Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown. Raquel in California, USA.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

Follow Raquel at HorsesandHeels.com and Stablestyle.net  on instagram  @horsesandheels   and @stablestyle 

Also be sure to check out the other blogs in the series:

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Abriana From the U.S

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Cristina in France

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Andrea from Australia

Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Abriana From the U.S

As we are coming to the end of our ‘Equestrian Lives in Lockdown’ blog series we hear from Abriana Johnson from North Carolina, USA. Here’s what she had to say…

I walked into work one day in late March to hear that I was an essential employee. I was handed a letter and an ID card and told it was for “if we get to the point where police stop you while you are on your way to work”. As a black woman in America, this triggered me on several levels. I was considered an essential employee by working at a veterinary hospital, but as the Pet Resort manager, all of my business’s services were deemed non-essential. I am over 6 people who may or may not have jobs in a month. The anxiety surrounding THAT in particular made me jittery, distant and slightly nauseous.

After the quarantine routine set in, I became more comfortable. Working for a large company has its perks and we were able to minimize the effect on our employees by catching up on training and cleaning. There was still an issue though. I didn’t want to seem selfish or ungrateful but I was actually jealous of people who were at home. Social media showed all of the projects people were completing that they didn’t have the time to do pre-quarantine. Many of my horse friends who have horses at home were riding more, working with their horses more. I can’t deny, I felt envious… thankful to have a job, but longing for a break. 

I have so many passion projects that have not received the attention I would like. My podcast, Young Black Equestrians The Podcast, as well as a side business could benefit from some undivided attention, but instead I am going to work, interacting with the public, and hoping for the best. When I did start working with my horse a bit more, I took a fall that ended with me going to urgent care and being sent home on crutches (just a sprain thankfully). Completely random incident that was not my horse’s fault, but prevented me from riding for over 2 weeks. 

I have a mix of emotions about this entire COVID experience. As a student who has studied One Health, the interdisciplinary study and collaboration of human, animal and environmental medicine, I can only hope our post-COVID normal is one that acknowledges our relationship with the environment and pushes a more holistic view of the human, animal and environmental triad.

You can follow Abriana on instagram @itstheajway and Young Black Equestrians The Podcast @youngblackequestrianstp

Make sure you check out the other blogs in this series from all over the world!

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Andrea from Australia

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Cristina in France

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Helen in Dubai.

Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Andrea from Australia

Today we hear from my Equestrian Pulse co-host Andrea AKA The Sand Arena Ballerina in Australia.

You’re living in leggings, you’ve not worn makeup in weeks and you’re spending way too much time looking at your own face on zoom calls… Welcome to life in isolation!

All jokes aside I cannot express how fortunate I feel to have a stable job at this time. I work as a dietitian for the local mental health service, which means that I have been able to switch to working from home. The physical isolation of Australia from the rest of the world, meant that we were a few weeks behind the rest of the world in terms of Corona Virus hitting our shores. This left us equestrians in the extremely privileged position to be able to continue not only caring for our horses,as a matter of animal welfare, but also being able to ride.

Obviously competitions were off the cards, however I seized the opportunity to buckle down and focus on training. However, due to my asthma flaring up just before Queensland went into self-isolation, I initially made the decision not to have lessons. With recent relaxation in our rules, I was able to get back out for a lesson last week. 

Outside of the essentials, like work and horses, my partner Steve and I had to cancel our holiday to visit my parents. They are literally on the other side of Australia, a cool 4400km away so the trip had been in the works for some time.Aside from this there are changes that while not game changers, are strange and slightly annoying. For instance, trying to navigate the supermarkets, get all the things you need and stay 1.5m from other people.

All in all I can only feel exceptionally lucky, some might even say #blessed. My heart goes out to all those who have been affected, from the big things like having lost jobs to having lost loved ones and the smaller but invariably difficult things like being separated from their horses.

Andrea is an Australian adult amateur dressage rider who funds her equestrian obsession by working as a dietitian. She lives and breathes all things equestrian and blogs about it at thesandarenaballerina.com and is a co-host on The Equestrian Pulse podcast. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @the_sand_arena_ballerina

Be sure to check out the other blogs in the series

Lives in Lockdown Series

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.

Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Cristina in France

For today’s Equestrian Lives in Lockdown, we hear from my friend Cristina Bordes-Narravo who lives in Toulouse, France. Here is her experience of life in lockdown…

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There are loads of thoughts that come to my mind these days. Being in lockdown definitely gives you time to think over the way you live. It makes me consider going out of the city, living in the countryside, dreaming about having my horse(s) around. But on the other hand, I know that Charly is doing really well in the stables. All the staff of “Écurie de Bois Portier” are making the biggest effort to make the horses happier than ever.

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Charly enjoying his ‘holiday’

 

The last weekend before the Covid-19 confinement, I already knew what was going to come. I am a Spanish girl living in Toulouse, France and in Spain things were getting a bit ugly so the time where we could not ride nor visit our horses was coming over. I tried to spend as much time as possible with Charly, enjoying each moment together.

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If everything goes well in France, we will soon be able to visit and ride our “ponies”. To be honest, I’m a bit nervous. Charly is a lovely horse but is a bit stubborn and has a strong character – he is a Selle Français horse and lives up to the breed! He has been out of work for some weeks before the lockdown so let’s see how his return to the arena will go…

Carlitos (his nickname) had two lumps in his back and he couldn’t be ridden for a while, only some lunging  and groundwork exercises. We were about to start our training for our showjumping competitions but suddenly, everything stopped. During these weeks he has been in the field, unaware of this crisis, eating a lot of grass and happily running around. I am lucky to receive some photos and videos from my coach and I even made a FaceTime call with my horse!

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Charly and Baloo

 

In two weeks it will be time to come back to work. We shall do it little by little to avoid injuries. But now for me this is not the most important thing… what I really need is to connect with him, being close to each other as we have been doing for so long.

Be sure to check out the other blogs in this series.

 

Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Verena from the U.K

Today we have the first of our blogs from the U.K from Verena AKA The Girl About the Yard. Here’s her lockdown experience: 
 
 
Covid-19, the most mysterious time for all!
 
I am a freelance riding instructor by trade here by the North West of England, near the Lake District and love it! There is something very slow about the life up here, with the motivation and energy being determined by the weather, the hordes of tourists and the farming community! 
 
However, when we were instructed to be on lockdown in April, it was apparent or seeming to be apparent that life wouldn’t change – that we would remain being slow and enjoying that pace of life. Little did I know that the strain on Covid-19 would hit me more mentally than physically. 
 
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I am lucky enough to have my horses at home, I enjoy life alongside a donkey and an Irish Sport Horse – we usually spend our time nosily looking over peoples’ hedges and keeping tabs on what the neighbours are doing out on our hacks. This is no longer the case, and I didn’t realise how much I would miss it. The simple act of tacking up gives me pleasure beyond belief. I have stop riding regularly, so that I am not a toll on our National Health Service – there is a split between the UK riding population of people who have chosen to do this!
 
There is no way of pottering out and about to browse shops and keep an eye on what the market is doing and how the older generation are in the area, instead, you are to remain inside apart from your hours exercise. There is a massive pull on one’s mental state when you are unable to enjoy and be motivated by the surrounding areas and conversations that you hear. 
 
I keep my routine with my horses very sacred, I feed them every evening and give them a good groom and check their hooves – if you’d like to see two animals galloping in for supper, head to instagram.com/girlabouttheyard and I savour the moments. 
 
 
 
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I long to be back board, to be back looking over the ears and keeping my adrenaline pumping. Never again will I take the movement of the horse between my legs, and the squeak of the saddle for granted. 
 
There is something mysteriously wonderful about a chance to slow down and be reflective on what you value. 
 
Stay safe, stay healthy team! We will meet again! 
 
To follow Verena’s adventures follow her blog The Girl About The Yard and follow her on facebook and instagram @girlabouttheyard 
 
 
 
 
 
Be sure to check out the other blogs in the series.
 
 
 
 
Lives in Lockdown Series

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

Today we hear from my Equestrian Pulse co-host Heather Wallace AKA The Timid Rider, who is from New Jersey in the USA.

As a typical introvert I have dreamed of a time when I didn’t have to leave my house, that I could read books and snuggle up with my dogs to my heart’s content. The dream is always better than the reality. Like a popular meme says, “No, I don’t want to leave my house but I’d at least like the option.”

Truthfully, I am very lucky. My husband and children are all working hard from home. While I mostly stay in with them I work in the animal wellness industry and am still considered “essential” so I do venture out periodically into the fresh air and sunshine. Well, I provide bodywork so I guess it’s a bit of a gray area. I do work with a lot of senior animals and have regular clients but our appointments and our clients’ checkbooks are limited. 

Many barns in my area closed for several weeks to all non-essential personnel, my own barn included. While I am able to join the world for brief snippets of barn time, I have not have the opportunity to ride my own pony.  The pony who I was just getting back into amazing condition I might add. 

For me, the lack of riding is a two fold punch to the gut. As a Sports Massage Therapist I know how quickly muscle can atrophy. Conditioning a horse to peak physical condition can take almost a year. That’s right, a full year of proper building of ligaments and muscles so they can be at their best potential. Yet, this is something we can go back and achieve again. 

No, for me the biggest punch is lacking the therapeutic relief I receive only from spending time with my horse. It’s not just about riding for me. It’s a mental break from work, family, stressors, and overthinking. In a time where the world is in chaos and possibly forever changed, I need my natural medication more than ever. I am grounded when I am with him, spending time with him, or training him and myself. I don’t only lose time in training but I lose my own sense of calm. Horses are a physical and mental respite from the stimuli of the outside world. 

My biggest worry now is not about my family’s health, I know we are taking precautions and safe at home. My biggest concern is for my horse and our lack of connection taking its toll on both of us.

While I know he is well cared for  and loves living without forced exercise I can’t help the feeling he feels I abandoned him. We are so incredibly connected, I have to wonder will that connection be severed? 

After several weeks away from him, my barn owner reached out privately and asked me to come visit him in the paddock. Her words were, “You need him and he needs you.” I burst into tears with relief. 

I was incredibly excited the evening before that I barely slept. When I arrived I had visions of my pony whinnying in greeting and galloping across the paddock to me like he has done in the past. Not so. In fact, the reaction was quite the opposite. He IGNORED me. I walked up to him and he would walk off, turning away from me. Never aggressive but pointed. 

It’s hard not to anthropomorphize our animals and assign human characteristics. Yet my pony exhibits some of the same personality traits I do. I tried to put myself in his shoes. Here he was in his paddock with his herdmates, grazing and loving spring. He hadn’t seen me in weeks nor had any exercise. I just didn’t exist at that moment to him. 

While I cringed, I chose to hang out in the paddock spending quiet time together without physical interaction. I must have remained about an hour before I said good-bye and walked away. 

He watched me go. 

A few days later I came back and suddenly, there was my pony walking over to me directly to greet me like no time had passed. He’s never been affectionate but I was able to groom him in the paddock and spend some more time. I was so incredibly happy to just be there with him. 

Since then I have taken advantage and scheduled to come at designated times with PPE. I haven’t ridden him yet as he is quite weak from lack of work. But I have groomed him a number of times, lunged him, played with some clicker training, and given him bodywork. I’ve never put my focus solely on riding but this is a great reminder that riding is only a small percentage of horsemanship. 

So remember this when you return to your horse. We all thrive on routine which has been upset. Start a new routine and appreciate the time you have with them whether in the paddock or at work. 

And please, remember to get them back into condition slowly and steadily. Don’t rush because you are excited. We’re all out of shape. Lockdown ain’t fun on our hips. 

Be sure to check out the other blogs from the series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Catherine from Ireland

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Manjeev and Charlotte in India

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Helen in Dubai.

Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Catherine from Ireland

For today’s Equestrian Lives in Lockdown we hear from Catherine aka The Wild Atlantic Rider in Ireland.

The last eight weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions – from fear and uncertainty to feelings of contentment and appreciation. I first experienced real fear at the beginning of March after I had attended a friend’s hen party in the small Irish seaside town of Lahinch. Lahinch is near the world famous Cliffs of Moher and is both a tourist’s and surfer’s paradise. However, the normally bustling little town had a distinct black cloud over it. Only a few kilometres down the road was one of Ireland’s first known outbreaks of Covid 19. Lahinch was in it’s own lockdown even before our government enforced it.

After that weekend our world changed dramatically. Schools closed, social distancing was enforced and our country was brought into lockdown. For the first two weeks I was anxious, aware of any little cough or tickle in my throat in fear that I may have come into contact with the virus during our weekend away. I was not concerned for my own well being, but the fear that I could have spread it to vulnerable members of my family was truly crippling.

Luckily for me my horses are at home. I was temporarily laid off from work which allowed me a few of weeks of rest, when I would normally be entering our busiest time of year. Having Solas and Giselle around me gives me an escape from the constant apocalyptic news reels and has allowed me to take stock of what is truly important. My grandmother would always say “your health is your wealth” and now I really know the truth of this sentiment. While there is so much uncertainty keeping things in perspective has helped me adust to our new way of living. We still have a roof over our heads, food on our tables and my two best friends are right outside my door, ready to gallop the troubles of Covid 19 away when needs be.

Follow Catherine and her adventures on Instagram & Facebook @wildatlanticrider or head to her blog http://www.wildatlanticrider.com

Be sure to check out the other blogs in this series.

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Manjeev and Charlotte in India

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Helen in Dubai.

What I have Realised Since Being Separated From My Horse

 

Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Manjeev and Charlotte in India

For today’s Equestrian Lives in Lockdown we head to India with Manjeev and Charlotte.

We are a natural horsemanship and polo centre located in Gurgaon, India (very close to the capital city of New Delhi). We have 9 horses, most of which were rescued/adopted along the way. We have several Marwari horses, a breed indigenous to India and very recognisable for its curly ears.

Manjeev is an officially certified Monty Roberts instructor and has spent some time in the US working with wild mustangs. We have set up our centre 3 years ago with the idea of offering an alternative to some of the rather harsh training methods currently in use here. It was important for us to integrate natural horsemanship methods in the mainstream, notably for polo and the racing industry. As such, Manjeev works with stud farms to prepare horses for the track, and we are also training our own horses for polo.

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Manjeev and Charlotte. Photo credit: Delhi College of Photography

How strict your lockdown has been? Are you able to leave the premises? Are people still allowed to come to the stables? 

The situation is a little complicated in India because each state has been doing their own thing and, on top of that, the government has empowered local condominiums / societies to implement their own lockdown. We live in one such condominium and we were so worried we would not to be able to leave (which has happened to many of our friends in neighbouring condominiums) that we decided to move to the farm where we have our horses. For us, it was unthinkable not to be able to check on the horses (and our 8 rescue dogs and 4 cats who are also on the farm). We’ve converted one of the store rooms into a bedroom and made a makeshift shower. It’s actually quite fun.

We have currently no clients coming, and we are not able to visit any clients either. This has been the case for over a month now.

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Photo credit: The Delhi College of Photography

How has it affected the care of the horses? 

It was initially difficult to get good hay for the horses but we’ve managed to sort this out. There is a lot of demand so contacts and relationships are very important in such situations. We’re also having issues getting a farrier, as our usual guy lives far away. We’ve made do with what we have available around. We have always tried to give our horses the best care, often with the help of professionals that live in different states and who cannot come, so we’ve just had to downgrade what we use at the moment. But it’s manageable.

We’ve put the horses on rest. We thought it would be a good opportunity to let them recover from the busy season we’ve just had. Also, it’s the start of summer and the temperatures are soaring.

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Photo credit: The Delhi College of Photography.

How has it affected your business? 

We had several volunteers, and courses that had to be cancelled, or at least postponed until further notice. Basically, our business has come to a standstill, which is a disaster. We reacted fast, however, and have been offering online natural horsemanship lessons. We’ve also set up a Patreon account to give people a better insight into the situation here, as well as general insight into running this kind of horse business out of India. You can check out our first “episode” it’s free for all here (scroll all the way to the bottom).

What have been your feelings throughout lockdown? 

When they first talked about a lockdown, it was very difficult to believe it could ever happen in India. It is astonishing that life has literally come to a standstill. We live in a country with some very, very poor people so it’s particularly complicated. The way we see it, life is much more important than the economy. But for some people here, they can’t eat if they can’t work. So we’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings, on the one hand hoping that the lockdown measures will last long enough to avert a disaster while at the same time doubting it is possible.

For us, we are grateful with what we have. We wake up every morning next to our horses and this is a very special feeling.

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Photo credit: The Delhi College of Photography.

Other blogs that may interest you…
Lives in Lockdown Series

Equestrian Lives in Lockdown: Helen in Dubai.

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs from horse owners all over the world! ‘The Equestrian Lives in Lockdown’ series is aimed at building a worldwide community of horse owners and raising awareness of different equestrian’s situations whilst in lockdown. There will be blogs from horse owners in the UK, US, Australia, France, Ireland, Dubai and India (possibly even more) and from different walks of equestrian life.

In our first blog, we start in Dubai with Helen.

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Helen and her horse Regalito

Dubai started with soft restrictions, people were told to stay at home except for essentials such as buying groceries or medical reasons. This was tightened to an 8 hour night time curfew within a few days, initially for 3 days,  but which was extended  after 2 days to two weeks ( extended again before that deadline was reached) and 24 hour curfew, meaning we were only allowed to leave home if we had a valid permit to do so.

I drew up a schedule of things with which to occupy myself for the 4-5 hours I usually spend at the stables every day. I was halfway through an online course (Linguistics), so signed up for another, in a completely different field of study (Equine welfare), for the sake of diversity. I wanted to keep active as well, so strength workouts from my trainer to do at home, balanced with pilates classes going online took care of my physical well-being, and I made extra effort to eat well to boost my immune system. My husband is working from home, so we’ve been having coffee and lunch breaks together during the day, before retreating to our respective work areas. I’ve had regular meetings on zoom, so have been able to see and talk to other people and haven’t felt totally isolated.

What took me a bit by surprise was the emotional effect not going to the stables had. I know that riding keeps me mentally balanced, so I was expecting mood swings, but I was more expecting to feel sad, anxious, and generally down. What I got was surges of anger and frustration – at random ‘others’ – the ones who weren’t playing along and blatantly disregarding restrictions, and frustration because my inner three-year-old kept telling me it wasn’t fair, and stomping her feet. These were countered by moments of supreme calm, when I’d be quoting John Lennon ‘Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end’; or ‘It’s ok if the only thing you did today was breathe,’ (unknown). 

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I have spent a lot of time looking through photos and videos, obsessing over my horse, even though I have complete faith in my stable manager, and the grooms and know he’s being well cared for. I’ve devoured everything horsey I’ve seen on social media, while keeping well away from current news because I know it will only raise my anxiety levels. (I’ve still managed to absorb enough to stay up to date on relevant information.)

I am glad that my last day at the stables was a good one. I went for a solo hack and was very aware of everything about me. The weather was glorious, the sky was blue, my horse and I had a disagreement about going further when some riders passed us on their way back, then resolved that satisfactorily and had a wonderful trot in the desert. I saw a little dead fox cub that made me sad, but when I realised it was evidence that foxes are breeding in the area I felt better. We splashed happily through a puddle on our way home, everything about the morning felt good, and I’ve held on to that feeling for the last four weeks. That memory and regular photographic updates from groom and stable manager have helped me cope when I have started to feel despondent. 

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 Now, I am absolutely delighted to report that yesterday (24th April), coinciding with the start of the holy month of Ramadan, our restrictions have been relaxed somewhat, and we are permitted out during the day without needing permits. Small steps, but significant ones. I’ve even made new friends during lockdown, and maybe, one day when we’re able to travel again, I’ll get to actually meet them in person.

Greetings from Dubai,

Helen Kacnik

How has lockdown affected you and your horse? Get in touch if you would like to share your story. Stay tuned for the rest of the series, there may be a few familiar faces appearing to tell their stories!

Other blogs you may enjoy…

9 Things to do When are in Lockdown and You Cannot Ride Your Horse.

What I have Realised Since Being Separated From My Horse

Inspo Interview #10 Raquel From Horses and Heels