We’ve reached the month point since I’ve been back in the saddle with a new horse of my own, Tiny, and it’s starting to feel like second nature with the daily and weekly routines.  One thing I think most of us probably can appreciate is that life is frequently about compromises and making the best of things you have.  Having Tiny in my life has highlighted this again, so learning how to adapt my life to fit him in and still keep everything else going has been important.


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Being self employed brings with its own Pro’s and Con’s.  Yes, in theory it means I can pick the times of days I do certain things, so for example I’m lucky that if I choose to not ride until 9am then that’s my choice. Or if the Farrier can only come at 11am then that’s probably workable too.  I don’t have to ask the boss for time off.  What I can’t do though is just faff about playing ponies thinking what a joy it is to be doing so on my terms.  If I did that I’d simply run out of clients, my business would falter and before I knew it I’d be waving off Tiny to a new home and finding other ways to keep a roof over my own head!

So I’ve had to adapt.  I now wake, head into the office in the house for an hour or so, then head to the farm, ride etc and return by about 10 at the very latest.  Afternoon stables doesn’t mean the end of the working day for me either. I do those, then regularly work into the evenings and at least on 2 nights a week I’m in there until bedtime.  Cooking and housework get sorted, the dogs routine has changed a bit too but he still get’s walked but it’s later in the day.  If I want to hunt on a Tuesday then I will, but that working time needs to be made up somewhere else in the week which means Sunday afternoons & evenings are normally in the office too.  I’ve always worked odd & long hours as most self employed do, but having a horse back in my life has meant reworking some of the processes.  Or dropping those that I did because I felt I should, rather than because I truly needed to or would really benefit from them.

Dusting the house, yeah, that’s an example…

I want my business to continue to grow and succeed but I’m also adamant that personal life needs are really important.  Striking that balance, without beating myself up mentally about over doing either, to keep both going is the key.  It’s also key to happiness.

It also helps hugely if you have people on your side to keep things moving too.  Family & friends and naturally your partner too if you can.   Tony and I are both self employed and so it does mean we can regularly enjoy our horses together at the same time.  However it also means that one of us can step in and sort both horses if needed and give each other more time to work if that’s the case.  So where possible we also try to balance things between us too, or working to each other’s strengths.

Example, I can’t plait for toffee.

Seriously I can’t.

A childhood with native ponies meant plaiting wasn’t needed. I didn’t really do Pony Club (bar actually being in one and on a SJ team) either so things weren’t taught just as a matter of course during rallies etc.  I’ve never been a girlie girl either with my ponies, well, you wouldn’t see me just go play at plaiting as I grew up.  I can’t plait my own hair either… My hair is either up or down or too short to care either way!  When I did have posh ponies that needed plaiting then that was covered by the fact those horses were being professionally produced for showing.  Once again I skipped plaiting classes!! Phew.  Let me also say that with my stumpy little hands doing anything fiddly normally turns out like a drunken half blind person has been attempting it all.

I’m also clumsy.  I’d probably snip off a finger or stab myself with a needle a billion times too.

Tony though is a demon plaiter.


He plaits a neck beautifully, sewing them in and all in less time than it takes me to muck a stable out.  So there’s one compromise.  I muck out, he plaits on hunting mornings.   There’s now a mental list I guess that we both sort of get on with when it comes to getting ourselves and the horses sorted for hunting twice a week.  I used to drive a lorry with my own horses rather than tow a trailer.  Grandad rights thankfully mean I’ve not had to go through a trailer test and I’ve been thrown in the deep end with that a couple of times moving empty or loaded trailers.  So now more than happy to load them both up and drive them wherever I need to.   Hopefully it all means the balance is about right between us and we are working to each other strengths or we can pick up something up and finish it off we need too.

Bar the flipping plaiting.  Obviously.

I can clip, I can definitely clip as I used to do it as a side line when I was in my twenty’s each winter.  I also now clip the Spaniel.   Quicker, cheaper and easier than bringing back a dog with a set ‘do’ I don’t like and smelly like a fancy bottle of talc.   However, I got Tony to clip Tiny first time this winter as I’m a bit rusty.  Tiny was an angel though and stood without a head collar whilst the rain hammered on the stable roof and the farmyard was a hive of activity with tractors and trailers moving under our noses.  Obviously having a bit of an OCD meant I did just ‘touch up’ some of the bits I felt needed some extra attention 😉


What isn’t a strength of mine is how I handle my disappointment when my Little Orange One decides to lose a shoe.

He’s done this a few times now.  Once about an hour into our first day’s hunting. Once (thankfully) hacking back to the trailer.  Both fine.  But then the biggest wahhhhhhhhhhhhh moment came when he did it on the way to the meet.  Our first Saturday in full season.  Boooooooo!  I was grumpy.  Proper grumpy.  For about 15mins I was a kid with a massive lower lip.  All dressed up and nowhere to go.  He get’s a bit foot sore too, so it’s not like I could just bound on with him anyway.  Thankfully I was only a couple of fields away from the trailer and I had some lovely people on hand offering help.  So I was soon in a car following my buddies whilst Tiny was tucked up in a safe, warm stable munching hay.  I still had a brilliant day, it was just from a different perspective.

I have a feeling I’m going to have to learn to be quicker with the whole wahhhhhhhh to never mind mental process when it does happen.

So I suppose you could say I’m learning with Tiny to be more aware of things I’ve not had to consider before.  No longer am I thinking of how an ex-racer can enjoy life as a simple hack and hunter, but I’m also having to consider how their feet cope with life and what options I have to help improve or limit the issues too.

Every day is a school day…


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With love from me and The Orange One, see you next time!

Rachel xx