Welcome to the last in the series of our Equestrian Lives in Lockdown. Today we hear from Raquel Lynn based in California. Raquel is an equestrian blogger and has 2 popular blogs Horses and Heels and Stable Style.
Social media is a funny thing. It inspires us. It discourages us. It offers us a selective view into the lives of friends, family and total strangers. COVID has brought up a variety of emotions from my experiences in Southern California. My husband was away working in London right before the panic and lockdowns started. I remember being nervous about his safe return and coming home. He made it and we decided to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. A few days later, California announced our shelter in place order.
I felt thankful because everything I needed was at home. My office, my horse, my adorable pup and husband of course. Lockdown life at home is comfortable. But the news stories and social media posts were sometimes hard to look at. I felt a sense of helplessness. I started ordering our groceries online and cooking all of our meals. I didn’t want to take a chance with anything. I ordered Fira a three month supply of hay (the most my barn could hold). Despite essential stores remaining open, I wanted to limit contact at our house.
One of the interesting things about lockdown was the equestrian aspect for me. Fira still needed to get out daily. I don’t have a pasture or large space for her to roam free. In the beginning, everything was the same. As the lockdown progressed, masks were required and the trails in the hills were closed. I still felt thankful because I could get Fira out in the public arenas and select bridle paths. I maintained my normal routine but I felt a major sense of guilt. I could see my horse every day, I could get her out. A lot of equestrians haven’t been allowed to ride and some have decided not to. I respect that.
I’ve always had confidence in my riding skills and navigating the city with a young horse. This was the first time falling off had suddenly been put front and center in my mind. I thought about it with each ride I took. What if I fall off? What if I go to the hospital? My confidence was in question based on the thoughts and opinions of other riders.
I have managed to ride with one of my friends during the lockdown. She keeps her horse at a nearby barn. We’d meet on the trail with our masks and ponies. It was so nice to have a friend to talk to, even from behind a mask. We would have muffled conversations and enjoy maintaining some sense of normalcy.
Fast forward to this week and the trails have started to open up again. Masks are required when we go out, but I’m feeling hopeful again. California’s hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed. In many ways it feels like things are looking up. There is a long road ahead of us, but I feel like I’m back. I’m confident and happy again. Lockdown emotions often come and go in waves, but I’ll be happy while it lasts.