Have you ever considered how your life is very similar to Jenga?
It’s an analogy I’ve used when helping some kids at school deal with the ups and downs of life (not sure if its an analogy that’s been thought of before so i will claim it for my own!). I didn’t expect to apply it to my own life though. Think about it for a second – in life you take knocks and have to deal with stress – that’s the bricks being taken from the tower. Then the pressure builds up and you carry it on your shoulders – the bricks being placed on top of the tower. What happens eventually though? The tower comes falling down! It’s not the one brick that caused it but a combination of stresses and pressure. Thats what happened in January but my crumbling jenga tower came as a huge surprise as it did to everyone else. Its taken me until now to build it back up and get back to work but in the three months i’ve had off i’ve learnt some important things about me, my friends and family but most importantly my 3 horses and 1 husband!
As horse people we know our emotions are tied to the horse – we get anxious and we tighten up and the horse feels it and will often then not perform. However, I didn’t realise just how much of our emotions they picked up on until having this time off. Ive spent everyday with the horses in the last 3 months and i can honestly say that if it wasn’t for them i’m not sure i’d be back at work now. Training sessions are more productive because i’m calmer and less stressed -when they are being silly, naughty or struggling with a new concept then i don’t get angry and annoyed with them; i can keep my calm and either work though it or have the ability to recognise that we need to stop and come back to it another time because i’m having an off day and the horse is picking up my stress and tension. Not only has the training improved but i have never been calmer in competitions like i am now. I used to get so nervous to the point of crying and nearly throwing up which was inevitably going to affect my riding – how could i expect my crazy anxious thoroughbred to perform well when he had a nervous wreck on his back! That’s not to say Ara’s any better in competition now as he’s still a huge t**t but when he now trieds it on now, I can bully him round a course – as opposed to hearing the elimination bell at fence one we now hear it near the end of the course!
The final thing I’ve learnt is that my husband is a bit like a horse in that i can talk at them and they will just listen! In fairness i would like a little more of a two way conversation however, he’s far to pragmatic and when i’m whinging about things his answers and help can be infuriating…therefore i call my sister and she gets it!!
He does however, keep my laughing and we all know laughter is the best medicine.
So being back at work this week has meant less time with my boys – sad times! The first day I fed them in the morning at 7 and then didn’t see them again until about 3pm and they went mental when i turned up -Whinnying, charging about the field, following me everywhere! They were so adorable and made me realise how much of a bond i’ve developed with them recently. Ive not been able to ride them everyday which meant they were both very fresh when we attempted some schooling.
With both of them I decided to focus on transitions which Ara was fine with and behaved brilliantly until he didn’t! The rain came and so did his tantrum! 30 minutes of bucking, bronching, napping, spinning and me hanging on for dear life. I whacked my jaw on his neck so it now clicks and makes more noise than a one man band, i’ve twisted my calf and neck and had to go in search of my phone when i realised it must have flown out my pocket during one of his episodes! We did not leave the field until he followed my instructions but boy was it a battle of wills. Chino had a day off as i then had to take my dad to A&E!
He came off Ara 3 weeks ago when he couldn’t control Ara in the canter and decided that he’d jump off rather than fall off, the mad old fool! X-rays confirmed he had in fact suffered a minor fracture in his ankle/fibula but as he’d left it for three weeks and continued to walk on it then there was nothing they could do now! Safe to say he won’t be attempting any cantering on Ara anytime soon!
Yesterday I did the same schooling session with Chino and he was a bit of a dick! Very fresh and springy – we couldn’t canter as it resulted in bucks and farts, and his downward transitions resulted in arguments and wanting to do mini rears! I just managed to contain his excitement finishing with some straight halting rather than stop and spins like we had earlier!
As i’m off work today i will head down to the boys soon and do more schooling in the field and some raised trotting poles to get their back ends working in the correct way as opposed to working in the air! Archie will get some mummy love as he’s filthy so needs a good groom which he loves. I’m all entered for the eventer challenge tomorrow afternoon at Quainton Stud so fingers crossed the rain stays off for that as we’ve not got studs sorted yet so i imagine it’ll be pretty slippy.
I will update the results of the weekend over the next two days so stay tuned!
Toodle Pip 😘