At this time of year, there's lot's of "New Year, New Me" hype. I often have had big hopes and dreams for each new year, but this year I'm choosing not to. This year, my goal is to do less. Work smarter, not harder. To be kind to myself. After all, I'm the one who has to live with the consequences. It is also a time for gratitude - to appreciate my good fortune in having a loving supportive family, two beautiful kids and to be able to do things I love every day. It brings me lots of happiness to help others in their riding journey and to share in their love of horses.
For too long though, I've been hanging in limbo. Ignoring my health issues and trying to be everything to everyone. I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome on top of a few other sleep disorders. I won't go into it (Google is your friend, it is a real "thing"). But it means I can't just sleep when most of the world is sleeping. It means all the usual helpful advice to "just go to bed earlier" doesn't work. I've modified my schedule to an extent, but decided now I just can't go on the way I'm going. My mental and physical health has taken a huge beating. I need to make self care and getting enough sleep my #1 priority, otherwise I'll get burnt out and end up with far more severe health problems long term.
Unfortunately, it means less or no competitions anymore. I just can't do it. I am torn, because I love it, but the physical toll is just too great. I will continue to ride and train, but will have to look closely at what I do and know when to back off. Luckily, competing is not the be all and end all, so no need to panic, the horses stay!!! But it is a time for me to go back to exploring why I love horses and setting myself some different challenges, that can be achieved on my own time schedule :)
In horsey news - the horses are back in work! Ted and Typo are back in light work, with aims to get them out to training days and lessons this year. Snip has had some work with a new farrier to correct his feet. We had Hoof Scan xrays done, which showed negative/low plantar & palmar angles. He has upright pasterns and odd shaped feet naturally. This, combined with a lifetime of (less than optimal) shoeing has contributed to long toes/low contracted heels and very thin soles. He is now sporting some very flash "air pegasus" shoes - special aluminiums with leather pads in front. It will be 3 months before he is ready to do any eventing, but that's ok. At this stage in his career, his soundness is more important than any of my ambitions for him. No foot, no horse! He is in light work and we will be dressage queens for a while. Then it will be time to assess our next move....!
Unfortunately, Illiana, my beautiful Andalusian x WB mare is not in foal. We've decided to hold off on any more AI with frozen and try fresh insemination to the same Lusitano stallion (Asceta d'Atela) early next season. In the meantime, she may find herself under saddle...watch this space!
My exciting news is that I have some club bookings for lessons on my Equisimulator! I have had a number of regular clients use it as part of their lessons and all have found it a useful learning tool. I look forward to heading to Ararat in late January with "Bouncy Horse" (as Hamish calls him). The simulator is such a helpful tool in teaching riding - often I've had people who have never ridden before, master the rising trot on "Bouncy" and then able to replicate it straight away on a real horse. It is also so useful for established riders to practice on, to correct exisiting faults, or better understand how to absorb the horse's movement effectively.
I've also pencilled in a hoof trimming course in March, so I can be more proactive about my horses' hoofcare and improve my knowledge. This is something I've wanted to do for a while, so I'm excited about improving my skills in another area and being passionate about another side of horse ownership.
My study as an Enlightened Equitation Teacher Trainee continues, with the second half of my course in mid April. I look forward to learning more and being able to help many more riders in developing an effective seat and an elegant way of riding.