I am going so brooooown!
And only most of it is dirt! Ha. Yeah, I can’t actually tell what colour my skin is until I’ve showered in the evening. Because I totally get disgustingly covered in dirt and dust and hay and straw every day. It’s been so warm the past week or so, I think I’ve lost weight just from sweating! Gross right? Yeah. Oh right, yeah, the new job. I’m doing that, obviously!
It’s going well so far. I’ve been here for ten days now and I’m muddling on through. I’m feeling settled now though, and building in confidence with the routine and horse names etc. There are rather a lot of horses though, so you’ll forgive me for not being able to list them all in age order just yet. I’ve got a lot of them down though, which is pretty good going given that a lot of them look pretty much the same. Lots of greys. And blacks. And then a few in between!
But they’re mostly all lovely. I’ve been riding lots of different ones, learning from each of them and enjoying having such a range of horses to play with, from the beautiful Friesian stallion, Prince (he’s a total babe), to a lovely bay, Fandango, to high stepping Spanish grey’s like Tarzan and Tempi. We are expected to ride in sitting trot almost all the time. I am having to lengthen my legs and ride with much longer stirrups than I’ve been used to, deepening my seat and sitting as tall as tall can be! Gerard, the owner of the place and most of the horses, has also given me a few lessons. He has a particular style when it comes to riding so I am doing my best to ride in the correct way to match how these horses have been trained and how they are used in films and shows. Some of them, for example, need to be kept quiet and a little lazier as they are used as actor’s horses which means they can’t be anything other than steady and reliable. Then there are the trick riding horses and the Spanish ones all of which are a little sharper and more capable. We do lots of walk to canter transitions, which I have always enjoyed as it’s so smooth. And they’re all capable of giving a lovely uphill feel in the canter, some of them even cantering at a walk pace! Amazing.
My legs of course, are dead as I’m pushing and squeezing and stretching several times a day, every day. I’m riding at least three times a day in general, often times four. Occasionally we are able to have a chill out and go for a nice quiet hack, but usually we’re schooling in the large sandy arena. Of course, not all of the horses here get worked every day because even with four or five of us riding, we’re never going to get through that many horses in a day. The stabled ones are our priority, along with any that are building up for a show or are supposed to be improving in various ways.
The stallions are all sweet natured on the whole. A little bitey and sometimes they get a touch on the hormonal side, shouting and arching their necks and such, but they are mostly just quiet and easy to handle. Mucking out, there’s no need to move them out of the stables etc, we just go on in and muck out around them. They, along with most of the others, know to move over when they’re told “side” so that makes life nice and easy.
It’s not so much the stallions that are a problem to be honest. Gerard is something of a flirt, coming out to the yard while we’re mucking out and getting hugs and kisses from all the girls. The trick riders are all rather cocky too, hitting on every girl they see regardless of whether its the same one they saw five minutes ago. They’re a harmless enough bunch though, and I’m hardly the simpering twiddling my hair type of girl.
All in all, it’s going pretty well. I am happy, the horses are beautiful and I don’t feel like I’m dying yet. I have blisters and my hands are possibly falling apart completely. I also have some sunburn…but that’s gradually going away so I should be okay soon on that score. There is also a plentiful supply of tea, so I am kept well fuelled. Happy days.
I hope, my dear reader, that you are well and that the world is treating you properly. I apologise, yet again, for my lapse in communication. It’s not that there isn’t sufficient internet here, there is. It just means bringing my laptop down to the kitchen where I can click into the wifi so I can tell you things that will make no difference to your life whatsoever.