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What the Xxxx have I done

Updated: Oct 18

Well of all the things I have done this has to take the biscuit and I have decided along with my sober journey which may rapidly become a drinking wine journey, I am now having a mid life crisis. I have bought a horse. What possessed me? I don't know. I think I am having a mid life crisis. The thing is its not just a horse or your standard pony who eats apples out of your hand kind of horse, this is a 4 year old thoroughbred who was bred for racing. In my defense as I would never normally have bought a racehorse, she was sold to me as a 5 year old that acts like a 10 year old that is good to shoe, box, hack out alone or in company, never spooks and I did learn to ride on a 17/2 hand thoroughbred horse called Minnie, so, I wasn't completely in the dark......


She turned up last Friday. Now, owning horses is not completely new to me, I am not that mad, I used to have 3 or rather my ex husband at the time had 3. In a previous life I had a house with stables and a menage. I rode all the time . Okay we are talking 15 years ago and a nasty marriage break up and lots of bad memories that I have kept hidden even from myself, later. But I do have some idea. I have a very good idea of what it feels like to be sat on a horse that is going flat out in the wrong direction on top of a mountain mind...... however I am not a complete novice.


Anyway I am going to start from the beginning. Well almost the beginning. The last week.

Firstly. I have to add I am just shy of 5 months with no wine..... 4 months 28 days and 21 hours to be quite precise about it. However that has almost changed about a hundred times in the last week. Firstly with "what the fuck have I done". I don't have time to walk the dogs and work and look after the kids let alone look after a bloody horse.... but yes now I have to make time! Not only that, I feel like the new girl at the yard.... well actually I am the "new girl at the yard". and for those of you that are not familiar with the horsey world, this is not the best place to be...... .Now, for yards, it is a nice yard... well actually a farm and the people there for the most part are absolutely lovely...... helpful but lets be frank about this I only have a small idea of what I am doing.


Why did I get a horse you ask? Well its not a question I haven't asked myself about a thousand times over and I still don't know the answer. back last summer while out with my caravan and my kids and some very good friends in Usk, I booked a riding lesson. I don't know why I don't really know what possessed me to do it. I haven't sat on a horse for over 15 years. But I booked this lesson and it was amazing. I loved every second of it and since then I have had a few lessons. I have even got my girls into it. They have been having lessons and things have all been very rosy. My 5 (soon to be 6 year old) is learning and coming on really well as is my 12 year old. ..... Next my best mate, bought a horse and we both kinda had this notion of having horses and hacking out together along with our kids and have a wonderful time........... She got her horse but I was still a bit reluctant. However before I new it. Carly arrived. Now Carly was not a cheap buy. Carly was expensive, and big, have I emphases how big she actually is, oh she is big. Have I also mentioned how nervous I am of horses. I like sitting on them rather than standing next to them. so to me, she is big. Now, I wouldn't say we have had the most successful of weeks. Its been emotional firstly. she is big. Secondly she is green and by green I mean. she isn't the color green but she is young. Thirdly the tac that came with her, none of it fit. Now. I was a bit a princess in my previous life. ie my 17.2 thoroughbred (absolutely huge) or should I say my husband's thoroughbred was all looked after by him. Me? I just rode her, I didn't have to put her tac together, I didn't have to do anything. He bought everything he fed her and I just rode, so to say I have learned a lot this week has been an understatement. Feeding, messing about with bridles, girths and bits, brushing her, picking out her feet (which took me three days to get up the courage, I kid you not. Anyway I digress...


Day 1


Carly arrives..... 4 hours later than planned and in a rapidly driven horse lorry. She dismounted, I paid the incredible sum of 225 to have her transported to me from Surrey, and we met each other for the first time.......... She looked stunning. I was in shock but we had a little walk around the field and then she was placed in her stable overnight. My first thought? she was a bit thin. Oh and did I say, she was big ! Anyway I went home and panicked about what I had done for the next 12 hours.


Day 2


Had to work, which was a pain but hey ho something has to pay for all my fur babies, and, come to think of it my actual human babies, so off to work I went after I raced up to the stables in the morning to feed her and put her in the field. she had a bit of a manky eye as the flies had attacked it, so bathed that and she also had a cut on her leg from her journey down so bathed that and one of the ladies at the yard who works at a vets advised me to put some cold water on it to bring down the swelling . I then went to home to work.


Later on that day, I went back up to the stables, now bear in mind this is a 10 minute drive and took her for a walk. It was amazing she was as good as gold. We walked out of the farm and up the road and back again and I was one happy girl. Standard photos went onto Facebook me grinning like an idiot on top of my magnificent creature. My best mate was there every step of the way showing me how she used to muck out her stable etc life was good. I went home a happy bunny, or rather a happy human. ... Successful. day



Day 3


Now today., not too bad . Started off very well, off I toddled at around 9.00 am up to the farm for a horsey day. Was planning on having the day up at the farm... playing house in the tac room, making it look all pretty and also riding my horse. And this we did, we popped to the farm shop to pick up a new girth as my horse was so skinny and we went to visit another tiny pony which I am having on loan for Ailysha. So things were going well. Carly was tacked up, not quite by myself and off I trundled up the path feeling a little bit smug. However this was short lived..... Carly had other ideas. All of the sudden in Carly's little world everything was scary. Ears went back, head went up and Carly stood still..... now it took me awhile for me to compute what was happening. and so with a gentle kick and an encouraging word I encouraged Carly to walk on. This she did for about two steps before stopping still again and raising her head. Again I repeated the procedure I had used earlier and we commenced going forward again. Next I turned her left and we walked into the field. This was exactly the same field she had walked around yesterday and so I was a bit surprised when Carly stood still again. I kicked, I encouraged and Carly walked backwards. Now I don't like going backwards so again I turned her in a tight circle and we commenced forward again .. well for about a stride. Again Carly walked backwards, I encouraged her around and we proceeded forward. It was like a bizarre little ritual and in the end off I plodded on Carly back to my trusty friend who walked down to the field with me. Carly was put on a lunge rope and I proceeded to walk around in circles in the big scary field. After about 10 minutes of doing this, I had a little trot around and feeling very smug with myself we proceeded home.


Day 4. - Well, today was not so good. After yesterday's shenanigans I was a little more nervous and so my trusty friend and I set off up the path with me sat on Carly. Carly immediately stopped and I kicked her on and she immediately walked backwards. This resulted in my using my crop, relaxing my reins and Carly eventually went forwards. Now she needs her shoes done quite badly so we slipped our way into the field and proceeded down to the bottom. Carly walking purposely, me sat on top and my friend walking behind. All was good in Dawn's little world until about 10 seconds later Carly started dancing around and throwing her head around. Now, picture the scene, one thoroughbred doing a very good interpretation of a ballerina about to have a paddy, one very calm friend stood in the middle talking and one frightened rider (who was doing her best not to shit her pants and remain calm at all times. Talking to Carly and encouraging her around in a circle (which turned out to be my mistake as I managed to encourage her around to her left where the big black horse eating tent was at in the bush waiting to jump out at Carly and eat her, and me alive! Well, Carly was not having any of that and took off at a dance, although to me it felt like rocket speed, up the field with a terrified me doing everything I shouldn't do when a horse is scared, firstly my feet miraculously came out of their strips and immediately wrapped around her body. Next my hands came up and back (probably the worst thing you can do on a runaway horse and finally my language, probably not pretty came flowing out of my mouth at a rapid rate of knots probably in competition with Carly's speed. However, and this is a big however..... I managed to turn her to the right and she stopped. Still , Just stopped , I sat still and the world froze for about a second until she started dancing around and head flying. Thank god alive my friend grabbed her reins and calmed her and me down while mildly commenting that I had gone very pale. We walked back to the yard .. Time on horse less than 15 minutes. Time relieved from my life span.... 15 years. (Thats me, not the horse).


This, gave me the willies, I am not going to lie and proceeded in my coming home thinking what the hell have I done, I can't handle this horse, I can't handle life, she needs to go back. I then spent the next day messaging all my horsey friends and asking for advice including the woman that I bought Carly from who, had offered me a 7 day money back guarantee. Meanwhile, I came down with the cold from hell. Cough, full on Covid like symptoms that I had had since Monday re appeared with a vengeance leaving me cold, tired, very tearful and scared. Now this is the point where my friends came in. All of them... They know who they are and so I won't mention names but all of them spoke to me, offered me advice, calmed me down and between us all we eventually reached a conclusion and a decision. Carly is young. She is 4 years old, she isn't even 5 till April. Now this can be viewed as a good thing or a bad thing, but to me, she is blank canvass. And so we will learn together. I have given myself till Christmas to build a bond with my horse and some confidence. Get to know her, walk her around, feed her treats, get her to trust me, desensitize her from horse eating objects, read, study, learn, and above all enjoy. How lucky am I to have my own horse? What an amazing opportunity...... and so our journey begins ......



Day 6 - Now this was not a good day. I woke up with the mother of all colds and a panic stricken head on. What the hell am I doing with a bloody horse, I can't even get out of bed. Had to take the day off work as was so poorly and that never happens and I ended up thinking there is no way I can keep this horse, no way in this world and she needs to go back. This proceeded with my frantic messaging the lady I got her off telling her she needs to take her back, I had made a mistake, she is too spooky, too young, too green and frankly just too much. Again, my friends came to my rescue calming me down and offering solutions and talking to me. Now, anyone that knows me knows I do not cope with being ill. I am like a man when I am ill I am tearful and quite frankly a bit pathetic and I always want my mum, which, is never a good a idea. However, to cut a long story short, by the end of the day I was keeping her again. I was going to make it work, I was being unfair to send her back I wasn't giving her a chance, she hadn't settled... and after all she is just a big dog really isn't she? So armed with a plan I trundled up to the farm to take my "big dog" for a walk. I tacked her up.... this in itself is a big thing for me.... as I have said I feel like the new kid on the block, and quite frankly there is someone at the farm that is "the old kid on the block and boy are they making their feelings known..... however that aside off we went for a little stroll up the road. Her with her head down plodding along side me who was walking merrily along (well as merrily as you can with a disgusting cold). and here is our conversation


Me ;;;; hi. now we have not got off to the good start have we?

Carly - moves her head to look at me

Me. - not gonna lie... you were going back today. You are big ... you are brown and frankly you scare the hell out of me. I can't be doing with that shenanigans you threw at me yesterday right?

Carly. - moves her ear in my direction... snorts a bit and carries on plodding .

Me. - So this is how it is going to be. ..... I am mum and you are child. I am in charge. You are here and frankly we are stuck together until at least after Christmas. You need to behave and I need to loosen up.

Carly - completely looks like she is ignoring my little speech and is looking at a bird that has landed in the hedge a bit further up. Stops, stands, and then decides it is safe and moves off after some gentle encouragement from me.

Me. - Its a bird ffs. you are ten times bigger than it .... get a grip..

Carly - ha. you are scared of spiders and run off shrieking and you are ten times bigger than them.

Me. - fair point. but move on


and so we commenced. The walk was so successful that I even ventured into the field with Carly on a lead rope... towards the man eating big black tent. Now. perhaps that was pushing it a bit much as Carly seeing the man eating big black tents shot backwards and danced a little before reluctantly walking past it at a very safe distance. Me. I had to go back and retrieve my stomach and my heart but we walked past the man eating tent and then called it a day.


Day 7 - We went for our first hack. I was invited by one of the ladies at the yard and I put on my big brave girl pants and decided to go for it. This after having the saddle man come out and fit a nice new saddle to my expensive looking horse and off I went. To say I was nervous is an understatement but do you know what, it went really really well. Carly was as good as gold. she didn't put a foot wrong and I am frankly over the moon. Maybe just maybe this may well work out.


Day 8.


Well. today was amazing. Suzanne and I went for a hack all on our own and I didn't die! Nothing happened. She spooked a couple of times and I survived. In fact, I made her walk on. She was calm and chilled and I was relatively loving life. Yes, I kept thinking about what could go wrong but there were honest to goodness good moments. I actually had to pinch my leg and think. yes, I am doing this! I am walking, or rather riding my horse out and about with my best mate on a gorgeous sunny Saturday morning. And I didn't die! In fact, by the time I got back to the farm I actually loved her a bit. The afternoon was spent walking her in the field next to the big black horse eating tent and she didn't flinch. Gone was the big brown jumping machine. She walked happily trying to eat the grass and not at all bothered. A different horse ! She was amazing and she is mine!


And finally. to top off the first week with my horse on Day 9 ----- I had a lesson on her in the field with the big black horse eating, rider terrifying, black tent and, wait for it, my horse, my Carly was such a good girl. I had a lesson from a very good instructor who is also a friend and who is also the wife of my ex husband. Funny though we stuck him on Carly first as he is a very competent rider to put her through her paces and what a good lesson I had. Yes my canter wasn't amazing but again I think it was nerves, and obviously practice but I actually managed to have a lesson in the field on my horse who made absolutely no attempt at all to run for the hills away from the tent, in fact she wasn't bothered by it at all. Tonight, I am one happy lady , with one happy horse and it has now been 5 months, 1 day, 10 hours and 23 minutes at the time of writing this since my last glass of wine. Oh, and did I say??? I GOT A HORSE!!!!




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