You know the old saying…’fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? Well I have definitely found that this applies to horse husbanding! Although I managed to survive for a long time with the very basics, there are a few additional things that I have found made my life significantly easier!
First up…boots, steal toe capped boots! Trainers are great, I have a nice little collection of them myself, but horses are sneaky. The second they don’t have your full attention they will want to play footsy with you! No matter how fleet footed you are, they’re patient creatures, waiting for a momentary lapse in concentration to make your flip flops redundant! Plus, from personal experience, you don’t want your feet getting wet…especially when you don’t really know what was in the puddle!
In summer a pleasant little trip out to the yard is great (well…not little, half a day a least). Winter, however, is never far away…especially up in the North of England! There have been so many days, and nights, spent trudging through a swampy field in what can only be described as a monsoon, to retrieve a horse…that no matter how hard you try will not move from the branch it is sheltering under! For this reason, the next essential is as good waterproof. I personally find my snowboarding jacket sufficient although I get some funny looks when I go snowboarding and there’s a cloud of hay flowing behind me!
The next must have item…a Horse Husband t-shirt! I have lost count of the number of good t-shirts I’ve managed to ruin by going to the yard. I start off with an old jacket on, after mucking out the first, the jacket comes off to reveal a nice, new, white t-shirt. Yes, I get suitably told off every time! By the time I get back, smelling of the yard and covered in who only knows what, the shirt is no longer available to go out in public in.
One of the never-ending jobs at the yard is the constant mucking out. I mean….seriously, how much can one animal produce?! Good job they don’t eat curry! This means you need a seriously good fork to get the job done. Unfortunately my friends thought it would be funny to get me a nice pink one to use! Thanks Neil!
Despite the number of trips you make to the muck heap, the hundreds of water buckets that need filling and mountain of nets that are to be filled…you will be waiting around…for longer than one phone battery life! Between Facebook, photos and games mine does not last long. This is only a normal trip to the yard! On a show day I tend to run out of battery before the sun is even up! As avoiding the show isn’t an option I got myself a portable phone charger. It has without a doubt saved my sanity and probably even my relationship at times! God forbid Sam’s phone died as well…you don’t want a tired, grumpy equestrian without Facebook to distract them!
If you are reading this blog you probably know that they take up a lot of your time…haha only joking, they take up ALL of your time! Unless you like following your partner around tack shops nodding and adding the odd “ye that’s nice” or “how much?!”, you’ll need a hobby. I have taken up photography, I find it a good way to get involved with the horses….thankfully at a distance with a zoom lens!
The last, and arguably the most important thing any horse husband, foal fiancé and pony partner needs…is patience, lots of patience! I don’t think my family would ever have described me as patient…especially when I’m hungry, or even slightly peckish really! Since being with Sam, I have definitely learnt to have more…whether I’m waiting for her to come back from the yard, adding more items to tack mountain or “just looking” at horses for sale I’m always finding my new found patience being tested!
Originally posted to The Horse Husband