Today I have had a horse for exactly two months.
Here are some things I have learnt
- My boy is the most curious horse I’ve met. This means his stable door must be shut and bolted at all times regardless of whether I am in the stable with him because otherwise he will push that door open and be off exploring the world before you know it.
- Horse owning is expensive than you expect, even when you expect lots of expense! Just bought that saddle fitted for you and the horse? Add another £75 in a few weeks. Told the teeth were done recently? Add another £30 because the vet was mistaken. Bought the pricy bit? Add another £11 for a cheaper one he likes more. Got enough rugs for everyday? Go and buy some more for when the one you need is in the wash, add £30-70.
- I’m usually right about whether a rug/saddle fits or whatever horse questions I feel I need a second opinion on. But I’ll still grab someone for a second opinion.
- Having to ride every day (when he wasn’t getting any turn out) was a shock to my body which wasn’t yet used to riding 3 or 4 times a week.
- I’ve put on a lot of muscle on my upper back/shoulders, toned those bingo wings and tightened my core muscles. Slowing down that speedy trot would be the main reason for this.
- I’m getting more practiced at the pre- and post-ride faffing but it’ll take a few more months before I can do it without either thinking or forgetting things.
- Owning a horse has taken me out of my comfort zone regularly in terms of admin. I hate making phone calls, arranging appointments, having professionals come out to see me and paying bills over the phone, but I’ve been forced to do these things. Often. When I had a sudden puncture on my car the other morning and had to call the AA out and deal with the admin of that, it was so much easier than it would have been for me pre-horse owning and highlighted how much I’ve improved at dealing with things like this.
- I thought more practice would really improve my riding. Perhaps it has, but it’s still really hard and I’m still not very good at it!
- Horse owners are obsessed with the weather in order to chose the right rug for the conditions as well as to consider the effect on riding conditions.
- It’s exhausting, even with a horse on full livery. I wouldn’t have coped with a full-time job and full-time horse-care.
- Treat-time is sometimes the best part of the day.
- I bought the best charactered first horse in the world. I got so lucky. Yes I had help, but even so, he’s amazing. Perhaps I could have found one that I would find easier to ride, but I couldn’t have hoped for a better tempered companion to help me through the first phase of horse-owning.
I don’t usually care if he or I look well turned out as long as we’re clean-ish and comfortable… Last night we shared a school with a high level dressage horse and rider (I don’t know who they were, but I think they were doing 2-time flying changes at one point) who were warming up to do a demo in the indoor school and were all prettied up in their show clothes, etc. That made us feel very grubby and lowly. I tried to go the small school and leave her in peace, but she called out for us to share the big school with her because the lighting is better (true but it doesn’t usually stop us using the small school). My hairy cob-boy and I walked and trotted some egg-shaped “20 meter circles” while Ms Top-hat and her giant ginger dancing partner cantered tiny shiny circles with exact precision. Perhaps we could pay more attention to our appearance and then we could magically do stuff like that? That must be how it works, right?