You know those girls that say ‘Oooh I love Winter it’s my favourite season!’ well I am NOT one of those girls.
I imagine those girls must be capable of matching their bra and pants 6 out of 7 days a week, have hair which is always ‘on fleek’ and sport immaculate intricately painted nails (nice indoors-y hobbies and pursuits) because one thing’s for sure they do not own a horse!
This time of year is a series of early dark mornings, regular rain drenching, daily equine dung disposal, heavy lifting, hosing, hay net haulage, mud fighting, money draining of vampiric proportions and energy sapping chores. At the end of all that (smelling of horse wee and looking like a bedraggled rat) I might have a window in the weather and enough energy left to clamber aboard my fire breathing under-worked and over-excited beast and cling to the saddle like a limpet before either…
a) slithering off home for a bath and bed, or
b) getting jettisoned through the air and into the arena surface arse first because a leaf in a forest 50 miles away fell off a tree.
It’s a bleak picture isn’t it? Sounds pretty bad? Why does she do it?
I frequently ask myself the same question….sometimes after the 2nd (or possibly 3rd) change of waterproofs that day and delirious from too much time spent with my head in the hay steamer………… I absent mindedly think to myself….
‘I wonder if I could simply release Dustry onto Salisbury Plain and just go looking for him again in the spring’……
‘I wonder if there’s a company out there that build indoor arenas for £7.03’ (the balance of my savings account)……
‘I wonder if I can get lottery funding to take Dustry to the Bahamas for a
beach holiday training bootcamp’……
‘I wonder if you can teach a horse to hibernate, so I can pack him away in a little cardboard box and pop him in the airing cupboard until March’….and then BOOM I walk knee cap first into the metal handle of a wheelbarrow and it’s back to reality with a bump!
No such luck I’m afraid you just have to grin and bear it and eagerly tick off the days until the clocks change again and the weather improves, but that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it.
Equestrianism is like many hobbies, some aspects of it are undesirable.
I say I like to run, and I do….but that first step, that first mile, that first hill isn’t all that enjoyable in the moment. There are many moments during a run when I enjoy myself and always on completion of a route, but it’s not all giggling, bouncing pony tails and high fives as many fitness brand adverts would have you believe. #hobbyshaming (as I’m calling it) occurs everywhere now it seems. If you’re not ‘giving 110%’ or ‘loving life’ whilst pursuing your chosen hobby then what are you doing wrong?…..answer? absolutely nothing.
You don’t have to relish the idea of a 3am alarm to muck out 25 boxes, before a 59 mile drive and a 6 minute dressage test (in the rain) in order to place……last. YOU DON’T. If you do, then that’s great but this idea that permeates equestrianism and other hobbies that because it’s your chosen leisure pursuit you should always be beaming from ear to ear (even when doing the most undesirable activities) is simply unrealistic.
Taking the good with the bad is all part of the process. If at times you feel a bit ‘meh’ about your riding ambitions, or you just can’t find your mojo to spend an entire weekend creating a colour coded excel spreadsheet of your 2016 competition plans, don’t worry! You’ve probably got a case of the ‘mid-winter blues’, give yourself a break (possibly even a kitkat) and relax.
It happens to the best of us, and I don’t blame you if you’re not ‘feeling the winter’. I’m not either! I’d much rather be somewhere else right now….somewhere like….AUGUST.
P.S. Thoughts and opinions expressed were correct at time of publishing but are likely to vary wildly in relation to gin, chocolate and hormones – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.