Thursday, 21 February 2008

Horse/Life Balance

I have now moved Echo back to the yard she was at before and am so relieved. I just couldn't get my head around sorting the mess out in my life, as well as having her on DIY livery. The last few weeks have been very tough emotionally, but I am feeling much more philosophical about things now. I am still hurting a lot and I don't think that will go away for a long time, but I am able at least to think straight now, and I realised that the yard she is at now is where she should be. I liked the DIY place, but I just didn't have the emotional energy to devote to her there, and I realised very quickly that I definitely do not want Echo to rule my life.

I met several people at the yard who are all lovely and admirable, but their lives revolve entirely around their horses. They can't go on holiday, they can't go out for a whole day, they can't have a normal job, all because they have to be there at certain times of day to deal with their horse. If this is what makes them happy, then I admire them whole-heartedly for being able to do it. However, all of this has made me realise that I want Echo to be a part of my life, not the centre of it. She is my horse, who I love and enjoy riding and caring for, but I have a life away from her too. Having her on DIY livery was going to distort that unrecognisably.

I am delighted to report that I am now riding her again. While she was at the DIY yard I only rode her twice, as I didn't have the energy to do it. She was never very settled there, and the thought of her being on edge and shying constantly and it all being a battle was just too much to face. Back where we are now, I lunged her on Sunday, then rode her Tuesday and yesterday, and she was brilliant. She is a little rusty (as am I!) but we have not lost anything due to the time off, and this has been a huge relief.

I am being much stricter with myself now. On evenings when I don't plan to ride, I am not going to go down to the yard. I was going every evening before, which was unnecessary. I pay livery so that I don't have to do that. I am also making sure that I don't spend ridiculous amounts of time at the stables - I love being with Echo, but it is also important that I get my work done and that I have a social life too, so I am limiting myself time-wise as much as possible.

I'm going hacking this weekend, which I'm really looking forward to - I have missed it so much! She has lost a fair amount of strength and fitness, so it will only be short, but I so appreciate the facilities that I have now. I (almost) vow to never whinge about anything ever again.


Rachel said...

thinking of you sweetie. xx

dressagemom said...

Glad to hear things are getting better for you and that you can enjoy your horse and not stress over her. Keep your chin up!

Wiola said...

Although horses are very much a centre of my life I absolutely agree with some of your points. My partner is non-horsey and he doesn't really enjoy going down to various yards with me so I have to plan things in a way that I am not with horses 24/7.
I am really happy to hear you are back at the yard where you can enjoy Echo to the full - I really don't know how people do the DYI and still have the energy to ride :-0

The only thing I would say is that I think it's nice to go to the yard sometimes even when you are not riding so your horse doesn't only see you as her rider but a companion too.
All in all, that little time at the other livery may turn out good for her and her education :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Happy to hear you are doing better and Echo is happy back at the old familiar yard.

emma said...

Hi I am new to your blog. It is so hard to balance life with horses. It can so often take over every aspect of our lives. It is hard to remember that other people and things matter.

The new barn I am riding at is quite a ways away and I have had to cut down driving there at night after work which was becoming dangerous in the winter. It was hard at first because I felt guilty that I was not riding enough - but it was the sane choice. :)

equineimage said...

Horses time & partners ?

I couldn't understand why my partner would take 4-5 hours to do a 1hr hack, this went on for 2 years.
I would be slightly (angry !) with the time she'd spent with her horse, until she moved into a new yard & needed some help
moving all the equipment saddles & rugs etc, so many rugs for one horse ?
Another year went by & I'd given up playing paintball because I'd started helping mucking out & being around
the people plus getting more & more into the whole horse thing, finally started looking for a horse
And found one. Called 'Archie' 18 hand Cleveland Bay. now he's the love of my life!
Now i take 7-8 hrs for a one hr hack ? its not the riding its the talking & being around likeminded people.
Horses are now in my blood & in front of my camera.
I've never looked back, we both have a full time jobs, i'm now at the stable more than my partner.

We have people at the yard who pop in once a day to see their horse or not ?
And go on & on about not having time to do this, sorry to say makes my blood boil!
Yes you need a life, well so do they you choose to buy the horse they need you not just
for the riding but someone to look after them.
Horses need to the one on one (love), not just anyone to chuck food at them.

I'm not having a pop at anyone (please believe me) but perhaps think about sharing your horse with others
some people would love the chance to ride but can't afford the costs.

Wayne :0)

Echo said...

Thank you for your comment - that's really interesting.It's wonderful that you chose to share your partner's hobby rather than just get angry at her for wasting time and money on her horse.

My horse means the world to me and I love her very much, but I had to get things in perspective. I also have a job, a dog and friends to see, which all make demands on my time. I am also a cellist and enjoy running, so I have to make time for these things too.

When the right man comes along, horsey or not, I would also like to think that I could throw myself into a relationship with him and build a life and a family, so therefore, my horse is not the centre of my world.

I agree that a horse needs love and affection, not just someone to throw food at her. However, I don't turn up, tack her up, ride and then leave again. When I go down to the yard, I spend time grooming her, before and after I ride. I then, depending on the weather, will hand-graze her for a bit or turn her out. She also really enjoys being ridden. She was bored out of her mind when I didn't ride her for a few weeks.

I am a perfectionist and I would love to do everything myself, but if I want to have a life away from horses, it just isn't realistic for me. I would p[ossibly consider a sharer later on, but she has only been broken in for 6 months, so I think this would be unfair on her. If someone wanted to share her just to groom her and give her love and attention - I'd be more than happy to oblige! As it is, she is kept at a big riding school, where all the children love her and stop and talk to her over her stable door. When I lead her past the kids she will invariably stop, while she is patted by her adoring fans.

She is happy and healthy, so I don't feel that I am doing her a dis-service. I know you weren't having a go at my choice, but I know that my take on all of this will be slightly controversial amongst the horsey blogging community. I felt I needed to justify my views...

equineimage said...

Hi there,
Next time i comment on a blog perhaps i will read the blog page first, i'm working on the new 'James Bond Film' & reading comments on horsey blogs, we all know men can't multitask ! I didn't realize your only had a baby horse, bless.

And thanks for not taking my comments the wrong way.

Having been around horses & my own,now i kinda think the way i look after mine.
My horse & i didn't know each other when we meet of course, i couldn't ride & didn't have a saddle for 8 weeks so rode bareback.

Its only when you have your own you start to unwrap what humans have done to the horse before you.

Which is probably why i'm so passionate about horses.

My horse had been how should i put it, well it took one year before i could use the water hose near him & a YARD brush
well that was a no go area, that took so long before he'd let me near him with yard broom?
So from this you can see because of his size he was man handled, I'm still the only person who can hose
him down so much so i can put the hose in his mouth. He just looks deep into my eyes.

Never again will anyone touch my horse without a mint or horse treat!

I can only think humans had been abusive to him as he's a big horse. i needed only talk to him no pushing or hitting just voice.
Working on the ground is soooooooooo important not just jumping on and riding.
0n the ground teaching each other respecting their space & yours will pay off in the end.
He would do anything for me now, as i would do for him.

Now i have to start on my partner, not sure that's gonna work, i understand horses i think but women ???
We have 20 women at the stables & i love every minute !

Oh i have to go, i will drop in again soon

Kind Regards

Wx :0)

Daily adventures while training my young horse.