Monday, 13 February 2012

The Horse Ideal

When people think about horses/riding/horse riders, everyone has a different picture in their head. For some it may be racehorses, or riding school ponies. Smelly, scruffy girls from the local riding school or snooty toffs in shiny boots with a penchant for whips and spurs (for anyone who has seen the cover of Riders by Jilly Cooper!)

The same applies to horsecare. Some people have muddy horses living out wearing no rug, and some have horses up to their armpits in pristine bedding, wearing four rugs and a lycra hood. There are also many inbetween. To be honest, there is no real right or wrong way as long as you follow some basic care guidelines.

The majority of horse owners do not have pots of money, a beautiful house with stables and paddocks, a groom or a super shiny horsebox. Most of us do it as cheaply as possible! (although I am sure I am not the only one who dreams of all this!)

My horses are stabled at night on a deep littered straw bed, they go out for a couple of hours each day (more in the summer, less in bad weather) they are rugged, but due to the fact I have to rely on other people for turning out, the top rugs are always turnout rugs and do not get changed for going out/staying in. I have to balance out what is best for the horses, best for us (children, financial etc) what is sensible and meet somewhere inbetween. They are at a small livery yard, about 8mins drive away, and even though it is not far, if I were to go twice a day every day it would seriously eat into the day and for me it would make having horses and small children a near impossibility.

I would like to be able to be the one who feeds my horses their breakfast in the morning, to be the last one to check they are tucked up at night with a huge haynet and a clean bed, but sadly it is not possible at this moment in time. I would like to be able to go out competing every weekend, and to schooling sessions and clinics, but as it is I have to be content with a handful of outings each year.

I used to feel guilty that my horses are wasted with me, especially the mare, seeing as the gelding is a retired flat racehorse, and has earned a retirement. But actually, what horse wouldn't love doing as little as possible, eating their heads off and being a little bit fussed over with the odd day out? Sounds pretty good to me!

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