I advise you now if wanting to fall pregnant and miss as little of the eventing season as possible do not follow my example. Our own materna-Venting has far better timing turning her maternity leave into eventing leave. Any plans of that for me have been well and truly scuppered. With the eventing season days away I’m basically half way towards my due date and couldn’t now manage even half a dressage test before my body would tell me to take a hike, although I’m refusing to stop riding just yet. By the time I’ve popped (I can only imagine I’m going to end up fairly huge as I’m already got an unmistakeable bump, that apparently is well past the ‘ you could be fat or pregnant’ stage as my dear friends tell me!), the season will be drawing to a close and only if I’m INCREDIBLY lucky can I even consider a late event. Then to add insult to injury my maternity leave will just about finish as the 2017 season starts. In other words I couldn’t have timed it any worse if I tried from an eventing perspective, so yes people stay celibate in October. May on the other hand would be perfect allowing you to event probably till at least August and then give you a month to get fit for the new season! Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
Further thoughts of, oh, well I will just photograph more events instead, is currently proving an unrealistic prospect as well. By the time the ‘big’ events start I will be in my last trimester and for the safety of myself and competitors I will not be able to cover events that require me to be ‘inside the ropes’ for press work. For event photography I am safe but I would have to choose a fence located next to a portaloo as well pregnancy demands it but they are very rare at some events…. So yes photographing events will be at a minimum as well booo although I am booked in for some. I will though still be at Badminton covering the Mitsubishi Cup for e-Venting as crowd numbers mean I can safely cover it from outside the ropes and for some reason I have decided at past 6 months I shall still camp for the whole event. Our next door neighbour last year was 7.5 months and was fine so it should be a walk in the park for me, right? I will keep telling myself that anyway.
The Olympics are most definitely out but I will have a new born minion so it’s fine I will be able to spend my sleepless nights watching the coverage and possibly writing reports, don’t expect them to make any sense though as I expect to be severely sleep deprived…
Bea is certainly not getting off lightly, her owner has had her out hunting exposing her to all manner of things over the winter in addition to having some lessons to continue her training. There are plans for Bea to go eventing this season, it may or may not include BE, she is ready having jumped round a BE90 track easily at the end of last season, but we will see what happens. So for now I’m fitting in as much as I can in a spectator capacity whilst I still can, and I can guarantee come autumn I will be out and about again albeit with a mini minion trainee in tow!
As a final note in my limited experience so far as a pregnant rider I can offer the following which are a few little titbits I have learnt;
- Your lovely high waisted breeches will start to get tight sooner than you think especially if you are fairly small anyway, so start the hunt early for comfortable elasticated breeches/jodhs as they are few and far between and maternity breeches do not seem to exist. I was lucky enough to have some Kerrits riding tights already but I’ve had to team them with thermals during the cold weather. I am never fashionable at the best of times but now clothes are chosen purely on comfort not style.
- Your pelvis and hips will start doing funny things about 12 weeks but take note what may feel like ligament pain may not be. I thought I may have to stop riding a few weeks ago due to hip pain but a trip to the Osteo has sorted me out and I’m back riding a few days a week. Regular Osteo visits are now on my to do list as I WILL keep riding as it’s far more enjoyable than swimming which is the current alternative.
- Two point canter work is your friend, the more you can do the better. It will strengthen your core which will help you ride longer especially if you have to stop hacking and I’m reliably told will make for an easier birth! (We shall see!)
- You will start feeling knackered early on, try and find a sharer if you’re not lucky enough to have an owner like mine so you can take the pressure off yourself.
- Yes everyone has that friend who kept riding until the day before their child was born (I know one who was still taking multiple up the gallops daily at 8 months!) but they are not the norm. You will also undoubtedly have family and friends who are amazed you are choosing to continue to ride 3,4,5+ months in. Be sensible know your horse, your surroundings and your limits plus most importantly listen to your body, you will know when it’s right to stop.