At the moment I have to admit, I am not particularly worried about being horseless. I am experiencing what can only be described as the full livery experience without any of the costs involved. In fact I looked at my bank account one week before pay day and frankly I have never seen it look so healthy. Normally a week before pay day, I am scrabbling around in the sofa, pinching the small change from my other half’s pockets and trying to live off the freezer in order to avoid going to the supermarket and spend any money. I have even been looking at clothes for me which are not destined to be near a horse.
As for this full livery experience, currently I turn up to ride and then go home. It’s rather enjoyable as the horse is always clean and I get to hand them back and wave goodbye! In the current weather conditions, I cannot remember the last time I had to brush some mud off before I rode. Mind you, I did have to scrub some stable stains off a grey horse and the moaning could be heard for several miles. I am really lucky as I have a little mare to compete if I want to – she is pretty feisty and has hunted but not done a great deal of dressage so has very strong opinions about circles. I have entered her for an unaffiliated one day event in March so will see what happens. The downside is she is grey. I have high standards of turnout and this mare is upsetting my OCD. I asked deploringly the other day if she was ever truly clean. When the sponge you are using to clean them off starts making them dirty, it’s not something I have experienced on a bay or a chestnut.
I am looking for another horse, but it is hard. Basically I want to improve on the last one but I do not have thousands tucked away in the bank. I look through adverts regularly and for about 2 seconds I have that smug feeling of spotting what I think could be a super horse until your heart sinks at the price tag. Damn my expensive tastes.
I decided to be proactive about seeking what I wanted. So I stuck an advert on Horsequest with my short list of demands. My particular requests was that they were approximately 16.2hh, not coloured, not an ex racer and was aged between 4-7 years old. Limited budget was also stated.
I appreciate that with these things there will always be some filtering but I was amused at the phone call offering a 6yo who had done nothing with ok Sjing breeding for £15k. A bargain for someone I am sure! What the advert has done is draw out a few of exactly the right type who are homebred, been broken but done very little and are based in the South West. Logistically for me it is quicker to get to Ireland than it is Scotland so a trip to Ireland has been booked at the end of March as a fall back option as a lot of what I want is over there.
Along with riding lots of different horses and trawling adverts I have also been a good volunteer. I am involved in our RC area committee and recently volunteered at the Novice Show jumping qualifier and the Dressage Qualifier. I have to say the driving rain and cold temperatures made me quite grateful not to be riding. Whoever said there is ‘no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ is in fact wrong because I was still frozen after a day of being in the wind and rain despite being prepared. The current weather leads me to the conclusion that Somerset should be renamed Somewhereverywet.
One thing that has not changed in my life is now what I refer to as the ‘chat’. This is where my other half tries to persuade me every four months or so that horses are a waste of time and money. At the moment while I am horseless he seems to have upped the amount this conversation is bought up. But, what else would I do with my money? I know it makes him feel better
that he is at least trying to dissuade me from my course of action. I think he had thoughts that I would be at home a lot more without a horse, but I would hate him to become comfortable with a domestic goddess who tends to his every need so with running club, volunteering, riding other peoples horses and attending events not much has changed for him and the oven gets used no more than it was!