The rollercoaster of life has been travelling faster than the speed of sound these past few weeks, hence the lengthy gap since my last blog. Lambing is now in full swing on the estate. This is the first time in the 10 years I’ve known my husband that he’s not been directly hands on with lambing and by this I mean, this is the first year we haven’t had orphan lambs needing round the clock care in the kitchen. He is however over seeing the lambing of the three main farms on the estate, along with their staff and some 3000 breeding ewes and so whilst my kitchen is not currently a creche, its no less stressful! His insane dedication and vision for the estate was recognised in print this week, with a six page spread in the Fieldsports magazine, a very proud wife moment seeing the work he is doing being championed by such an iconic magazine.
April 1st marked a momentous day, after 6 very long months of frustration and living in a temporary house, work has finally begun renovating our long term home. It was a day I had almost given up on and so it was definitely one worth celebrating! Fingers crossed things will move fairly quickly now, as once the house is complete work can begin on the yard and arena there too.
Last Friday was spent in hospital with Angus whose had a cough which has got progressively worse for a little while, but through Thursday night and Friday got totally out of control, with him coughing without fail, every 10 seconds for about 48 hours, struggling to catch his breath in between. It was an exhausting and scary situation and I’m really glad to say after some steroids he is back to his feral self.
Tuesday 26th March was another milestone day with Dominica turning officially 5! We celebrated the day hiring the local arena for a schooling session and doing our very first entry!!!!!! There is an unaffiliated show at the venue I have been going to for our lessons, on April 20th and fingers crossed we will be there. As its her first show and I’m not really sure how she will react, it seems a sensible choice for it to be at a venue we are both familiar with and I’ve also requested with the organiser that I may be first to go. Being first hopefully will mean that when we arrive and are in the warm up etc, it will still be relatively quiet for her and so will be more like our lesson outings and there will be slightly less distraction than later on in the day. I am literally bursting with excitement!!! Only 18 days to go!!!
With all that’s been going on and after the hospital stay with Angus, last Saturday was in reality a really low point for me. I’ve had a pretty rough last few years and as I’ve mentioned before, the loss of my amazing mum has instilled in me, how lucky I am to be alive and healthy and so I do always try to see the best in every situation, even if it’s not clear. On Saturday however I did struggle. I’m sure it was mainly a result of sleep depravation, I’ve had more than a few 3am finishes at work, followed by 6am starts to get the horses turned out and mucked out before Angus needs to go to nursery. On top of that the stress of Angus being unwell and what felt like a massive bad parent bashing from the medical professionals that dealt with him, Saturday morning brought around a scraping the barrel low. I need to work to help pay for the horses and that is just a fact of life. It’s a case of work, or give up, which is not an option. But it is an almighty juggling act and last weekend I did feel like I was failing at being a good mother, wife and a bit lost with my riding after almost a month since our last lesson.
At just the right moment, a figure of authority in my life called me and told me I was doing fine and to stop getting my pants in such a wad over Dominica and in particular her canter. In short, feeling sorry for myself was smacked down and I had a drink from a can of harden up and got it together. We discussed the importance of not stifling Dominica’s natural flare and expression in order to try and make things more organised at this stage. If I take away the natural, powerful, forward thinking now, there will be nothing left to collect when I need it in the future. Wise words of wisdom, from a wise woman and ones which where totally taken on board. As the weather was fabulous last week, the ground has really started to dry up and so on Saturday I took Dominica for an adventure hack and proper xc canter around the farm. She might be bred for dressage, but she gallops like some of the world class eventers I’ve had the pleasure of riding. It was exactly what we both needed, she had a really good rodeo and was absolutely buzzing afterwards. It was brilliant for her to be back in a wide open space, thinking and travelling more forward than would ever be possible in a dressage arena and most importantly it reminded us both that all of this is actually about us having fun.
I have decided to build this work into her weekly programme, it will help her both mentally and physically and so when the weather permits we will be breaking the sound barrier more often! I’ve taken forward this philosophy into her work in the school also, trying to help her be more orangised by continually pushing forward rather than trying to contain her. Like good xc riding, its one of those things that doesn’t sound like the right thing to do, until you actually do it and you realise riding and thinking continually forward, makes everything feel effortlessly easy. Embracing her big flamboyant step and giving her the confidence to keep pushing forward has made a huge difference to the way she feels and the improvement is immense.
Pretty much the whole of April seems to be a school holiday for Mowgli……it’s day two and I’m just about hanging in there! Trying to find an opportune moment in each day when my husband can watch him, so I am able to ride has me a bit on edge until It’s achieved. I basically prowl the estate like a coiled spring, in full riding get up, waiting to spot my husband stationary and then I transfer the wild child into his pickup. I’ve not yet managed it today and Angus is currently proudly trying to show me his bum as i’m writing this……
We have a lesson booked this coming Thursday and I’m really looking forward to it. It will be four weeks since our last one, thanks to storm Gareth and it will be interesting both to see the progress our trainer thinks we have made and also to get new homework to do.