It’s finally happened: I’ve become one of those relationship people. You know the types, obsessed with every single milestone they hit – not just the big ones. Our first trip to the shops together!!!! Three weeks today since we first drank coffee together!!!! Two months in and WE’RE SO IN LOVE!!!!
You’ve probably seen the types (or at least seen them pop up on social media). While there’s nothing wrong with people being in love, it can get pretty tiring seeing every single moment get celebrated.
However, it looks like I’ve finally succumbed too. But instead of posting soppy paragraphs about my boyfriend (sorry Pat), they’re all about Floyd, my horse.
LOOK he’s just LICKED HIS SALT LICK for the FIRST TIME!!!! We just WENT ON A HACK!!! Two weeks since our first complete circle in CANTER!!!!
I wish I was exaggerating, but sadly not.
We’re now six months in, and while it’s hard to remember a time without him in my life, I’m frequently reminded about how little time we’ve had together. Most notably, the fact I’ve not owned him through a winter, and I’ve got no idea if a. I’ll survive riding him when it’s cold, and b. if I can afford to kit him out in enough rugs to keep him warm and dry. However, we’ve not done too badly in the time we’ve been together and I’ve got a pretty good idea of what he likes (food, cross country, his stable-mate Danny), and what he doesn’t (bananas, musical rides).
But on the other hand, I’m pretty surprised that we’ve made it to six months. He’s my first proper horse*, and it hasn’t been easy. Since bringing him home back in March 2017, I’ve learnt that:
- he’s a six-year-old thoroughbred, as opposed to the seven-nearly-eight ISH I thought he was**
- he’s super intelligent
- …super intelligence isn’t always a positive thing
- my bum is (thankfully) a lot stickier*** than I thought
- you can’t do much without the support of a tirelessly wonderful instructor, an optimistic boyfriend, and friends who’ll always pick you up after a bad day.
When I first started looking to buy a horse, my tirelessly wonderful instructor, Nat, and I agreed that we should avoid youngsters, and look for a well-educated, older schoolmaster. My confidence isn’t what it was, and I wanted something safe and easy (well, as easy as horses get).
So, I accidentally bought a young TB, with little-to-no experience. We’ve had the period of ‘every time you get on I will buck until you get off’, and the two-week boot-camp of ‘every time you buck you’ll be lunged for hours before being ridden’. We’ve had the ‘I’m going to rear every time you lead me to the field’, and the ‘no you’re bloody not, I’ve bought a pressure halter’ phases too. Not to mention the ‘I’m going react to every vaccine I get, and pretend I’m dying and/or will never walk again’ step. I mean, if this is the honeymoon period of our relationship, the next two decades are going to give me a head of grey hairs.
It wasn’t particularly pretty or fun, and many times I wondered whether my plane-ticket-to-Australia fund should have been spent on a plane ticket to Australia (rather than a horse)****. But it all paid off. The journey we’re on is one that we’re creating together – and no one can belittle that or take it away from us. Whenever someone compliments how well he goes, it’s all down to mine and Nat’s hard work. Whenever he learns something new or progresses up a step, it’s all down to us. And whenever we take a step back, it’s not easy, but I know we’ve been through worse.
So, this is our journey. It’s not particularly ambitious (I’d just like to make it round a BE80 alive), nor is it full of beautiful matchy-matchy pictures. But hopefully it’ll be slightly entertaining, and a bit interesting. I’ve never done any of this eventing lark, and nor has Floyd, so it’s very much a case of the blind leading the blind*****.
* No disrespect to Jack, my first pony. At 14hh wide and 14.2hh high, he didn’t require much more than a handful of hay, a weekly hack, and legs of steel to keep him going.
** Pro-tip: always ask to see a horse’s passport before handing over money. Or don’t, if you like surprises.
*** For my non-horsey audience (if you exist): my bum is not actually sticky. This just means I stay on board when Floyd gets a bit, err, lively.
**** Yeah, so I have a very understanding boyfriend.
***** Pretty apt, as he’s got a cataract, and I can’t see anything past the end of my nose