It just seemed like the right time. Everything’s changing and I want to keep track of it all. I’ve owned horses for more than two decades and yet, over the last six months it seems like everything I thought I knew about keeping the beasties happy, healthy and performing well has been called into question. Not least, the wisdom of believing everything I read on a sack, tub or bottle. It started with a navicular diagnosis. But out of the roller-coaster ride that followed…the tried and failed treatments (and the scary vets bills) I’ve experienced something of an equestrian epiphany. There’s light at the end of that tunnel and I don’t think anything is going to be the same again. For a start I want to strip everything back. I need to be able to see past the massive amount of marketing £££s and effort that’s being invested and stop trying to consume my way to happy, healthy horses. You see, I remember when tack shops sold tack (some of them even made and repaired saddles) and sacks of feed and even supplements were labelled with what was in them instead of the magical transfomation they propose to effect upon my horses appearance, perfomance or personality! And I’ve dedicated hours to educating myself over the course of a lifetime’s love affair with everything equestrian. I think I memorised the Pony Club’s Manual of Horsemanship (how dated that seems now) at least a decade before the dream of owning my own horse came true. When I was at Uni I spent the holidays working (for nothing naturally) as a working pupil on the best event / hunt yards that would take me. And as a ‘grown up’, I worked evenings and weekends to progress through the BHS exams, and ever since, there’s been yet another equestrian reference book on my Christmas list. Anyway…I don’t know why I feel the need to list my horsey credentials. Maybe I’m still paranoid that I’m coming across as a herbally infused, beady-weirdy hippy (not that there’s anything wrong with hippies – I’m married to one, my huband restores VW camper vans for a living) it’s just…well that’s just not me! I’m about as traditional as they come and yet a lot of what I took as gospel is now under scrutiny. I hope writing about it will help make sense of things and who knows, there may be something here to help anyone else who feels the same.
At the point that this all starts, my much beloved ex-racehorse, one time eventer and now actively retired and born-again ‘dressage horse’ (ish) is trotting soundly for the first time in months. I think it’s this glimmer of hope that’s spurred me to write but even if it doesn’t work out, this isn’t just about Bruno. For the last two weeks he’s not been wearing any shoes but is already sound in the school and is hacking out in front boots. He’s booked in to Rockley Farm from the beginning of November (there’s a waiting list – that’s a good thing right?) but we got a head start as the shoes weren’t helping and Nic was happy for us to start the transition.
Anyway, it’s early days with ‘B’ but this blog is going to be about him and everything else that changes. We’re lucky enough to have a smallholding of our own and we’re going to be making some changes there. I also have plans for another project horse whilst B is rehabbing and I’m lucky to share my little bit of England with two good friends, Hayley and Emma and I’ll be writing about them and their horses too. All of us are unashamed rescue / rehab addicts. Hayley is ex RSPCA, Emma’s been down the ex-racehorse route before, her treasured Ellie only retiring last week so it won’t be long before she’s ready to start a new partnership. Between us I think this is going to be an interesting year. Right now, I think bare feet are going to be a big part of that but we’ll see. Right now, all I know for sure is that instead of staring down a dead-end a few months ago, I can’t wait to see what the next months or years will bring and I’m looking forward to sharing it.