So today I sit here typing this feeling very excited that I have my own horse! As of today I am a horse owner!! I have not owned my own horse since 2003 when my beloved Stanley passed away. But despite the madness of 2020 – hello French lockdown part 2. It seemed the right time to take the plunge.
I have been part loaning/sharing horses for the past 17 (gulp!) years now. I have had 3 in total Bert, Trigger and Mya. That is not including Smartie of course who is on a very informal full loan to me at the moment. Each of these horses were absolutely brilliant and each time I grow to love them like they are my own.
After Mya was injured after the last lockdown I was devastated. The lockdown had been hard in an apartment without a garden and we couldn’t see the horses for 8 weeks. Honestly it broke me a little. It made me realise that horses are not something that I can live without anymore. (There have been times in my life that were not very horsey believe it or not!). But since moving to France, starting my blog and part loaning Mya it reignited a passion in me that I can’t let go again. The flame dimmed at times before because life got in the way but the flame is stronger than its ever been now!
Smartie emerged out of the blue and has been a unexpected delight to have since May but it was always a temporary situation. She belongs back with her owner Fiona in her new home in the Dordogne and she will go there when lockdown allows. So that leaves a horsey shaped space in my life that needs filling.
I explained to my hubby James that I feel now is the time for me to buy my own. The time to restart jumping and competing like I have been wanting to for years now. We agreed if I started to work more then it could be a possibility. So after a year of 2x weekly French lessons and applying for a lot of jobs. I managed to get a job at an agency working with older people in their homes as a ‘life assistant’. I now have 2 contracts with them working with 2 older ladies and I am loving it! That along with my child minding contract with the little boy I collect from school every day has given me near full time work and I am delighted!
So, I tentatively started searching for a suitable steed online. Ideally I wanted one that had been there and done that so I could do a bit of eventing and hacking and perhaps even calm enough for my husband James to ride. He has become very fond of Smartie, who has taught him how to ride!! Never thought I would see that day to be honest!!
Very quickly I realised that my budget was not at all near what I needed to find my ‘ideal’ horse. However Mya’s owner Kate a good friend of mine mentioned that she thought a young horse that lives at our yard would be suitable. Her name was Gracie. A beautiful little thing that was only lightly backed but I had enjoyed chatting with over the fence during the time I have been down at the yard. Gracie??? Well she seems lovely but she seems very small and she is only 4 years old.
Although when I went to actually meet Gracie again in a different light I realised just how lovely she is and she is a lot bigger than I thought! I started bringing her in to groom accompanied by Kate or Gracie’s owner Laurie and despite being a baby who has really not done anything she has such a willing character that really wants to work and please. This was only reconfirmed when I saw Laurie ride her. Although she really didn’t know what to do, she listened to Laurie and tried her best. No craziness, no tantrums she just wanted to do what Laurie asked even when she wasn’t sure what that was. I had asked my friends Nic and Kate to come and give me their opinions and they were also quite taken with her. SOLD!
Although she was nothing like I had set out to get I weighed up the pro’s and con’s of buying her and there weren’t many cons. Yes we have a lot of training to do but what a journey it will be for both of us!
Over the past few weeks I have arranged for her to been seen by the dentist, the saddle fitter and she had her vetting yesterday. The vet said she was perfect and you know I am starting to think that too.
Stay tuned for our journey. We are still waiting to see if we can visit the horses in this lockdown so it may not start straight away. But at least something positive has come out of 2020!!