“It’s not him – it’s you. You need to forget all the baggage and what he was like at the beginning, and look at him with fresh eyes.”
Nope, not the heart-wrenching twist in a rom-com, but actually the opinion of Andrew Gould after teaching Floyd and me last week.
It’s fair to say that Floyd and I have baggage in not dissimilar volumes to the carousels at Gatwick Airport. From sitting up late into the night through a bout of colic (entertained by the dubious choice of music coming from Henley Festival), to being fly bucked down the road on a pre-bootcamp hacks, we’ve packed a lot into just six months.
And while some of it makes us stronger (or at least gives one of us a stickier bum), some of it doesn’t (like the state of Floyd’s back-end after vaccinations). My main issue is mixing up old-Floyd with now-Floyd. Now-Floyd is brilliant. He’s genuine, honest, brave, and tries his little heart out with everything I ask.
Andrew was quick to pick up on this. “All I’m seeing is a genuine horse who’s done everything you’ve asked. It’s time to stop treating him like a baby, and start riding him like the horse you wanted to buy in the first place.”
And it’s all totally true. He’s so willing, and he’s the most rewarding horse to ride. He learns quickly, is forgiving of my mistakes, and is quick to sort his legs out if he needs to. So, here’s to a winter of remembering how awesome my pony is – and not treating him like the weak, bolshy five-year-old he was when he arrived.
And as a guy at work literally just said: “if something’s not hard, the reward’s empty”. Yeah, it he might have been talking about getting good comments on the company Twitter account, but it works for us too.
Full time job + very fit horse = not always easy
Much to the joy of my poor, long-suffering boyfriend, I spent the last week of our holiday creating an in-depth exercise plan for Floyd, and talking through every detail of it.
Before going away, my motivation was at rock bottom. Floyd was going brilliantly, but the effort of riding (usually on my own) after a long day in a new job was just too much. So, I decided, I would learn to swim (as my horse is approximately 598x fitter than me), stop eating carbs (pasta and crumpets excluded), and create a weekly exercise plan.
So far, so good. I haven’t got in a pool yet, but carb consumption is down (as long as we’re not including pasta), energy levels are up, and the exercise plan has been adhered to. Yeah it’s pretty hard, and I’m in bed by 9.30 every night, but Floyd is happy and we’re slowly getting back into a routine. Because let’s face it: if we’re not in a solid routine when the light in the evening goes, there’s no chance of me getting to the other side of winter with a well-schooled, fit horse.