Looking back at the beginning of the year, it is hard to remember the normality we experienced in January and February. Pea was prescribed uphill canter work to strengthen her back so after one dressage outing, we focused on trips to the gallops. I also made a much longed for investment in a second hand dressage saddle – not realising at the time that it would spend most of the year in our downstairs cupboard!
When the first lockdown hit in mid March, I made the decision to stop riding. Everything indicated that the last thing the NHS needed was people falling off their horses so that was that! Though it was a worrying time with the yard being closed to business, for those of us who were allowed to go, the peace, quiet and sunshine was pretty nice. Being able to walk empty pavements to the yard was also pretty awesome!
The sunshine continued into April and I dabbled with leading Pea to the river, lunging and attempting some in hand and liberty work. Things were somewhat more complicated in May though as Pea had a strange period of being poorly – chokey, coughy and all very worrying for me. Part of her recovery involved moving to the long grass so when she seemed to be better I decided I needed to start riding again and get her waistline under control! That happened to coincide with finding out I was pregnant but I got back riding for a good few weeks anyway. In June, having told a couple of people about the baby, I lost my bottle for riding and stopped.
Pea did a bit of hacking for the yard during July while I was a total sleepy zombie. We did continue to go for walks and I spent some time pampering and primping Pea in preparation for her big role in our wedding photos in August. The yard was well and truly open again so I kept anti-social hours trying to avoid people but keep connected with ponies! Returning properly to work in September and the days getting shorter made that even more difficult.
The last few months have not been very easy when it comes to spending time with Pea. Work hours have been long and daylight hours short! Normally I’m happy to stumble around in the dark but it has been different this year needing to think about someone else’s wellbeing. I also had a spell of isolation which was horrible – never in the time I have been a horse owner have I had to stay away from Pea like that. The mud and my growing baby bump (as well as a herd move with bigger, grumpier and hay orientated mares) have also made things more difficult. This is also the first winter that Pea has remained naked since I’ve had her – she is SO muddy and SO fluffy but ultimately has got her own waterproof system in place and is probably fatter than every previous winter too so she’s ok.