materna-venting

Introducing materna-venting

We have a new blogger in our midsts and a rather funny one at that, we would like to warmly welcome and introduce to you ‘materna-venting’

Photo with kind permission from Matt Nuttall Photography

Photo with kind permission from Matt Nuttall Photography

“Hello, this is Auto Aid Breakdown and Recovery Service, can I help you?”
“I hope so. I’ve put petrol in my car. It takes diesel.”
“No problem, madam, we’ll have someone with you soon. Are you alone in the vehicle,
madam?”
“No. I have a six week old baby and a horse.”
“A horse, madam?”
“A horse.”

And such was the start of my year of materna-venting, referred to in some circles as
“maternity leave”. Temporarily unshackled from my servitude in a US City law firm
in London, I set out on my baby holiday with a mission. Horse and I were going to
get established at Novice. When a little wrinkled squawking thing appeared in
February, the clock started ticking…

In May last year, my nine year old ISH mare tore her DDFT. We’d been floating
around the BE 100/ Novice mark (not, admittedly, with any great success) and when the vet told me that she would not event again, I was devastated, but made arrangements for her to go to stud with her breeder in Ireland. A few days later, whilst I was indulging in a “relaxing girls’ day out” at a spa with my mother in law and sister in law, a lorry arrived in the capital to take her away. Distraught, I sobbed directions to the yard down the phone to a lost Irishman, who was nervously negotiating the housing estates of deepest Hackney in a horsebox. In a bid to hide my distress from the in-laws, I crept into a silent treatment room at the spa, hoping that my broken whimpers of “turn left at the second set of lights after the roundabout” could not be heard above the zen-like meditation music and the tinkling of relaxa-water features.

About a week after I became unexpectedly horseless, I also became pregnant. The only appropriate course of action under the circumstances was, I concluded, to buy another horse.

I found Vitos Fleur Z with Cornish showjumper Sammie Jo Coffin. He was small, black, very cute and knew how to jump (showjumps, at least). We spent the end of last season slinking about together, contesting BE 90 classes on the sly and staying under the radar of worried friends/family/unrelated bystanders, who were concerned that baby and I would come a cropper whilst I was hurtling about over fixed fences.
Then the barrage started. “You do realise that you won’t be able to keep the horse, don’t you?” “You won’t have time for the horse once the baby arrives.”
“It’s impossible to have a baby and a horse, you may think you’ll cope, but there’s no way it can be done.” My husband defended me, indignantly. I smiled, nodded and planned my 2013 event season.

I’ve fed the baby whilst course walking, during prize-giving, in SJ warm ups and XC collecting rings. My husband has changed nappies in lorry parks and adjusted my practice fences whilst wearing her. So, what news of the mission? Novice? Yes, three to date. Established? Well, that has to be a matter of interpretation…

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