ah,my tack room, so much more than a place to store saddles and bridles. . It is the hub of the yard, a place to make plans, a place to dream about the future and recount adventures from the past. The Tack Room provides a haven from the extremes of the Devon weather, and a space to drink tea and chew the fat. Many a tear has been shed there , and many a joke shared and prank pulled. Oh yeh, I also keep all manner of tack , rugs, and equipment in there, as well as using it as my feed room.

from brand new additions like Florence’s Gallop Equestrian ride on fly rug and Ellico memory foam girth, both of which I love, and will be making it to the Poo Picking Recommends page, to old favourites such as the wooden storage box that was made by my Dad’s colleague Bill vack in 1988 that actually used to stand in Oliver Twist’s stable because there was no storage on the yard. , it’s all there.

The only problem with my Tack Room is that, because it is actually a wooden stable, it gets damp, so I don’t always keep the saddles and bridles in there all the time. Most of the time they live in the house. Effectively I have two Tack Rooms! Our Utility Room douvles up as an auxiliary Tack Room. There are saddle racks and bridle hooks, and two enormous shelves, built by Hal, which hold all my spare rugs.it’s where I clean my tack, and it’s where it lives in damp weather. The trouble is that this means having to carry the saddles between house and yard, something that I find challenging to say the least.

. I haven’t actually dropped a saddle yet, but I dread doing so. I often wonder if getting some kind of tack trolly would. Something I could push, or even better, pull along , that I could sit the saddles on would make life easier for me and the saddles alike.

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In the meantime though I need to clean my tack. Now, where did I put the…?

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Making Changes

The more observant among you might have noticed that Poo Picking in the Dark has changed. We used to be a WordPress hosted blog. Now we are a Website. We are still hosted by WordPress, who I find extremely easy to use and very accessible, but we are our own little entity. This will hopefully make us more visible, and help spread the message that vlindness and equestrianism are not mutually exclusive. .

Since Starting Poo Picking I have always automatically shared my blog posts to my personal Twitter and Face Book Accounts . However, at the beginning of August Face Book no longer allow third party content to be shared directly to personal Newsfeeds. So now Poo Picking in the Dark has it’s own Fave Book page. This means that I can still automatically share blog posts with Face Book. It also means I can share other snippets of relevant, interesting or amusing horsey/blindy news.

Now we are a Website we can have other content as well as blog posts. So I can add pages on different topics. The first of these is the Poo Picking Recommends page, #PooPickingRecommends, where I give the details of services and goods and organisations that I really rate.

Another change is that I have added Hal as an admin for the website and the Facebook page. This means that not only can he correct my typing and spelling errors, but he can also add more visual content, such as photographs and videos, which are inaccessible to myself. Hopefully this will make the blog and website more interesting for other people..

So watch this space, feel free to spread the word, comment and interact with any posts

, and share away.