Twenty-Seventeen





Twenty-Sixteen was a big year. I started off January by visiting the theatre on New Years Day, I bought a new car after a three year driving hiatus, and ended the month with a mini break to Newquay. I began to ride regularly again, and in March I met the beautiful mare who would become my first ever horse. I attended Badminton Horse Trials for the first time- an amazing day that was overshadowed by the tragic death of my beloved cat in the days that followed. I lost that gorgeous boy to kidney failure, and even now my heart breaks when I think about him. In June I got a horse, something I never could have predicted at the beginning of the year, and what's crazier is that it was a mare and foal. The rest of the year was a crash course in equestrianism. Twenty-Seventeen has some big boots to fill.

I love New Year more than Christmas. There is just so much hope and belief on New Year’s Eve. I absolutely love the feeling of waking up on New Year’s Day full of ambition and drive. However, previous years have almost made me afraid of making resolutions, as it pretty much guarantees that whatever I decided on won't get done. Recent years have started to deviate from that pattern though, so I am willing to step forward with this years resolutions, which, in theory, are quite simple-

Get out of debt.
Get Cree back into regular work.

This year I took out a credit card, and very quickly I had to take out even more credit cards to cushion the debt I'd rang up on the first one. I have nobody to blame but myself, and I really want to get back on track financially in 2017. When I look at the credit I could have, I would never have to worry financially. Unfortunately the stupid side of me maxed it all out, and I'm living payday loan to payday loan. This is something I really want to change this year.

The second resolution is self-explanatory to anyone who has read previous posts, but the analytic feature on Blogger indicates that nobody has, so I shall explain. Cree had a foal this year. As a direct result she hasn't been ridden in eight months, sans a ten minute ride that was punctuated by some bucking and ejector seating. I am moving to a new yard soon, which comes complete with two schools, so hopefully this resolution can come into being pretty fast. But we all know how impossible resolutions are to actually fulfil, so I won't get my hopes up.

Happy 2017!
Kezia
xxx
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Sometimes I'm Scared


Cree is my first horse, and I do realise how much of a risk it was to buy a mare and foal as my introduction to the world of horse ownership. I fell in love with this beautiful piebald mare. She has a cheeky personality, kind eyes, a perfect canter. I vowed to buy her one day, and with life being as unpredictable as it is, that day arrived a lot quicker than I could ever have imagined.

For the first month of owning her I would get to the yard at 7am, three hours before anyone else, just so that I could get the morning routine done without anyone else at the yard seeing me and realising how incompetent I was with her. I would wait until everyone had left the yard in the evening before bringing her in for the night. I was cripplingly aware of my inexperience. I felt like I had a tattoo on my forehead, a scarlet letter, stating ROOKIE for all to see.


I am having to learn new things every day, sometimes through a discreet Google search, and sometimes it is being thrown in at the deep end at the yard. Everything I do with Cree and Teddie is trial and error. I can't think of one thing that I felt confident about doing the first time round with them. Sometimes I screw up monumentally and sometimes I somehow manage to get away with my lack of knowledge. Sometimes I have the entire yard as an audience, and sometimes I am fortunately the only one who will ever know. Either way it can be excruciating.

Equestrianism has a way of tricking you into thinking that you are becoming a fountain of knowledge, and then the horses will very quickly shatter that illusion in a heartbeat. Every day I learn of something Cree loves, or hates, or will spook at. For example, recently while leading her to her paddock a new horse had been put along the route. Cree usually walks up to the paddock perfectly, this day the new horse came over and Cree freaked out, breaking away from me, galloping dangerously to her paddock and then, when she realised the gate was shut, back to her stable. I was very lucky, and so was she, that she didn't hurt herself. Or anyone else for that matter.

It is too easy to get angry at myself, or worse, angry at her, when something goes wrong. Horses are flight animals and Cree weighs 1000lb. If she decides she wants to go one way, there is very little I can do to stop her, and that can be very frustrating, especially when surrounded by some people who seem to never put a foot wrong with horses. It is easy to feel like every little thing I do is being judged, and that I am failing on every count.

I worry that I am not bonding with her as strongly as I am supposed to have done by now. I worry that I haven't spent anywhere near as much time with her as I am supposed to have done. I follow such a monotonous routine with her, that I worry that she is getting bored. With little Teddie at foot it is easier to stick to a routine, but now I feel like the golden rule of routine being good for horses, is more about it being convenient for the owner. I guess I just feel like I have so much to learn, almost too much to learn.

Kezia
xxx
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Cole, Marmalade and Muse Cat Food

Recently I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and a post from the hilarious Cole and Marmalade caught my eye. They had teamed up with Muse cat food and were hosting a giveaway for a gift box filled with all sorts of Muse goodies, all you had to do was caption this picture.


I don't usually go for caption contests as I am a little fearful of judgement, but I love Cole and Marmalade and the box just looked so incredibly good that I went for it, and guess what... It paid off! A few hours later I received a notification informing me that I had won. To say that I was surprised/ thankful/ grateful doesn't even begin to cover it.


Obviously then I had to wait a while for my goodies to arrive and after what seemed like forever (though in reality it was only a matter of weeks) a colourful package was waiting for me when I got home from the yard. It took me a while to actually check out the contents of the box as three of my cats immediately dived in there the second it was opened, but when I did get a chance, I wasn't disappointed.


The catnip was the instant favourite for the majority of the cats (they hoiked that beauty out of the box within moments of it being opened). The box itself was Tilly's item of choice, she immediately spread herself out over everything in there in the way that only a cat can, so that I had to wait my turn to check out the contents myself. Also included were four samples of Muse cat food (typical as I have five cats, haha), a cat food bowl (going to have to get me four more of them), and some frilly light-weight toys.


And it wasn't just the cats who got treats. The box also included a cat print rolling pin (no more using wine bottles!), a mug, a reusable bag and incredibly randomly (maybe a substitute due to a customs restriction?) a bottle of nail polish from The Body Shop. Yeah, I was very happy with my cat-themed goodies.

Unfortunately I don't think we get Muse cat food in the UK yet, so I can't return this lovely gesture with some brand loyalty. I don't think they were expecting someone outside the US to win to be honest.

Kezia
xxx

PS. You can find the Cole and Marmalade YouTube channel here. It's one of my favourites, so I definitely recommend it.
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One Month of Horse Ownership


I have owned Cree and Teddie for one month now and so I figured I would dedicate a post to a few lessons that I have learnt so far. To the initiated they will probably seem like common sense, but I want to put them out there anyway. Here goes...

Horses are expensive. I know this is one of the more obvious things about horse ownership, but it needs to be said because I know (first-hand I'm ashamed to say) that it can be severely underestimated. This month I have had to increase my overdraft, use my emergency credit card and take out a pay day loan just to keep up with everything. It's my own fault for not adapting my lifestyle to factor in the horses, but it is a hard lesson to learn. Feed, fly spray, hay, straw, grooming accessories, tack, farrier... It all adds up rather quickly.

Countrywide is the best store ever. I have already spent ridiculous amounts of money in there. They sell pretty much everything you need and have a lot of stores in easy access. I wouldn't recommend going there on pay day, or if you do stick to a strict list, as it is very easy to empty your back account in there. They have a loyalty card too, unfortunately mine doesn't work and their online customer service team is a bit shit.

There are highs and lows. There are times that I have mourned my lie-ins. There have been times where I feel I have taken on too much. I've felt stressed, alone, unsupported. The good moments completely outweigh them though. Watching Cree gallop and buck in the field or watching Teddie grow each day like a little sunflower are things I wouldn't change. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't be allowed within 100 feet of a horse, but I am also learning so much everyday. That's another thing- don't be afraid to ask for help if you aren't sure, most equestrians are very willing to share their knowledge.

You will get hurt. You can't be afraid. So far I have gotten away lightly with a few occasions of Cree or Teddie standing on my foot. There was also that time that I got knocked on my arse by a foal. I am very aware that a more serious injury is definitely a case of when than if. Horses are big scary animals and at times they will behave like big scary animals. You very quickly learn that you can't fear this otherwise you're screwed.

As I said before, I am learning so much every day with these two new additions to my life. It's exciting, nerve-wracking, scary, fun. I am getting so much more fresh air and exercise than I have done in years. I am really excited about what I will have to say after two months of ownership, seeing how much I've learnt and how far I've come. Maybe I would have regressed, who knows? Only time will tell.

Kezia
xxx

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Cree and the Farrier


From the moment I got Cree home it was immediately obvious that her feet needed some attention. I don't think she had seen a farrier since before she foaled; she was still wearing shoes on her front feet and her hooves were very overgrown. Unfortunately she is also very foot-shy. She isn't aggressive with it, but if you try and pick her feet she will maybe hold up her foot for five seconds before stamping it down or starting to rock so hard you fear she will fall. Today the farrier visited for the first time and it was a bit of a disaster.

As I said before, she was in desperate need of a trim, and I also wanted her to have her shoes removed. She can't be ridden until Teddie is a little older and so having shoes seems a bit redundant. I'd rather she went as natural as possible for as long as she can get away with it.

Unfortunately Cree hated every second of it. She stamped and kicked and spun and swayed. The lovely farrier was so good with her though and didn't give up or become angry with her. Unfortunately by the time he began on her hind feet he felt it would be best to use a twitch, which I have to admit I was very uncomfortable with, but I had to let the farrier do what he felt was best, after all I wasn't the one putting my head right next to the back legs of a dangerous and stressed horse. My heart did break though as I watched them tighten the rope around her lip.

I will have to make it my mission to work on her feet and try and make the next visit less stressful for her. Another horse at the yard was bought from the same riding school where I purchased Cree and his owner said that he had to be brought to his knees by the farrier the first time he was visited before he could be trimmed. The way that Cree behaves when it comes to her feet indicates to me that she has been cruelly punished during her previous 'training', and that will take some undoing.

After her rough morning she was a bit of moody mare for the rest of the day, even barging past me when the time came for her to come in from the paddock. Hopefully she will be in a happier mood tomorrow.

Kezia
xxx

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She is Cree


Remember that horse that I was telling you about? Well… I own her now! 

Yes, Pie is now mine and she has been christened with a new name- Cree (I‘ve always been fascinated by American Indians and their relationship with horses, so naming my paint horse after a tribe seemed like a no-brainer). As I have said before, Pie is just such an unimaginative name for a piebald horse. Though to be honest there doesn’t seem to be much creativity in the equestrian world when it comes to naming horses (examples; there is an appaloosa at the yard called Spot and a chestnut named Rusty).

Anyway, I bought her on the 28th of July. I had my riding lesson in the morning and then went back with a rented horse box at about 6pm. The horse box situation turned into a bit of a palaver as the lady who we'd hired hadn’t read the email with the required attention, and thought the box was needed for two grown horses. It is common practice to remove the centre partition when travelling a mare and foal, and this hadn't been done. The lady and the yard owner who we bought Pie/Cree from had to wrestle the partition into the cabin area instead.

Cree loaded and unloaded fine and the foal, now called Teddie, took a little bit more convincing. The lovely owner of our new yard had prepared the new stable for us, so all we had to do was take them out of the horse box and lead them the few feet into their stall. It all went rather well.

Now it has been almost two weeks and I still love her. I can’t believe she is mine. That horse that I used to hang over the stable door fantasising about owning is now mine, even if it does mean I have ended up with two horses. Though fortunately my sister has decided to adopt the foal.

I’ll keep you updated on everything.

Kezia
xxx

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Pie


I've done it. I have offered to buy Pie. After all this time she is still up for sale. Every time I go for my riding lessons, she is in her stable and I pet her and talk to her, and I am just realising that I don't want somebody else to have her. I don't care if I have to live on beans for the next twenty years. I love this horse, and if owning her means taking on her daughter too, I am willing to do it.

I've spent the past few days furiously finding every livery yard that I could possibly put the pair of them in and have found a lovely yard close to my home that would be perfect. I've fallen in love with Pie and there is nothing I can do about it. Every equestrian knows the feeling of falling head over heels in love with a certain horse, and for me this is the one.


Unfortunately this was a few days ago, and her current owner hasn't got back to me which I am taking as a bad sign. My next lesson is on Tuesday and I am hoping to try and steer the conversation towards buying her. I'll let you know how that goes. I can't ask the lovely man at the livery yard to hold the paddock until I know I am purchasing her, argh. Equestrianism is hard!

Kezia
xxx
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