One Last Hug

Poor old Foxy.

Today was weird. In that it seemed so normal, but I knew it wasn’t. I was very thankful to have Cha on the yard with me to help me get things done as it ended up being one of those non-stop days and I don’t think I could’ve managed it all on my own. She was a star, and between us we successfully kept everything ticking forward.

It was, however, my last day on the yard. Which felt strange for me. It wasn’t until I started turning horses out and saying “goodbye” instead of “goodnight” that I realised, I’m not going to see them again for a long time. And, of course, you’ve guessed it. My parting with Fox was harder than I expected.

He’s just a horse. I keep telling myself that because if I don’t, I feel unbearably sad. I took him and Jack to the field this afternoon and while Jack trundled off quite happily, Foxy continued standing with me when I took his head collar off. So I scratched his neck for a bit and then realised I was feeling slightly emotional, so I reached up and wrapped my arms around the base of his neck, hugging him tight. And bless his dear quirky heart, instead of freaking out and pulling back like he usually does at any display of affection, he leaned into my and dropped his head down my back, like he was returning the hug. After a while, he brought his head back so that he could tuck it down in front of me, forcing me to bring my arms down and just cradle his head instead. It was such a sweet moment, and he was such a darling. He had slightly soggy neck by the end of it. But then he snotted on my boob, so I think we’re even.

I also got to have a last ride on Blossom today. Who was absolutely ace! Not a bounce or buck or bronc in sight. Not even a hint of one. I was so incredibly proud of her. I sat there beaming away through the canters, which were lovely, as Cha whooped and cheered from across the school at the fact that we remained in company with the floor through the transitions. I was so pleased. And then we worked over some trotting poles which she was super cute about, lifting her little feet crazy high in case the poles bit her. She seriously reached for them, using her joints beautifully to get some lift. It was a very definite “rise, sit, rise, sit” for me, because of the height she was lifting to, but I could also feel her back coming up with each step and she was so lovely and light over them. Fantastic pony. We also had a pop at another cross pole and this time we had more of a cat leap than a jump, but she put herself into it. Angie congratulated me on sitting it well, because she really did launch herself over, but I was pleased with her for trying. Awesome pony. I’m going to miss working with her.

In fact, I’m going to miss those horses a lot. It was strange, but they all seemed to be particularly affectionate and sweet to me today. Cha kept commenting on how they seemed to really like me, and I don’t know whether they were able to pick up on how I was feeling or something, but they were certainly being very lovely towards me. I got mutually groomed by six different horses! That usually only happens occasionally so six in one day was really something. Africa, Blossom, Cocoa, Lucy, Victor and Fox all decided I was allowed to be in their gangs. Bless. It’s a nice feeling though, even if I was mildly concerned about the soft grazing of teeth against my skin.

I said my goodbyes to Eileen, and Linda. And then to Cha and Angie later on. I’ve had such an amazing time at Holme Lacy and everyone I’ve worked with has given me something new, something different. Every single day has been a learning curve, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have got to where I am today without those amazing people. I’ve had a seriously good run of luck there, meeting all the wonderful bunch at Holme Lacy and I can only hope to do them proud in the future by taking what I’ve learned and furthering myself with it.

I feel a mix of happy and sad. Bittersweet shall we say? Because a part of me doesn’t want to leave. Two years down the line and I’m comfortable and happy there. But I know that kind of feeling can’t last forever, and it’s the right time for me to be moving on and progressing. So I’m happy to be leaving, because I know I’ve got a good skill set and some fantastic experiences from my time at college. I’ve had the best time, and while I still can’t quite believe it’s all real, I am more glad than I ever have been about anything that I made that bonkers decision to go and study horses.

Tomorrow I embark upon the next leg. I will be travelling to Fishguard where I will be chilling for however many hours until the ferry at stupid o’clock in the morning. And on Tuesday morning I will be travelling across Ireland once again, to Eclipse. Where I will get to see some beautiful faces, old and new, and spend a glorious four weeks working with their horses and basking in that beautiful landscape once more. The journey is going to be hell, but it’ll also be 100% worth it.

Of course, I have to finish packing before I can do any of that!

Oops.

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