After reading Abi Butcher’s article Don’t Call Me Horsey (dated 1st April), I felt compelled to write. Reluctantly, I do agree with many of her points about “horsey” people. The difference is, however, that where she sees being called ‘horsey’ as an insult, I am proud!
I have two horses, two sons (7 and 8), two dogs and a job! I have to balance my life carefully, fitting in precious time as a family, competing, and keeping myself, house, car – and yes, Abi, my butt – looking presentable for society.
I have learnt to prioritise and just let some stuff go. Looking glam when buying emergency roast dinner food from Tesco Express on a Sunday after my event, just isn’t going to happen. It’s more cream breeches covered in green slime and extreme hat hair.
However this is nothing that (after putting the roast on and saying hi to the husband and kids) a quick shower can’t fix I no longer worry about the odd jibe or disapproving look from family and friends or the slightly screwed up nose on the school run. I focus on celebrating the fact that I, like most ‘horsey’ people I know, have a passion in life and am happy.
Many people are not as lucky to find such a fulfilling interest. I had a similar experience when I was a young mum of two small children. I did not own any horses at the time but my young, single (so called) friends without children would vent the exact same sentiments outlined in Abi’s article. Swap the odd strand of straw for baby sick and sticky sweets and toys in my car or talking about my newborn etc… It’s pretty much spot on.
Yes I might be spreading myself a bit thin these days to fit in family life and the horses but I love every minute at the yard and find everything about owning horses rewarding and fulfilling, all be it seriously hard work. I wouldn’t have it any other way and cannot imagine life differently.
I had a break from horses while I had my children; it wasn’t until watching the 2012 Olympic Games, particularly Zara Phillips, that I realised how much I missed being around them. Before my husband really had a chance to protest, I had bought a horse, Mr Desmond (he came with the name), a 16’3 Bay over from Ireland.
With help and support from family we went eventing at low level and by the end of our first season we had achieved a placing at BE100. He has taught me so much and as my first horse will always have a special place in my heart. However as I have quickly realised, horses come with some amazing highs and devastating lows and mid season 2014 Desmond was diagnosed with Navicular and had to have time off. He is only just coming back into proper work now and I take each day as it comes, with no pressure.
During his time off, I somehow managed to convince my husband that I could fit in (and afford) having another horse, so we bought Toddy (High Falutin), a dark bay homebred, from my aunt, as a bit of a schoolmaster to carry on my eventing dream. We competed a little last year and have spent the winter getting to know each other and building up a partnership. I am now out at BE Novice level with him and have just been placed 4th at South of England.
My nails may never be the same again, but I’m totally okay with that! Having said this, despite what some may think, I do like to scrub up well and am still a girl at heart. I love any tips for injecting back a bit of glamour back into my life.
I live in skinny jeans or jean style breeches, or any items of clothing that can serve a dual purpose for the cheeky hack before or after work. In my car I always keep a spare pair of ‘clean’ boots, sunglasses and a coat for special occasions.
The only trouble is finding them under all my horsey junk 😉