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Feel the fear and ride anyway – February 2019

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I can’t tell you how happy I am that days will soon be getting longer. I’m pleased to report that I haven’t yet lost my motivation or fallen out of love with winter – and I also have some exciting news! We have a new horse in our family. Pea is a 15.3hh Thoroughbred mare who loves jumping and is super-safe – when my confidence waivers with Mr Spooky Pat, she comes to the rescue by offering a safe, fun ride. I’m lucky to have been given her by a dear friend and she’ll have a home for life here. 

I had her on loan back in 2014, when my confidence was at rock bottom and she restored my faith in my riding ability. She and Pat get on so well, too, and they’re happy to be reunited.

Juggling act

Having two horses again has certainly caused my workload to grow. Pat had his month-long holiday when Pea arrived so the riding work didn’t feel too strenuous. However, the double poo-picking, double hay to buy and barrow down to the field, double shoeing and jobs such as filling the water buckets more often have left time and money in short supply. 

I chase daylight whenever I can, riding and leading on working days to get both horses exercised in one session. They live out, so having no mucking out or haynets to fill definitely helps with time-saving. I’ve taken on a few more hours at work to pay for extra things such as hiring an arena for one evening a week and I’m pleased to report that it appears to be working out – it’s possible to have two horses and not have to live off beans on toast!

A surge in self-belief

My confidence is growing with every ride. Pea makes me feel so capable, and I can relax and enjoy myself. This is also rubbing off onto my rides with Pat. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before – breaking up the everyday riding of a spooky horse with a more reliable one is making a huge difference to my confidence in the saddle and my love of riding has quickly returned. 

I’ve actually been looking forward to riding and enjoy taking them out each week even though I’m pushed for time some days. This is a huge breakthrough for me and I strongly urge anyone struggling with their nerves to try and break the habits that wear you down.

New lease of life

So, with both horses clipped and getting fitter, we’re looking forward to going out competing again soon. I might have to consider taking on an evening job before I sign both horses up to a full event season and BE memberships, though! 

I’ve heard it said before that a change is as good as a rest and I can vouch for this being true. I have a new lease of life, a new-found confidence and I’m not feeling half as worried about getting on as I did this time last year. I’d fret about Pat being fresh and sharp, or riding after he’d had a couple of days off. These thoughts don’t cross my mind now and I’m glad I kept this diary to look back on and see my progress.

Growing older gracefully

Now my worries are very different. My horses are 13 (Pat) and 14 (Pea), so I really want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to keep them healthy, happy and sound as they get older. That’s my mission this month – I’m off to look back through my old H&R magazines for care tips and joint supplement recommendations to see if there’s anything I can do to make the next 10 years the best ones ever with my horses. 

Keep warm, keep smiling and keep safe.

Love, as always.

Vic, Pat and Pea

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