To write an article for you during this LOCK DOWN period was very thought provoking.

What could I write that would open up the channels for discussion with all members of our household ?

So I am going to start with the poem by Ronald Duncan that we can all relate to

Ode to the Horse
Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy
or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is laced with muscle,
and strength by gentleness confined.
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent, there is nothing so quick,
nothing more patient.
England’s past has been borne on his back.
All our history is his industry; we are his heirs; he our inheritance.

This was written at the behest of Duncan’s friend Colonel Sir Mike Ansell who was the director of Horse of the Year Show at the time and is still used to close the show each year.

It was intended to celebrate horses and their role in England’s culture and history and it does , along with inspiring various people about the bond formed between man and horse in the observations expressed within the poem.

Now read it again

Does it not also describe our front line workers in the situation we now find ourselves in which will also go down in history one day?

I talked to several friends for inspiration and one of the sentences that came up that was mentioned by a Doctor was

“People are worried about becoming nocturnal”
( Watching box sets all night and sleeping in until 2-3 pm, then repeating the process)

My answer to this was that cannot happen to us.

We are so very fortunate to have these beautiful animals in fact all animals in our lives THEY WILL KEEP US SANE.

Everything else in our lives might be completely abnormal at the moment but the routine of caring for the horse, our animals, must remain normal. All animals need feeding , looking after and exercising. They are unaware of our change in circumstances so their dependency has not altered.

We are so fortunate to spend quality time with our animals they are not at all familiar with the social distancing rules.

Never is this more obvious than when we are privileged to witness every evening on the banks opposite our cottage

” THE LAMB KINDERGARTEN ”
It opens at around 4.30pm and we watch a warm up of Tag ,then we move on to the main event “Sheep Eventing” via some poor Ewe who just wants an hour to herself.
“Flatwork” consists of bounding around Trotting and Cantering both collected, working and extended are covered extensively I have noticed however a reluctance to work on the Walk by most lambs, sadly all to often overlooked. The Halts and Transitions although sometimes a little abrupt are clear and focused.
The Cross Country and Show Jumping Phases are covered by any Ewe that is lying down wanting a little” Her Time” being used as a spring board ” into infinity and beyond ” along with little banks and any grassy tump that is newly discovered . All this works on developing balance, rhythm, focus and timing . Sprint Relays then follow improving Cardio Vascular and then finally the highly competitive but quite obviously “no rules” (due to the foul play all too often committed) Chase me Charlie ends the evenings activities.
Then they collapse and chill, fully outstretched and totally oblivious to the sheer pleasure that 1 hr of gaming has given to us.

The same can be said for our 2 gorgeous Corgi’s Beanie and Nellie. They love the fact that mum and dad are now home and walks are not so hurried. They try so hard to chase the annoying squirrels in the wood who have the distinct advantage of tree climbing skills always to no avail , swim in the little river and play endlessly with each other in the glorious sunshine amongst the wild garlic and wood anemones.

The local Farmer still gets up at 5am to go to the dairy for the first milking session of the day and our wicked chickens still let us know that the door on their house is set to late and they really really want to get out to catch the early worms!!!

Our training partner may be doing a little less but we still get to see them or be in contact with them daily and our plans may be on hold but the development pathway is still on going .
Our horses and their connection with us allow us this escapism that other sports people do not have. Their Gyms have been closed , their training partner , team mates are in social isolation, their routine has been totally annihilated. Suddenly their plans are nowhere and their focus is lost .

One young lady told me that for her the fact that the exams had been cancelled was a blessing. She had found that her memory and concentration had been affected due to the stress and uncertainty around everything . Not being able to exercise her horse regularly has hampered this even more and she was missing the quality time riding that she had become familiar with.

TALK TO EACH OTHER

LISTEN to how this is affecting each of you individually , IT IS SO IMPORTANT. All your thoughts and concerns matter hugely.

Having this half of the season taken away from us is almost like having just succumb to an injury in whatever sport you are in.
” Focus on New Goals “so that when you do come back , you are stronger and fitter than ever before KEEP LOOKING FORWARD ” some good always comes out of some bad ”

Stay safe and speak again soon Ros

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