The last instalment saw us gearing up for the start of the clinic season, and worrying a little about the weather. Since then we have had 5 clinics, 3 weekends and 2 five days, and have experienced weather ranging from snow (! A first for us – luckily it wasn’t cold so the school itself didn’t freeze) to the glorious, mostly insect-free sunshine of early May. We’ve had students ranging from the fairly novice to the very experienced, from very young to somewhat older. There have been “pleasure riders” (as opposed to those who do it to be miserable, I guess), competitors, an AI, and returning faithfuls, and we’ve also met some fascinating horses.
A typical day starts at a very civilised 10am, which gives me a few hours to sort out our young son, Marley, and sometimes conveniently corresponds with his morning nap, giving Grandma an easier start to the day. Adam and I each teach the first 3 hours of the day, working on whatever the students have identified as their priorities. This might mean us both being in the school at the same time, but as often as not someone will want to work on some groundwork – maybe leading, going over water, long-lining, spook-busting, in-hand, or standing still to mount, and so they might be in the round pen, in the yards, or out and about around the set-aside. We’re meant to finish at 1pm, but will overrun if the situation requires it, which it often does, particularly if it’s Adam teaching….
Lunch brings the opportunity of interesting discussions, in between mouthfuls of food, and Marley usually makes an appearance, sitting at his table, and seemingly loving being in the middle of it all. He sometimes helps with the afternoon sessions, too, strapped to one of us in his sling. He’s usually very happy with this arrangement, although he does sometimes require us to keep moving, which can be a little distracting for the rider when we’re trying to explain a point, but have to keep moving around them in circles! We have a nominal finishing time of 5-6pm, but again will keep working if we feel we need to. We’ve had horses with some major issues this year, and we’ve really felt the need to do as much as possible. When the horses are more straightforward, we get an earlier night!
Then it’s letting our horses out, mucking out the boxes and the field, and – luxury of luxuries – eating the meal that Grandma has been able to cook while we’ve taken Marley out. It’s usually more or less time for bed by then – can’t think why there’s a backlog on the emails and phone calls!