I am finally able to tell you what's been going on round here apart from everything else. The problem was, I got so used to being sworn to secrecy (not putting anything on facebook etc) that now I'm able to say something, I hardly know what to say.
Basically, after ten years of working at the same firm, and hating it, John has got a new job, and started there today. His last couple of weeks at the old place have been very stressful. They've divided John's job responsibilities between four different people, so you can imagine what his work-load has been like. John's ex-bosses have asked for a number where they could get in touch with him, in the hope that he could still go there and work for them at weekends. I don't think so, guys!
It was a very strange and difficult place to work. I worked there myself for three years, so I know what I'm talking about. Everything was a bit barmy. I worked in the sales office, and people used to make up prices as they went along. They also used to lie and then deny things. It made it so difficult to do my job properly. I don't know how John has coped for all these years, but I do know it's been hard work being a sounding board when he gets home.
So he's had his first day in the new place, and I think he's going to like it. There's lots to do, anyway. My main worry was that he'd get bored as he did so much problem-solving in his old place.
The new liveries are coming on Saturday. We've been frantically painting stables to get them ready. The thing that's really been worrying me is the weather forecast saying it could snow by the end of the month and us having very little straw in. The horses will come in if it snows, and I need something to bed them down with. It drives me mad when Missis says they'll go and get it on Saturday, and then they don't.
Fortunately, Missis' dad turned up today with 138 bales of straw on his trailer, which we've managed to reverse into the barn. This is a load off my mind.
The other thing that's cheered me up is that the new livery man came on Friday and put up electric fencing to give his horses the grazing I've allocated. I'm really glad no one argued with me about what I'd decided. I'm thrilled with the way John has altered the other fences so the horses have the maximum grazing, but we've also got a big holding pen. This is the area between the gates, so the horses can't go anywhere if they get away from me when I'm getting them in. It's finally all coming together.
And finally, the thing that's thrilled me no end is that I've started jumping Barnaby again. I have to do it at the weekend, as I need John here in case something happens. The first Saturday I did it, I went for a quick hack to take the edge off Barnaby's energy, then went in the manege and just jumped a cross pole. I felt physically sick all the way round the hack, and my brain was like spaghetti, but I still did it and really enjoyed it. Barnaby didn't try to tank me or anything, it was really good.
Then the following week I bottled out and said John could do it, so he took him round a whole course. The outcome of this is that I've said John can compete him next year, as he's only 14, in the prime of his life, and I don't see why he should miss out just because I can't do it.
The only thing that bugged me is that I've spent a year teaching Barnaby to go straight when he goes round the school, rather than going round with his head swinging to the outside. As soon as John got on, Barnaby started doing it, and John didn't do anything to correct it, which I found quite frustrating.
So this Saturday I decided I would have another go. I also decided just to go in and jump rather than go for a hack first, as all that happens is that I feel as sick as a dog while I'm on the ride and my legs turn to jelly.
So I went in and jumped. Nothing particularly high, but I jumped it on both reins and absolutely loved it. My style came back and my head was really clear. I really had to trust Barnaby as I can't place his feet. Max used to really stand off his fences, but Barnaby gets in a lot closer. You have to trust that he will take off as there's no room left for another stride anyway. But he just launches off those fabulous hocks and sails through the air. His whole body is straight and it's utterly fantastic. Never a hint of a run-out.
I can remember some girls watching John competing at a hunter trials years ago and saying, "I'd like a horse like that - point and press!" and at the time I said, "Huh, you ought to try riding him!" but actually he almost is. Because he's not a spooky horse he isn't distracted by anything going on around him and is totally focused on the fence. It really is a fantastic feeling.
If I was 100% nervous the first time, I'd say this time I was only 25% nervous, and there's nothing wrong with a bit of adrenaline, anyway. I am trying not to have plans and ambitions just yet, especially as winter is approaching fast. My days of winter showjumping are well and truly over, but we'll see what I'm capable of in the spring. When I get a bit better I'll get John to take some piccies. I'd love some of me jumping Barnaby anyway, as I don't have any as yet.
Well, I'd better be off,
Thanks for dropping in today, and for your kind comments on my last post. I'm certainly feeling a lot perkier now!
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