I have avoided posting on here since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out mostly because I write about my time with the horses. There has been a lot going on, with fallout from Kasane’s passing, Andromeda arriving, and Breezy deciding she was going to be a Royal Chestnut Mare.
The stay-at-home orders that were enacted in North Carolina initially said that while people were supposed to stay at home, they could still go out for outdoor exercise and activities. For me, that’s the barn. Staying at home is staying at the barn.
I board at a small private barn. I’m one of four boarders. The barn owners put a hand-washing/sanitizing/social distancing protocol in place that all of us follow. We have a shared Google calendar for reserving the riding ring. There are usually no more than 2 of us out there at a time.
I’m still riding and I have had an earful from people trying not to be judgey, but I could hear it in their voice. Basically, that I’m being irresponsible by riding because if I have an accident it could put an undue strain on the health care system. (Just to be clear, I have been riding for the past 30+ years, and I have had two accidents that required medical attention. In that same time frame, I’ve had four or five car accidents, only one of which required medical care.)
There is a point in that. But honestly, any activity could lead to an accident. If I picked up bike riding again after not having done it for five years I am much more likely to injure myself doing that then I am when riding my horse. I know my mare and I am avoiding things that will set her off and potentially create a Situation. Thankfully, those types of things are few and far between. Breezy is a very good girl.
I have talked to plenty of people who are at larger barns and they are not allowed to even see their horses. It’s been months since they have laid their hands on their babies. My heart goes out to them. I haven’t posted about my riding partially because I didn’t want to upset those whose context do not let them visit their horses.
Andromeda’s arrival meant I had to be at the barn. She did not want to come up to people and was nervous. She had to have some time to settle in and learn who these new people are. And it took time. She’s been here almost 10 weeks now and she is finally settled in. She comes up to me, follows me around in the field (sometimes, when it is her idea), and we can finally get her halter on her without her walking away. Everything with horses takes time and the commitment to put that time investment in the relationship.
I have cut back my riding a little to 3 or four rides per week instead of more. One of those rides is usually in hand work, like a walk around the trails or obstacles.
If my very smart horses were not worked and did not have jobs, then they would get bored and would probably be fractious for the barn owners. But they do get worked. They are very sweet and happy horses.
It’s not just their sanity the barn trips preserve, it’s mine too.
The rest of my life is stay at home. I don’t go out shopping, except for a periodic grocery run. Otherwise, I go to the barn and home. No where else.