,Recently, I was musing with a friend regarding horses, riding and all it entails and why we 'indulge'.....and, well, it got me thinking.
Having ridden from a very early age, for me not to have a horse, would be like not having a limb....I wouldn't 'feel' complete and all of my children have, at some point in their lives, either ridden or had their own ponies.
That was their choice...they weren't coerced or made to follow my passion, and I have never regretted it for one minute.
Yes it was time consuming and it was also at great expense given that at one point we had 4 horses in our family.
So, WHY pay so much money and spend so much time running around for them to take part in horsey activities?
Well I have a confession to make: I didn't pay for my children's horsey activities, or their PC membership, their ponies shoes or lessons.
What? Wait? Eh?.....you mean it was all free??....well no....
The way I see it, I didn't just pay, I also invested.....let me try and explain....
I invested in moments when my children became so tired they felt like quitting but didn't
I invested in the opportunities that my children had to make life-long friendships that still last today
I invested in amazing instructors who taught them that horses are not just about competition but about life.
I invested so that my children learnt to be disciplined and respectful to those around them human and equine
I invested so my children learnt to take care of their health as well as their ponies - if they were ill, who looked after their pony??
I invested so my children learned to work with others and to be a proud , supportive, kind and respectful team member.
Through my investment, my children learnt to deal with disappointment when they didn't get that score they hoped for. When they knocked a pole during a class at a height they had jumped a thousand times they got up, laughed it off but were determined to do THEIR BEST next time...
My investment paid for my children to learn to make and accomplish goals, to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a champion, and that success does not happen overnight.
I invested so that my children could be in the stable/field/fresh air instead of in front of a screen...
I paid so that my children learnt respect in all areas of their lives.
I could go on but, to be short, I didn't pay for horses; I INVESTED in the opportunities that horses provided for my children to develop attributes that have served them well throughout their life and gave them essential life skills to develop in to strong, independent people able to cope with all that life throws at them with a 'can do' attitude.
From what I have seen so far, I think it was a great investment.
My children recognise the reward of hard work, they know how to budget and maintain their finances. When at University none of them ever came to us for handouts, all of them doing full time courses whilst working to keep themselves.
From horses they are going through life with a determination to achieve their goal....and I wouldn't want it any other way.....why would I??
Ok, so, apparently as Chairman I have to write a bit every month...so I thought, for this first one, I would introduce myself.
Once upon a time, in a land far far away....ok well not that far...a black and white cob belonging to a rag and bone man breathed into the ear of a 3 year old little girl and thus started a passion for horses that has, so far, spanned 47 years and is showing no signs of waning.
Over the years I have worked all over the UK as a groom/yard manager after gaining my BHSAI in 1983. I have experienced the highs of HOYS, and the lows of not very nice dealers yards, I've been trampled, stood on, rolled on, bitten, bum rubbed....and loved every minute of it.....no seriously I have.
Horses are, however, an expensive commodity and the wages are poor. But I gained some amazing friends and memories to last a life time...it's my hope to share some of those memories here with you from time to time.
Eventually, I was forced in to going to the "dark side" and finding employment (that Stubben saddle won't fund itself you know) all the time juggling horses with work/home life.
It was my horse, Murphy, who brought me to Bickleigh. My middle daughter was off to university and Bickleigh needed horses for children to learn on. The rest as they say is history....
I feel incredibly proud and privileged to be Chairman of RNRMRS Bickleigh. I look forward and embrace the challenges of taking the yard, it's staff, junior saddle club and of course our amazing horses, forward and onto bigger and better things.
I do hope you will join us on our journey but for now take care and if you're on the yard do come and say hello!!
Until next time....to infinity and beyond! Cathie.