Wednesday, 2 February 2011


I've come to a decision with Barnaby. Let me explain. My very first pony, Crispin, was the love of my life. I never took him to any shows. I didn't even know what showing was back then. Loads of other people from the yard used to go. I never felt I was missing out on anything, or that I was deprived in any way - I had a horse, for goodness sake, what more could a girl ask for? Crispin was the love of my life.
Then I got Max, and I loved him too, but felt under constant pressure to perform. This meant I liked him more when he did well, and got frustrated with him when he didn't. It's very strange. It's why a lot of people sell their horses all the time. That's quite a confession, really. I think it stems from doing that Bible study last week about unconditional love. I have actually stood in the show ring with Max and as the judge has placed me fifth or sixth, I've whispered in his ear, "Don't worry, darling, the judge is completely blind!"
But I've realised with Barnaby I want to get back to what I had with Crispin, i.e. I want to love him for who he is, not what he can do. I used to ride Crispin out and every ride was an adventure, because I had a horse. It was the most thrilling thing in the world. I wanted to shout it to every passer-by, but I expect my idiot grin was a bit of a giveaway.
So last week, on Monday I rode Barnaby in the school and it was awful, just doing flat-work. Then on Wednesday I tried to jump him and it was disasterous and nearly dangerous as he tanked round with his head between his knees and tripped over the trotting poles, nearly tipping me over his neck. Honestly, I don't know what's going on with that.
Then on Friday I decided to hack out and it was utterly fantastic. We did about six miles, up hill and down dale, on roads, being passed by every kind of traffic known to man, which Barnaby doesn't even look at. We passed dogs and a woman feeding a flock of seagulls, and a skip full of rubbish and Barnaby never gave it a second glance. I was as high as a kite when I got back.
So, after big discussions with Mr O, I have decided to chuck in any kind of competing, because I need to ride this horse with no pressure whatsoever and actually be allowed to enjoy him.
I honestly feel that a massive weight has been lifted off me. If I want to ride, I will ride. If I don't, I won't. Yesterday I rode for an hour and a half, and it was absolute bliss. We went for miles. I am going to do lots of pleasure rides this year, and the odd bit of TREC and thoroughly enjoy what this horse does best, and that's that. Because I utterly love him for who he is - enough said.

I've been having lots of fun making cards, check these out:
I've liked these cute bunnies for ages and finally got round to ordering the stamp a couple of weeks ago. It took a lot of trial and error with my Promarkers to get the paleness of the two rabbits right. The paper is from My Mind's Eye and I've had it for ages. I originally bought it to do my scrapbooking with last year, but I've got loads left. I think that's the thing with these papers, the initial outlay can be quite a bit, but you get so much out of it, it more than pays for itself in the end. The main thing I wanted to do with this card, was the two bits of ribbon with the buttons on the end, which worked out really well.

I'm really pleased with this card, too:

This is a waterfall card, and I've been wanting to make one since Christmas. There was an article showing you how to make one in one of the magazines I buy, but the instructions weren't very good. If you want a brilliant tutorial, try here. This is a really good card for a man, and uses stamped images of boats and sailing things. You pull the tab at the bottom and the pictures flip up, revealing 'Happy Birthday' at the bottom. Once you've got the hang of it, I think they could be quite addictive. You could put hearts and flowers on each flap, then have 'Happy Valentine's Day' at the bottom. The possibilities are endless.

So, last Thursday, daughter 1 rang me and said, "Don't forget it's Caelan's christening next Sunday." "Pardon?" I said. "Well," she said, "I did tell dad about three weeks ago..." Marvellous. So I have sprung into action and ordered the bits I want to make his card, which fortunately came in the post yesterday. Nothing like a bit of warning, though, is there? I'll show you the card as soon as it's done.


  1. Hi Jane, Im so glad youve now come to a decision over Barnaby and I think your right, there is nothing to gain from him if you and he dont enjoy what you are doing together, and it sounds as though you both enjoy just riding out and seeing the countryside.
    I adore your cards they are both very well designed and your rabbits are beautifully coloured to. Im looking forward to seeing your Christening card. With love and hugs Shirleyxxxxx

  2. Its easy, when you finally come to that decision. As I said before, there are some people who love horses, some who love them for what they can do, and then theres the few, who love for what they are, good luck, and ride the country!

  3. Your cards are as gorgeous as ever. Really like the ribbon and buttons - nice effect. I've never made a waterfall card - they look fiddly, may check out that tutorial. Sorry not to take part in your "pay it forward" - life's a bit stressy at the mo - hope it goes well. M x
    p.s. Glad you feel happier with your decision about Barnaby - enjoy your beautiful boy.

  4. Well done on your decision about Barnaby - Enjoy x I love both your cards Jane and will look up that Waterfall tutorial as you have inspired me - thanks a lot x

  5. Good for you about Barnaby and showing. If neither of you enjoy it, why do it? I've kind of given up competition for now myself. It does take the pressure off and makes riding more fun than work.

    Love the cards. Looking forward to seeing more.

  6. hi- just popped over to say thanks for the lovely comments you leave, and read your post about Barnaby.

    You know I don't even know you but I'm just SO proud of you- I hope you can feel the hug travelling across the ether.

    The decision is the best and most difficult one to make, because in the horse world we all seem to be judged by what we DO with our horses, rather than how we BE with them.

    We put ourselves under immense pressure to attain goals understood readily by our peers, rather than wearing a rosette simply to proclaim that we he had the best hack-out possible (and in doing so probably achieved the very walk that we couldn't get in the dressage test!!)

    Last month I stopped actually riding Bruce, put the reins over his neck as if I was sitting on him, stood at his shoulder and worked him from the ground, with the schooling whip as my "leg".
    We did shoulder-in, turn about the forehand, and all the lateral steps that his creaky old hunting bones find so difficult- and we both thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Then we went out into the countryside and simply stood and watched the clouds.
    He's a horse who simply CANNOT stand still, and you know we just stood there leaning on eachother and suddenly the bond that we've both wanted so much but couldn't find just happened.

    And when people say to me "hows Bruce coming on- what are you going to do with him this year" do you think I dare tell them any of that?
    Nah- I just smile the smile!!

    Good luck with everything- you're a star!

  7. Goodness, I just wanted to say thankyou for the wonderful and uplifting comments, I am reaching for the tissues as I type. Your understanding means a great deal, I can't begin to tell you! This is what blogging is all about, isn't it?


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