Seeing as moving house is one of the most stressful events we can experience, moving your horse can also rank right up there with it. Yes, we may be fully aware of the long term benefits we will gain by moving. This knowledge does not lessen the short-term angst level however. I worked out the other day that during the time I have owned Duchess my Friesian, we have moved yards a total of five times. Today’s move will make six. This has resulted in us moving yards on average once every 15 months. Some places we stayed for years. Others for a matter of weeks when it quickly became obvious this was not going to work.
Changing needs, changes in your own circumstances, changes in yard management/ownership/vibe can see us loading our horses onto a trailer and moving on. Today’s move involves a short walk down the road. We’re heading to the yard next door owned by friends of mine where Duchess will join my other horse, Lakota. Originally, I had hoped the move would be the other way around – Lakota would join Duchess. But when the anticipated space did not become available and nobody looked to be moving in the near future, it was decided the mountain would move to Mohammed so to speak. Plus I can still use the arena back on my old yard and keep up with my friends and riding buddies. It’s a win/win.
Having both horses in one place is the best possible solution. If only for the fact it stops me arriving at one yard only to realise I have left something I need back at the other one. Yes, it’s a two minute drive between them. But it’s frustrating nonetheless to shuttle back and forth simply because you forgot a key item in your grooming kit.
Getting our home for our horse or horses right is simply every bit as important as where we ourselves live. As I work from home, I am keenly aware of the effect my home environment has on my mood and wellbeing. The term ‘living space’ translates into ‘space to live’ – and live well and happily. If your current yard isn’t working for you on any level, chances are it’s having a bigger impact than you think on your energy and emotions. And therefore an impact on your connection to your horse – and your ability to enjoy him or her.
As human beings, we are hard-wired to avoid pain and go towards pleasure. Or if not exactly pleasure, to avoid more pain. No matter how flexible, adaptive and change-embracing we think we are, the fact is moving is disruptive. We tend to stick to what we know and what has become familiar. Even if it’s not quite working for us anymore. We make excuses. Okay, so the yard has its down-side but it’s convenient. We tell ourselves that we probably won’t find anything better despite the fact we’ve not actually looked to see if there is. We put off that move until it simply becomes too uncomfortable NOT to. And by doing this we deny ourselves and our horse, that space to really start living our connection.
What am I saying? If you feel you should move your horse – don’t put off trying to make it happen. Yes, you may have to go on a waiting list to get into the yard you really want. I waited five months for one and nine for another. But not exploring your options leaves you truly stuck in place in more ways than one. Action – and taking action on our own behalf, is the one sure antidote for frustration or depression. Sometimes we can simply get lucky. We put the feelers out there at the right time and get the right place. You won’t know unless you try. Ask around. Your feed store, other horse owners, your farrier, even your vet. Post on the horse groups on Facebook. If you don’t want people on your current yard to know you are looking to move, ask a friend to do this for you and forward any replies.
Sometimes moving is accompanied by a tinge of sadness when we leave happy memories behind. But we look forward to making new ones. Other times, we don’t look back – buoyed forward by a feeling of both relief and release. No matter how many moves we end up making – for ourselves or just our horses or perhaps both, it’s important to remember that behind all the short-term chaos and inconvenience, we have a bigger goal in mind. We are always moving towards where the heart feels truly at home. May all your trails lead you to where happiness lives.
Next up: Is working for yourself the way to find that perfect horsey life/work balance? As someone who has been freelance for the greater part of her working life, I’ll take you through the pros and cons of the solo riding entrepreneur.
Written by Helen Watts