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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.