How crazy to think that in the last blog I wrote, the weather was putting my eventing plans at bay. Just goes to prove that you never know what the next day will bring!
I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate during the Covid-19 pandemic! I’m pretty boring and live in my little bubble on the yard anyway, so staying at home throughout lockdown, didn’t bother me really. Sure, I’ve been desperate like everyone else, to get out competing again, but at least I can still get outside and keep busy - unlike so many others! The first three weeks of the lockdown was hard work for both Mum and I. Our apprentice, Heidi, has been off work, obviously the riding school had to close for a while, and we decided that we would take care of our livery’s horses for them also, to keep everyone and ourselves safe and at home. This meant we had 23 horses to care for between us.
After 3 weeks we decided that we would allow the liveries to come back in to attend to their horses. We felt we couldn’t keep owners away from their animals forever. They each had time slots to get their horses done - an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, with strict rules and precautions in place. This meant that for four and a half hours each day, Mum and I had to stay in the house whilst they were here. This is the first time in my life I’ve been banned from going in the yard (it was always a threat if I was naughty as a child!) and it drove me mad being stuck inside... How selfish is that when you think of the poor people stuck in flats with no gardens, and I was struggling with just a few hours a day! Apart from clock-watching, I used this time to give every piece of tack a good thorough clean in Mums kitchen and we got lots of gardening and hedge trimming done also.
The liveries are now allowed back on the yard at whatever time they please, we are all very aware of keeping social distance and are careful with things such as not being in the hay barn at the same time together, we all wear our own same pair of gloves for the yard each day and with their permission, I organised their tack room/feed room, tools etc. so that we each use our own equipment and nothing needs to be touched by each other.
I also used the time off teaching lessons to get numerous jobs done that usually get pushed aside. De-cobwebbing all the stables, cleaning fire extinguishers, cleaning the solarium, rug washing, continuing the brick paving on the yard, weeding and strimming, fencing, paddock maintenance – had the fields sprayed and topped the winter paddocks, painted old stable door name plaques for ponies that we have lost and made a “memories avenue” along the paddock fence to add some colour. Basically, I’m never bored and there is always a job to be done. Mum and I also had so much fun making our lockdown video for British Horse Feeds with “Speedi-B!” We giggled A LOT filming it!
We’ve just been able to open the riding school back up a couple of weeks ago – it’s been so lovely to see our clients back! I missed them a lot! When you’ve been teaching some weekly since they were five-years-old, and they are now in their late teens/early twenties, you probably see them more regularly than family. It has been very bizarre not having any lessons to do! I spent a lot of the lockdown riding round on my horses thinking of exercises I could do with others when they returned for lessons. We are lucky that all of our regular customers will be returning - most are back to their normal lessons already, others are understandably cautious and haven’t felt ready to venture out for riding straight away, but we are gradually getting back to some form of our normal routine. Again, we have strict precautions in place. We assist clients in and out of the gates, they are not to come onto the main yard, we wear a mask if they need help mounting/dismounting, and anti-bacterial wiping tack between every session
(I’m getting swish at the whole anti-bac’ing whilst un-tackin’!)
I hope all the British Horse Feeds followers are staying safe and well and are slowly getting back to finding a new “normal” too!
Take care and I’ll blog again soon,