One of the nicest things about having our own yard, is that there is no “typical” day. The energy and pace of a Riding Clinic will be very different to a day off, or a day around the yard “catching up” on those many jobs that always seem to need doing. Days spent fixing the electric tape fencing, or doing one too many trailers of muck, could have us question the wisdom of having our own place. But the sheer pleasure of having the horses on site, of being able to ride within minutes of deciding to, and to be able to offer them the very best life we can manage, makes it all worthwhile.
This autumn and winter we’ve done all the muck clearing of the fields ourselves, with most of it done by Nicole with our lovely son, Marley, on her back. He seems to love it, and makes it all much more fun. The money we saved not paying other people to do this fairly huge task (10 horses…) means we were able to go to Hawaii for most of February. It’s probably best not to say anything more about that, in case we get lynched by a muddy mob, and you can probably guess it was the most amazing trip. Just before we left, we let the horses out onto their winter pasture – 12 acres of superbly well sheltered ancient pastureland. There is a long “runway” made of electric tape, leading to our yard, and with the help of Scrabble, our collie, the horses can (usually) be called in. This regular trot/canter across the runway is a great way to check how the horses are doing. But possibly the very best thing about our set-up is that our very good friend, Meg, lives on site and works normal-ish hours, and will either check the horses or bring them in for us in the mornings, so, young baby son allowing, we sometimes get to lie-in!
We’re just beginning to gear up for the clinic season, which starts this year on the 19th March, and usually continues through to November. We’re an outdoor venue, so this feels pretty brave, but in fact it’s the horse flies of the summer we can’t really deal with, and we’re planning a mid summer break from clinics then. We love the teaching aspect of our lives, and find doing the Clinics very energising even if they do exhaust us, too, sometimes. We’ve both done a fair bit of teaching with Marley in arms, so although we have wonderful back up from Nicole’s mum, we’re hoping that he’ll join us for some of the teaching, and we won’t have too many hours apart from him!
There’s the usual tidying, sorting, and fencing to do for the influx of visitors, not particularly helped by last night’s gale which took down a tree in the carpark, but we’re looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.