Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Emily from the U.K

Today’s Equestrian Lives in Lockdown comes from the U.K from Emily Bailey.

We’re all currently living through a pandemic, yet everyone is having a different experience and will have different stories to tell.  We will be telling our children, and their children, about these unprecedented times for years to come. This is my story…

 The UK is going into its 4th week of lockdown, we are allowed one hour of exercise per day as long as we are social distancing (2 metres apart).  We can still go to the local food stores but a lot of them are limiting the amount of people in the store at one time.  My husband and I live in Yorkshire, UK, my husband is a racehorse trainer and we live on the training yard.  We are very lucky in that our normal day-to-day lives have not been hugely affected, we live next to a moor so we have the peaceful fields to carry on walking our two dogs and feel the freedom which has been taken away from so many. I have a 7yo ex-racer who I am retraining and am fortunate enough to keep at home. 

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I usually work full-time at a desk job organising a horse trials event, but due to Covid19 we had to cancel the horse trials and I was therefore put on furlough leave 3 weeks ago.  My usual week would be going to work Monday – Friday and fitting in riding my horse when I had the time and energy – averaging 4 times a week. I began helping on the racing yard and now I ride out the racehorses which I’m thoroughly enjoying, so have actually learnt a new skill during lockdown! So now my day begins at 6:30am with riding out the race horses, mucking out and general yard duties – quite different to my usual desk job, but they say variety is the spice of life!

The biggest difference for me is the amount of extra time I have gained, I am still in the early stages of retraining my ex-racer and so all this spare time has meant we are way ahead in our training schedule and we’ve been able to make loads of progress in such a short space of time. I know a lot of people have taken the decision to not ride their horses during the lockdown, but I keep thinking that never again will I have all this spare time and energy to put into my horse, and so lets make the most of it. We have even had a few virtual lessons through FaceTime, which I imagine will carry on once the lockdown is lifted and may have opened up a whole new sphere for the equestrian teaching world.

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Racing in the UK has stopped and so my husband has also got a lot of extra time, although he is starting to lose the plot a bit – he’s bought 3 chickens to keep him occupied! We hope that racing venues will begin to reopen in May, but may stay behind closed doors. Training the race horses is proving difficult, some of them have been sent away on holiday for a month whilst others stay in training but with the uncertainty of when they will be able to run again.

I feel very fortunate that I and my horse have been able to benefit from being in lockdown.  A lot of my friends haven’t been able to ride their horses, or even see their horses due to livery yards closing down. I also appreciate that I will be in the minority who is experiencing this and don’t like to shout about it as I’ve seen my friends mental health deteriorate due to not seeing their horses on a daily basis, or having the fresh air and freedom that being at the stables can give.

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With that in mind, I wish everyone the very best and to take one day at a time. Below are my lockdown top tips

  1. Make a routine, even if it’s just for the morning.  Make your coffee, walk the dogs, do some emails, whatever it is you need to do, make it routinely. 
  2. I also recommend daily phone calls,  even with the same person.  You may think you are checking in on them but you are also doing yourself the world of good by talking to people and having a chat about anything and everything
  3. Be respectful when out in public, you may not be at high risk but the elderly gent behind you might be and will be very anxious around other people, keep your distance and think of other people’s situations.

Be sure to check out the other blogs in the series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Cristina in France

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Verena from the U.K

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Heather from New Jersey, USA.

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