2018, what a year! Much like every other year, it’s been a mixed bag only this time around, it’s been a mixed bag on what feels like steroids. From the birth of our second child to finally bringing Hattie, the devil child, to our yard with the boys; the family trip of a lifetime to Disney World to having the chuckle brothers gelded and subsequently moody with me for the next two weeks. If that wasn’t enough, the year ended with me having another major surgery, which meant my total riding time for the year was around oohh…five whole hours.
While I could look at that and put it down to a really pants year, instead I’m looking at it like an intervention. I spent my whole equestrian life riding, instead of taking note of the horse on the ground. This year has forced me to instead look at the horse from their own level instead of down below at their ears as I sit on top of them.
I always thought I had a great relationship with Jack, my big lad, but it wasn’t until I started looking more into the intricate details of a horse, its movement and the way it interacts with the rest of its herd that I realised I didn’t. He was just incredibly amenable. He put up with me if anything.
It wasn’t until Hattie entered the fold that I really had to take a long hard look at how I worked, how I handled them because my usual approach of casual authority just didn’t seem to work with her. I was at my wits end with the chestnut filly and then I came across Jemma Myers. Jemma was a wonderful woman who took a more natural approach with her horses and while this wasn’t my usual cup of tea, I felt like it was my only option.
Within fifteen minutes of Jemma arriving, my way of thinking had been totally converted. I was taught to read body language and gain their respect rather than force them to view me as their leader – instead I was to show them why they should want me as their leader.
2018 consisted of me being pregnant through January until the beginning of June. I then took another 6 weeks to recover from a c-section before jetting off on our amazing family holiday. By the time I knew it, it was October. I spent October and November regaining my confidence back in the saddle and spending time implementing all that Jemma had taught me. That all came screeching to a halt in December when I was taken for surgery and here we are, January 2019 and while I may be almost bed bound, I’m not brow beaten. I’m excited for the year ahead. In fact, that’s an understatement; I’m down right elated at the steps I plan on taking when I can start mucking out, riding and finally getting a real relationship with not only the devil child filly but all of the horses.
With my new Brand Ambassador role at Black Onyx Equestrian as well as a position as promoter over at Vivendi Equestrian & Fitness Apparel, it looks like 2019 is going to be one fantastic year. My eyes are open and I’m ready to take it all in.