Seasons Greetings

Regular readers will know that for Hal and I 2018 has been a truly horrible year. I had so many hopes and plans as we waved a fond farewell to 2017, but right from the get go it became clear that things weren’t going to go our way.

Viruses, coughing horses, lameness. Extreme wet weather, storm force wind, snow! losing Leonie, Stella, Hal’s Dad, my Mum. Nearly losing Ripley. Having a very sick Tabitha. Falling off the tandem and damaging the ligaments in my knee. Having to replace a leaking oil tank, defunct fridge, broken dishwasher. Finding out Breeze is going blind.Yes, it does seem to have been a year of lurching chaotically from one crisis to another. No wonder we both feel so wiped out!

To be fair there have been some good bits along the way. Our Niece Sarah’s wedding, veing given an award by the Riding Club. Increasing support for this Blog, support for Blind Riders UK, my business getting stronger. Having lessons on Florence. Doing more talks for Guide Dogs. Doing some PR for Retina Implant.

Personally though, New Year’s Day cannot come quick enough for me. New beginnings, A fresh start, A blank sheet. I have of course got lots of hopes and aspirations for 2019. Poor Florence isn’t going to know what hit her! Neither is Hal for that matter. In the meantime though thank you very much for supporting this blog. I hope you have an absolutely marvellous Christmas and a happy horsey New Year

Day 6 – ..And Suddenly it’s Autumn

Yesterday was gorgeous. Blue sky, gentle breeze, and really very warm. Poor Florence was already in a muck sweat tby the afternoon when we caught her and Breeze in for some TLC. . The midges were out in force and biting for all their worth..

Today, somebody somewhere has finally got the memo about it being October. The temperature has suddenly and dramatically dropped, the wind is blowing, and, oh my word, that rain is cold!

Sometimes I think that sudden changes in weather conditions like this can really upset a horse. Professionally I am a holistic complementary therapist, and I’m used to looking at a person’s wellbeing as a whole, body, mind, and spirit. It is impossible for one to be affected by something without there being a knock on affect on the other two. We call this the triad of health. To be truly well all three elements need to be in balance. Easier said than done. I try to treat my horses in the same way. I’ve noticed that, when the weather gets cooler there is a tendency for horses to become a little bit more sharp and spooky. Even my laid-back cobs can be affected by this. So maybe that’s why, when one of my neighbours started up his pressure washer this afternoon, something happened so regularly that I would’ve thought neither of the horses will take any notice now, Breeze shot off down the field like she was trying to win the Derby. Paul Florence thought the breeze was going to have a go at her, Lept into the air and shot off in the other direction. I have to admit this came as a little bit of a shock to me, I was only a couple of foot away from them at the time, albeit on the other side of the fence. Still it’s nice to know that this pair of elderly porkers have still got it in them

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.

Masterson Method

Many of you will know that, when I am not messing around with horses, I am a professional masseuse and complementary therapist. I work with humans, not horses, and am always interested to find out about therapies that I haven’t come across before. I am also fascinated by the application of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to animals, especially horses. So, , last year, when I heard that there was going to a talk on something called “Masterson Method” at the riding club AGM, my ears really pricked up. Or, once I realised it was a form of equine bodywork, they did.

Actually, when I first heard the term “Masterson Method” I assumed it was some kind of training method. , there seem to be all sorts of people putting their names to a variety of ‘new’ ways of teaching horse and/or rider these days. Not that that’s a bad thing. So when we were waiting for the AGM to begin, Hal filled the time by reading the leaflet that had been left on our seats to me, and I became more and more fascinated.
The talk was given by a lady called Nicci Loram MMCP, and was really interesting. This was around the time when we were just beginning to wonder if there might be more to Leonies issues than ignorance and being a thug. I was just beginning to toy with the idea of getting a ‘back man’ in to give her a tweak. I came home in a very thoughtful mood that night. However, once the vet suggested that Leo might have nerve and/or soft tissue damage, I thought something more gentle, and whole body, might be better. So I gave Nicci a call.
Nicci has seen Leo several times now. It’s very obvious that Leo loves it! After her first treatment Leo was briefly seen to stand square! Unheard of! Generally Leo just isn’t capable of putting a leg at each corner. Leo will now make a real effort to pick her feet up now, rather than automatically saying “No! It’s too hard!”. It’s still very hard for her, but she’s willing to give it a go. . It was Nicci who first noticed that Leo’s pelvis might not be the right shape. Something that our imstructor Melissa also pointed out a few days later.

I am so impressed by how Leonie has reacted to Masterson Method, that back in January I had Niccci out to treat all four mares. Of course, we knew how Leo was going to react, but had no idea about the others. Sapphire was the one who had the least reaction. Maybe it’s because she’s the type of pony who takes time to think about and process things. Or maybe she had no need to react. . I was most worried about how Florence would react. Flo is a sensitive lady, and there are certain places that she really doesn’t like being touched. I didn’t want Nicci being bitten, or worse, kicked. I needn’t have worried, Florence loved it! She’s been noticeably less touchy since too. . The most remarkable response however, came from Breeze. Breeze is, or rather, was, extremely hollow backed, has an extremely high head carriage, is very nervous and nappy, and always seems to be on red alert. You could clearly feel , and see, a saddle shaped imprint from wearing a saddle that wasn’t wide enough for her. Immediately after her treatment it was obvious to all that Breezd had changed shape! Her back was much less hollow, her head has lowered, and she generally has a softer and more relaxed eemeanour. These changes have lasted, and in fact, last week Amy saw her for the first time in ages, and asked if Breeze had lost weight. In fact she’s gained weight, but her posture has improved so much since her treatment that she can engage her abdominal muscles, so doesn’t look so pot bellied.

They will definitely all be seeing Nicci again. I can’t recommend Masterson Method highly enough.