Tried and Tested: Derby House Lightweight Rug

Sadly the summer is over and the days of fly rugs seem a distant memory.  With the drop in temperature and the on/off torrential rain we have had recently, I decided it was time to get Pea in her waterproofs!  Luckily, back in the summer, Derby House (my favourite rug brand) very kindly gifted us one of their lightweights – perfect for this time of the year.

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It is a classic example of Derby House’s excellent rug design with a 0g weight and 600 Denier diamond weave fabric which is waterproof and breathable.  Pea can vouch for how waterproof this rug is because she’s been out night and day in all sorts of weather over the last few weeks. It has buckles on the neck (velcro would be useless in the winter) and adjustable clips on the chest (easy to secure or remove).  It is consistent with the fit of the other Derby House rugs I have had – I always know what I am going to get with them.  It doesn’t always completely cover Pea’s mane – she seems to shake it down but maybe that’s just the way she wears it!

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This particular rug is bright blue with a yellow trim.  Although this is from their summer collection and that is probably the reasoning behind the colours, I think it is great that when I drive past Pea early in the morning when the sun hasn’t yet come up, I can look for the blue and I’ll be able to spot her!  Check out the Derby House website to see their latest eye-catching rug designs (though if you’re looking for something more subtle they cater for that too).

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A little side note – Derby House are really passionate about improving their sustainability. They have 95% plastic free outbound packaging and have abolished plastic ‘windows’ from their rug bags.

A Guide To Shedding Tools!

It has come to the time of year when those of us who have unclipped horses are being punished for letting them grow their own rugs over winter.  Suddenly they are like bird nest machines, shedding hair everywhere and sometimes they need a little helping hand! Over the years I have used plenty of different gadgets to help Pea to shed her winter fluff so here’s a low down of our recommendations. All of these have been bought with my own money and my opinions are certainly my own and based on solid use.

The ‘Cheap and Cheerful All-Rounder’

These metal ‘shedding blades’ are pretty cheap (from £4) and effective at catching loose hairs and sweeping them away especially when you open them up like a scythe! I wouldn’t recommend using one of them on sensitive areas or legs but they do a decent enough job on the body and double up as an excellent tool to remove dry mud!

The ‘Sorry I’ve Found Better’

You know what it is like, you see a video on the internet of something looking amazing and you get sucked into buying it. That’s how my YO and I ended up ordering StripHairs from America a few years ago. When they arrived, although we were in slight shock that we’d spent so much money on what is essentially a rubber block, we thought they were great but they are hard work to use and have been far outclassed by more recent purchases! I know StripHair have changed the design of their blocks and I can’t comment on the new ones (they cost $39) but if I wanted a shedding specific tool I would certainly buy…

The ‘Best In Test’

I bought a SleekEZ two years ago with my Eqclusive brush pack (they cost £19.95 individually) and I haven’t looked back! It is so effective at taking out the hair that is ready to be shed and is so satisfying to use. The difference in all of our horses’ coats from the year before to the year we used these in the lead up to our riding school vet inspection was incredible. Because it is essentially a ridged metal blade coming from a wooden block, you have to be careful about pressure, particularly in more sensitive areas.

The ‘New Classic’

Although I use the SleekEZ on most of Pea’s body I turn to my Eqclusive curry comb (£7 each) particularly for her tummy and legs. It is the perfect reincarnation of a traditional rubber curry comb with a solid rubber structure but soft tips. In circular motions it teases all the ‘shed ready’ hair out of the coat, gets rid of any mud and provides a sort of massage for your horse.

Do you have any other shedding tools you could recommend?

5 Things I’m Proud Of (2018)

I’ve decided to join Rhea Freeman’s ‘5 Things I’m Proud Of’ challenge and will be adding one more thing each day until the 31st December!

1 – The Confidence To Make A Change

This started in 2017 when I made the big decision to leave my permanent contract teaching job and follow my dream to a live in job at boarding school stables, but this year (2018) I have made some more major changes.

Firstly, I decided to leave that job in order to return to the Cotswolds for my operation (with no future job lined up!)  Three months into my recovery and feeling much better, I then made the decision to take a HLTA job (rather than try for a full time teaching one) alongside my self employed tutoring.

Both of these big changes have paid off for me so far but I am hoping I don’t have such big decisions to make in 2019!

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2 – Getting Out And About

It has certainly been a year of confidence growth!  With a trailer and the commitment of my travelling head lad (boyfriend..) 2018 was meant to be a year for getting out and about with Pea.  The hip replacement put a fairly big brake on this but we still managed to go out for lessons to two different places (in three different arenas).  Riding in different arenas has been great for my confidence, we have now experienced an arena with no fence and been in an indoor arena for the first time ever!

Each time we go out the stress gets less as we establish our routines and roles. I am still nervous about travelling Pea (even though she travels fine) but the more we do it, the more settled I feel. I’m proud of us all for breaking out of our comfort zone.

The intention was to get out to competitions this year too but that wasn’t meant to be.. hopefully we will have more success in 2019!

3 – My Recovery Journey

If you have ever visited my blog before you will know that in June I had a hip replacement.  Quite aside from being proud that I actually did it in the first place (though I made that decision at the end of 2017), I’m proud of how I’ve made it out the other side. 

I’m proud of myself for following the rules of my rehab, for doing my physio exercises, for getting back on my pony and ‘living my life’. 

I’m proud that I am now able to walk tall and (fairly) straight. 

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4 – Pea

As you can see in Pea’s Year it has been a big year for Pea. After settling in to life in Malvern she went through the upheaval of moving back to Bourton with no stress or complaints.

After running away from my crutches before my operation, once my hip was done she couldn’t have been more gentle and tolerant of me or the fact that she was being ridden by various tourists!

She responded to each stage of progress with interest and was almost unsure the day I led her out of the stable to get on! She has been pretty much impeccably behaved since, testing me only when I have been ready!

I’m proud of the willingness she has shown when my instructor has ridden her and I’m proud that we are finishing 2018 in a better position than we were at the beginning!

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5 – My Blog

If you had asked me at the beginning of 2018 what I would be proud of by the end, the changes, the trailer travel, the operation and Pea would have all been very much on my list, I could never have predicted the fifth thing I’m proud of.

I started my blog with very little expectation or intention but I feel like I have achieved something with it!

  • I am proud to have received messages and comments from people who have appreciated me sharing my story (some of whom live in a completely different country!)
  • I’m proud to have been shortlisted and given an award in the Equestrian Blogger of the Year competition.
  • I’m also proud to be writing again for a purpose other than work!

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Tried And Tested: Derby House Breeches

As I’ve said before, I love Derby House. I featured them in my Christmas Gift Guide, I get all my rugs from there and most of my boots. Recently, they contacted me and very kindly gave me the opportunity to have a pair of their breeches to try out and review (thank you!)  I chose the Derby House Elite High Waist Gel Full Seat Riding Breeches.  I have only recently started wearing breeches again after living in Tesco jeggings last year.  I’ve been looking for some new ones but it is so hard to know what is comfortable without actually trying them out.

Choice Reasons

I tossed up between trying some of the riding tights or the breeches but as it is now winter and my legs in particular need to be kept cosy, I went for the breeches.

First Impressions

When I opened the package I was immediately impressed by how quality the breeches looked.  They have a firm but not restrictive waistband, neat pockets and silky stretchy panels at the bottom.  I love that they are high waisted because they are perfect for tucking in a top and the waistband has belt loops though I found I didn’t need to wear one as they are so well shaped.  They have subtle Derby House branding but nothing that screams or shouts!  I’m so not a fashionista but these look good – they got the thumbs up from my other half!

A Bonus!

It was raining when I wore them for the first time and I was impressed to see that the droplets of rain sat on top of the breeches rather than soaking into them.  In fact as well as being water repellent, they have stayed pretty clean after a lot of wear – grooming dust/mud seems to brush right off.

Comfort

For me, breeches need to be comfortable enough to wear all day for plenty of walking, riding, hay net filling, mucking out, driving, even popping to the shops etc.  After some thorough testing, I can confirm that these jods are COMFY.

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Sticking Power

I have had a few pairs of ‘sticky bum’ jods before but nothing like these.  I actually felt like I was stuck to the saddle and my legs stayed in position better than normal. I have been feeling quite vulnerable since my hip replacement but they certainly gave me an extra feeling of security in the saddle.

Overall

At £49.99 I think these are great value, they have the look and feel of a much higher end brand.  I’m strongly considering getting some for competitions as well and will definitely check out the tights version in the summer.  My only criticism – I’m a black and grey kind of girl and currently these are only available in navy, merlot, beige and white (hint hint!)

If you want to get your hands on a pair click here!

 

Home Is Where The Horse Is

Thinking about my return to the Cotswolds whilst writing What Comes After Twenty Six?, having a nice evening at the yard and learning of the passing of the founder of the original riding centre which became Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre got me thinking the other night, what makes my yard so good?

(If you need a reminder of how I came to be at Bourton Vale, check out Riding – How It All Started)

Facilities

There is no getting away from the fact that the facilities have a massive impact on the compatibility between you and a yard. I now school 75% of the times I ride so having an arena is crucial.

Since I work 6 days a week having lights in the arena is so helpful.. we are up to 3 lights and counting! We also have 3 mirrors.. we used to have 4 but that’s another story!

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As much as I’d love to be at a yard with an indoor school, gateless hacking etc etc there is so much more to consider..

Activities

As my yard is a hacking centre and riding school (of sorts.. not your typical one) there are always hacks to join and the possibility of using the school.  The option of working livery meant that Pea was ridden throughout the summer when I was unable to do so. Not to mention the hacking is beautiful. There are dressage competitions held there in the summer which gives us some opportunities to compete without the hassle of going anywhere. Although I would quite like to have more of those, if there were more I would probably never get as far as going away to compete. The activities available suit my needs.

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Community

I think the wonder of the horse community is that it throws together very different people who generally have just one thing in common – their love of horses. This is certainly the case at my yard but everyone there (and who has left but has remained part of the family) is part of our little supportive community and we muddle through together.

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Opportunity

It is so important that your yard gives you the opportunity to care for your horse/ride in the way you want to. It really suits me that the Bourton Vale horses live in groups and are turned out 24/7 (unless they need to stay in for some reason) as Pea is happy living like that.  This was especially important when I was off having my operation!

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Support

I had only been riding for a few months when I first went to the yard and had never even caught a horse from a field. The support and education I received there (along with the fantastic lease scheme) allowed me to learn enough to own my own pony and later move away for a while with her. Even nearly 5 years after I started riding there and with a Horse Care Diploma under my belt, having a supremely knowledgeable and generous yard manager makes life so much less stressful!

Structure

As it is a training yard, there are rules and standards in place. Everyone singing from the same hymn sheet (and being pulled up on it if they are not) makes for a smoothly running yard.

A little something special!

At Bourton Vale there is a LOT of special to shout about;

– the menagerie of other animals and their offspring (if you haven’t seen this video featuring them.. why not?)

 

– the range of horses from a Shetland to a shire and everything in between (including young ones and a race horse)

– the unique stories: most of the horses there were unwanted elsewhere and have found possibly the one place they can thrive with us

– the ‘do gooding’ in the form of a free Pony Club, a funded pony racing scheme and much much more

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I may be slightly bias as I can’t see anyone finding a yard better than mine.. (if you are ever in the Cotswolds it is well worth a visit) however, if it has the facilities you need, activities that suit you, a welcoming community, the opportunity to ride and keep your horse in the way you want and an appropriate level of support for your needs, it sounds pretty good to me!

What is good about your yard?

What Comes After Twenty Six?

Today, internet friends, is my 27th Birthday!  Which has had me thinking about the massive year that had just passed.  This blog is for life documentation so if you want to revisit the last year with me, come on in.

I have often said that when I turned 26 I had a bit of a ‘mid twenties crisis’.  I was suddenly really conscious of the future and how much I wanted to achieve but didn’t really feel like I was.

26 has been a rollercoaster, it started with the revelation in December that I was going to have a hip replacement within the next year.  This was followed by the happy occasion of moving in with my boyfriend along with a wonderful few Christmas celebrations with each of our families (and the animal ones).

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Passing my towing test (after one failed attempt..) and my Level 2 UKCC in Equestrian Coaching made me feel like I was getting better at my job and starting to become worthy of it but in February I made the difficult decision that I would have to leave it in order to have a guilt free, successful hip replacement recovery back where I had lived before.

At the end of March, we (humans and pets) made the big move back to the Cotswolds.

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In April I finally managed to reconnect with my family – I went to visit my brother and his little family and my parents.  I started tutoring, I started my new job at the shop, I started blogging AND of course I got my operation date through.  I also created this video – which was essentially an expression of the wonder of being back at my yard.

If you’re a long time reader of mine you know the story from here, Pea and I got out to lessons and I felt like I was just getting somewhere towards my goals, I even managed a fun ride when it all stopped in June for my hip replacement.

June and July were spent like this..

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And this..

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Cut to the end of August (if you want to relive the gory details of my recovery it is all linked in My Hip Story) and the big event was my return to the saddle.

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In September I entered my first online dressage competition and by October I felt ‘better’. I got myself a new job, in a school again and experienced the absolute wonder of getting a blogging award (My Blogging Journey).  There was also loss in our household as we said a sad goodbye to Percy the guinea pig though we then welcomed Patrick to keep Peter company.

In what little of November we have had, Pea and I have got back out for a lesson and she feels better than she has ever felt before (in my completely unprofessional opinion!)  Your Horse Live finished off my year of horsey education trips which included Badminton, Burghley, Blenheim, British Dressage Championships and HOYS.

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This may seem like more of a ‘new year’ style post but all my thoughts around my birthday revolve around how massive this year has been and although on paper it looks like a bit of a mess, I’ve learnt, I’ve achieved and, if I’m honest, I actually feel so much more confident about the future now.  Bring on 27!

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My amazing cake was made by MUCK Cakes by Hannah

Falling In And Out Of Love

Time for a confessional to address a slightly taboo subject – falling in and out of love with riding.

Before I start, just to clarify, not a day has gone by where I haven’t loved Pea.  Even in the early days when sometimes I couldn’t catch her for love nor treats.  Even when her tankiness caused me to have plastered fingers for weeks.  Even when she reared whilst being held by my ‘horses are dangerous’ boyfriend! I’ve never fallen out of love with Pea or horses.

There has also never been a point where I haven’t wanted to WANT to ride.. Just the achieving the wanting has been hard.. Have you got that?

ANYWAY, I have had my fair share of roller-coasters when it comes to how I have felt about riding (even having only started five years ago) and in the interests of honesty I thought I’d share my experiences and tips.

The Lows

Unhappy Hacker –

If you’ve read Riding – How It All Started you will know that I had a major confidence wobble right at the beginning.  There was a time when I didn’t want to leave the yard.  I even walked miles and miles leading a horse when I was too scared to ride it after half a hack!  And cantering our? Forget it!

There have been plenty of days when I have opted not to ride because I had no-one to hack out with.  If I do go out alone, I never go far.  I’m too worried about what might happen if something went wrong.

Confidence/Nerves –

The confidence issues continued.  Prime example being the time I managed to enter a hunter trial but turned into a complete nervous wreck/stranger and ended up falling off due to losing all control over my own limbs/ability to do anything!

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A special mention also goes to the preparation and occasion of my Level 2 Diploma riding assessment – there were a LOT of tears.  The utter fear of assessment is something that really affects me.

Pain –

If you are reading this you are probably aware of my hip situation (if not, you’ve got a lot to catch up on.. My Hip Story).  There have been many many occasions when I have forgone riding because I couldn’t face the pain and the after effects on my hip of having ridden.

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The Highs

The Summer Of Jumping –

There was a time when I did weekly clear round (small) jumping, jumped a yard horse 1m 15 in a ‘Chase Me Charlie’ and was happy to go to a friend’s house and jump their horse!

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Happy Hacking –

Also, in what feels like a past life, I was hacking out three a day!  Kilbeggan Blade/Brian (an ex National horse) and Bobby (a 4 year old driving pony just starting ridden work who I also competed at Intro dressage) alongside Pea.

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Horse Confident –

As I’ve said, in the past I was jumping onto different horses left right and centre, even riding the yard’s most infamous team chaser AND I went to try horses and ponies for the yard owner.

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Finding My Goal –

The catalyst to writing this post was that right now, with a new hip and a dressage ambition – I am SO in love with riding. I have a very long way to go before I get to where I want to be but I’m happy I’m on the right track.

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What I’ve Learnt

– Identify the problem. Be honest with yourself. What is the reason you’re leaving your riding kit at home or using other avoidance tactics?

– Find what you enjoy and stick with it. If you don’t want to jump, don’t. If you never want to ride in an arena, don’t. If you don’t want to hack alone, don’t!

– If you want to make a change, don’t be an island – allow someone to help you. If you need to build your confidence, book a lesson. If you need a hacking buddy, find one! If you’re struggling with your horse, get someone else to ride it and see if they can help.

– Measure your success against yourself and be realistic with your expectations. Albert Einstein wrote ‘if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid’. If yesterday you wouldn’t walk over a coloured pole, don’t expect to be eventing any time soon.

– Celebrate your successes! Walking over that coloured pole may have been a massive achievement over your confidence issues! Celebrate that!

– Be aware of the Olivia Towers ‘stretch zone’ theory (read about it in Tips from HOYS). You’ve got to branch out of your comfort zone a bit but don’t tip yourself over the edge.

– If you don’t like something – change it. Are you avoiding going for lessons because you’re not keen on your instructor? Find a new one.

– Go with the flow. Accept that sometimes you will feel better than at other times. If you’re feeling good, roll with it.

There are some loves worth fighting for!

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Your Horse Live 2018

Today was my third visit to Your Horse Live. It has become somewhat of a birthday tradition (as it always falls the weekend before my birthday). Last time my boyfriend enjoyed it so much I decided to take him this year as HIS birthday treat!

We kicked the day off by watching a jumping demo from Emily and Mary King. While I have no plans to jump possibly ever again, seeing Mary King takes me back to being a little girl with a bad leg who dreamed of riding while watching the big events on TV. At the end Mary brought out Hovis – if you’re not familiar with him, his blogs on Horse and Hound document his own medical issues – he has had worse luck than me!

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The next thing was the Grand Horse Parade with Arko III, Barber Shop, Big Star, Neptune Collonges and Zion. This was followed by the display of Melody Hame’s ‘War Horse’ clipped horse and the observance of the two minutes silence to mark Remembrance Sunday.

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We then hit the shops! There is no denying that Your Horse Live has an impressive number of shops though you tend to see the same coats and boots in about ten places! By the time you’ve had a little walk around, you know exactly what you want.

After that, we popped to the rescue village. It is awful to read about some of the horrible things that people do to ponies but lovely to see a stable block full of recovered ones (even if some of them do look a bit like they really don’t want to be there!)  I wanted to take most of them home!

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We also managed to catch a bit of Sir Lee Pearson’s interview in the Equine Learning Zone. I just feel like I can make NO complaints about my situation when I think about the challenges he faces!

Watching Ben Atkinson Action Horses was entertaining for both of us. The confidence and skill involved in training and riding the trick and stunt horses is immense. One of his horses decided it didn’t want to do what it was meant to at the end.. ie. leave the arena. It just shows that even if you can ride your horse through dressage movements tackless in a big arena it doesn’t mean it will always listen to you!  I have seen them before and each time I do, I go away wishing I was braver!

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We also caught Florian Bacher’s dressage demo of which the most interesting part was him pointing a stick at a horse’s back leg and it responding by doing a piaffe. AMAZING! I’m not sure Pea is quite ready for that!

At the end of the day we did a little bit of spending, I was treated to a new yard coat (Mark Todd) as an early birthday/Christmas present and I bought myself a base layer from Black Heart Equestrian. I had seen it earlier in the day and thought it would go well with my blush Le Mieux numnah but I wasn’t sure if I could justify getting myself a present! When I had decided I could, we went back and had a lovely chat with Erin (whose business it is) and her mum. Looking at what she has achieved at only 21 makes me feel really old!

47519122-0C72-43B9-9A52-71899FCDAD49All in all, a good day AND after all that walking, my bionic leg feels fine! As for the boyfriend.. he enjoyed a pork roll and a coffee!

Back To School

It has been another big week for me!  I started my new job (back in a school) on Monday and today Pea and I went for our first lesson since my hip replacement.

I’ve had a few really sluggish and frustrating schooling sessions recently and I decided I am better enough to gain something from a lesson.  I feel like I’ve got use of my leg back but I’ve completely forgotten how to ride! I spoke to my instructor and we agreed that she would ride Pea for half the time and I would ride the rest.

It didn’t start particularly well – we haven’t taken the trailer out since before my operation, we have a different car and just generally hadn’t quite prepared that side of things!  Once we’d located a key for the hitch lock, botch job attached the correct number plate to the trailer and pumped up the tires, I made my boyfriend drive along the yard track and back to convince me I was happy to put Pea in.  We have a bad track record of trailer outings being a bit stressful and this one was no exception.

HOWEVER, once we were there (only five minutes late) it was all worth it!  My instructor rode for a while which is so good for Pea because she doesn’t often (ever?) have anyone riding her who can actually ride!  She’s had fairly limited proper schooling in her ridden career and definitely showed that.  I then got on and had a lesson.  We are working on getting Pea more forward, accepting the contact and becoming more supple.

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I am SO aware that my instructor riding Pea set her up to go better for me than she does when I get on cold but it still wasn’t easy, I still had to find those buttons.  I feel like I rode better today than I did in my last lesson (before my operation) so I’m feeling very positive about where we are going riding-wise and I left with the biggest smile on my face!

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As you can see, being a fluffy, unrugged wild pony isn’t very conducive with being a dressage diva.. Pea was SWEATY.  If anyone has any bright suggestions as to how to deal with it I’d love to hear them – it is too cold for proper washing, is clipping my only option now?

13 Reasons Why (4 Month Update)

Some times I still look back at the negatives around having my hip replacement.   Most notably the fact that I gave up my job (and home at the time).  Four months on I feel like I have been rebuilding my life pretty well – here are 13 reasons (of varying levels of seriousness) why I am glad I had my hip replacement.

(1) Goodbye pain

The whole point of having my op was to reduce the crippling pain I was in.. TICK!  I am still sore when riding and if anything jars my hip unnaturally I have sharp pain BUT it is nothing like that pain I had before.

(2) Hello 1.5cm

A bonus aim for my operation was to reduce the leg length discrepancy I had.  I’m definitely taller and once my muscles get to where they need to be it looks like my legs will be even – who knows, I might even be able to have even stirrups!  I’ve got as far as being only one hole shorter on my left side than my right.

(3) Valuing my health

I honestly believe you don’t realise what you’ve got until you experience something like this.  Each day after my operation I got better, yes the pain, precautions and side effects were challenging but it had really made me appreciate the fact that I am generally very well.  The drug induced zombie mode I was in at the beginning was horrible – now I’m tired because I’ve earnt my tiredness!

(4) New job experiences

One of the most gutting things about having to have my operation was that I had to leave my horsey school job – the silver lining was that working in the shop, the saddlery and as a private tutor has given me a new outlook  on work and what is important in a job.  I’ve now got a new job in a school which I start on Monday and will be continuing to tutor which I LOVE.

(5) The magic of self employment

Before my operation I had always been in stable, contracted jobs.  Since my operation I’ve been very much in charge of my destiny when it comes to work.  Like I said, LOVE working as a self employed tutor – I can really teach in the best way for the individual child which is what every teacher wants isn’t it?

(6) Tack and leatherwork

I’m not exactly ready to start making tack or anything but working in the saddlery has given me a much greater understanding of tack quality and how best to care for it – I’m sure Pea’s saddle and bridle will thank me for that.  It does however mean that I am PETRIFIED that something will break while I’m riding – totally illogical.

(7) Quality time with special people

Six weeks with my parents after my operation could have been testing for our relationships but actually it was so nice to spend proper time with them and to share Pea with my mum who lives too far away normally but would love to be more involved with her.  I also got to spend much more non riding time with Pea than I would normally.  I’m now back at the busy life, time squish and riding comes over ‘playing’ with my pony but the months I had without riding meant I had proper chill time with her.

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(8) Knowing my support network

When something like this happens you really get to know who cares – it is the people who bring you chocolate or send you flowers, the ones who send you supportive messages, the ones who push you (even when at the time it doesn’t feel so welcome) and the ones who don’t forget to be considerate of the situation even when time has passed by.

(9) Going places

I have actually been to more horsey events since my operation than I did before!  The combination of a bit more time and the motivation to learn more to apply it in my own riding has taken me to Burghley Horse TrialsBlenheim Horse Trials, the British Dressage Championships and HOYS.

(10) Finding an outlet

Without my operation I doubt I would have ‘got round’ to starting my blog – which has given me a creative outlet and a bit of a focus for internet time!  I’ve already gushed about the wonderfulness of bloggerdom in My Blogging Journey so I won’t bore you again!

(11) Seeing a future

Before I had my operation I was worried about what the future would hold. I was on crutches in the last few months and the idea of that continuing was scary. Yes I rode and walked but it was always getting worse. Now I can see a time when I can be as active as I want to be.. though today I’m very sore and stiff after overdoing it so I’m reminded that I’m not there yet!

(12) Starting a new chapter with Pea

It has been a slow start to the new chapter with Pea and I’m still playing catch up trying to get back to where we were before but I feel like now I’ve got the bones/ceramic I’m going to have for (hopefully) the next 30 years, we can keep moving forwards.  Already I’ve managed to do an intro with Dressage Riders Online (which was a first) and I’m hoping to get out and have a go at an away competition before the new year! I cantered for the first time yesterday which just confirmed that I’ve got a long way to go.

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(13) Super scar

I’ve been telling people for years my scar was a shark bite and now it actually curves round like one!

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