I made a foray back into hacking during the 1st weekend in April. It was the first time since January I had been outside on horse back and I only cantered for the first time since January on the Wednesday beforehand. The viral infection I have had since December last year, which wasn’t picked up by me until my body began screaming at me to ‘JUST STOP’ during January has really knocked me out. Unfortunately my balance has been most affected and I have been so tired at the weekends that I cancelled many hacks booked with the thought ‘Oh I will be fine’, at times my lessons have been really tough and my instructor Claire has been brilliant throughout. One lesson I simply walked Wee Gem around the arena as two strides of trot had made me want to vomit, another lesson I cancelled two hours beforehand and all they want to know was if I was okay.
This meant the April hack was a real highlight for me, I cantered twice – both times just myself and the leader but the first time was really good and a decent length of canter. I felt really balanced as I was concentrating more than normal and looking straight ahead. The second canter #FlameTheWonderHorse felt I was off balance before I did and we slowed to trot pretty quickly. The gorgeous chestnut dude looks after me like no other horse can, with Twix gone my fondness for Flame grows each time I ride him. I felt full of joy for my hobby again until it struck me I have been riding again for 9 years! Yes, let me repeat that 9 years! Suddenly I started analyse everything – why wasn’t I better? Why were my nerves still around? Should I continue to do this if I can’t even trot in a group without being a little nervous? Why do I bother? You know the totally normal* things people say to themselves about a hobby.
I floated these ideas to Claire at my last lesson and as she stood rolling her eyes at me, explaining patiently to a 34 year old woman to stop being an idiot she suggested I set some goals for my hacking and my lessons. She also pointed out that I can walk, trot, canter and jump so really I can ride, I just still don’t believe it. To that end I have been thinking about what my new horse riding goals can be and have decided to set three and start to work towards them throughout the year.
Hacking wise I want to canter in a group, that’s all, nothing fancy just straightforward cantering in a group.
Lesson-wise goal 1: Learn 2 new dressage moves for flatwork, if Claire agrees I would like to perfect leg yield in trot and try it in canter
Lesson-wise goal 2: Jump a small course of jumps in canter. I don’t need big jumps I would just like a wee course. I haven’t done this for years! This one will wait until my balance is fully restored
So that’s it! I have written them down and will chat to Claire next week to see where we go from here. On a different note, I am planning on changing the blog slightly and will focus on reviews of riding establishments and quarterly updates of my riding – this applies to the horse-y part of my blog other posts will be written and published but I have realised that it might be helpful for other nervous riders if I write up where I ride and let them know my thoughts! Any comments on my goals or the horse-y plans for the blog I would love to hear them.
After a couple of years of resolving to post outfit pictures I finally manage to post some. These pictures were taken while we were on holiday last week. We started the week with blue skies in Glencoe and ended the week on the Isle of Mull with grey skies and a chill in the air. Chop dealt with the ferry and staying in the motorhome really well, he barked at the clear, starlit, inky black sky in Glencoe – it looks like he is a true city dog now. Leith has changed him 🙂 We did lots of walking but no skiing for me as I’m still unable to run or cycle due to this lingering virus (3 months and counting).
This outfit is typical for me at the moment and I feel really comfortable and like myself in it. I have chosen to end my participation in ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge. I started in September and slipped up three times before stopping fully in early March. I had my own reasons for joining the challenge as I already know a lot about the clothing industry and luckily I can choose where to shop and can avoid fast fashion brands choosing to shop 2nd hand first and with brands whose ethics I agree with. I also still like to support local companies and my love of Finisterre shows no signs of abating!
Jacket – Finisterre, Jumper – 2nd hand WhiteStuff, jeans – 2nd hand Next, boots – Dublin River boots (these are actually my horse riding boots), scarf – gift from my sister, bag – Boden
I found the challenge was making me miserable. Many of my clothes didn’t feel like me. I felt uncomfortable in them and just wanted to have a clear out. My taste outstrips my sewing skills and ability, I don’t want to end up getting frustrated and giving up sewing when I can’t make the things I would like. This made me revise my idea that I could make what I needed to fill any gaps in my wardrobe! My black trousers were wearing out, the jeans I have I don’t particularly like and many pieces simply don’t fit in with my lifestyle.
I also discovered through the Facebook group that most other people on the challenge were really enjoying it, I found myself constantly window shopping and I felt like a failure. That was until I chatted with Katie from Sustainability in Style the original creator of this challenge. She told me to go back and look at my original reasons for doing the challenge – had I achieved them? Do you know what I feel I have, I have definitely worked out my style. These outfits are my casual go to style. Now I accept that I want to replace the jeans as they aren’t the best but that can wait – I’m now working on stopping the cycle of payday spending but without any new challenges instead just step by step. First up a big clear out is taking place, not only in my wardrobe but in the whole flat – don’t worry the puppy stays though.
Fancy an interesting online read? I would recommend Katie’s post on Freetown Fashpack, enjoy the awesome style on show in that post 🙂
So I know, I know it is the 4th of January and I should have had a 2014 review post up alongside a 2015 goals post if I was organised but hey, that can be a goal this year 🙂
For me 2014 was a pretty nice year, I wrote a post about what I hoped to achieve at the start of the year and I thought I would review it although I also wanted to put some context around it all. I had a nice, positive year in the main as with everyone there were some low points in the main I have recorded those on the blog especially when related to my horse riding. I have also found this year more stressful workwise and I think my health and fitness suffered a little as a result. I have found this winter that I have had more illnesses and have felt rundown more often. However, I am lucky as I still really enjoy my job and I feel I need to have better methods of coping with stress alongside prioritising my workload more effectively.