Some of you know all about my ridiculous life, others have a vague idea, and others are only just hearing about who I am and what I do – I live a very nomadic life, whizzing around the world and playing with ponies, in between writing blogs, articles and building up a library of online lessons. In fact, my phone’s app has just told me that I have clocked up almost half a million miles since 2015. Scary… One of the most common things I hear is – you have an awesome life, one long holiday… Now, I fully agree with the first part of that statement – I have an awesome life. The second part… Um, no. Life is not one long holiday…
So, June and July were hectic, running around Asia. August was insane, bouncing around through South Africa. And September was Italy and some training for me at Mary Wanless’s base in the Cotswolds. I must admit, I was incredibly tired, grumpy and stressed. My to do list was growing longer by the day, and seemed an insurmountable peak. Whenever I had a free half hour, I would look at my list, decide that all the jobs would take days, not worth even starting, and play on Facebook instead. It really was dreadful, and the more days that passed, the more unanswered emails there were, the closer to needing to book flights, the more deadlines loomed, the less I wanted to do, because the more stressed I was becoming about being so far behind and missing so many deadlines.
I posted HELP on Facebook (you know, Facebook really is a procrastinators paradise – so much to do, so many distractions), and got lots of great advice – write a list; do the smallest job first; download this software; hire a PA. And, I did… Nothing. Nada. Not a thing. Switched to watching TED talks about finding motivation and avoiding procrastination… And, still did nothing.
Finally, I arrive here in Sunny Singapore, where I now sit, and due to holidays, people coming, people going, the loss of some horses etc etc, I have a whole heap less lessons that usual, and you know what? My sanity (well, my version of it… Don’t comment please), has been restored. A whole lot of sleep helped. A few 12-hour nights of total utter dead to the world-ness. And, then, several whole afternoons in front of my laptop. I had the time to actually take on a task, work through it and get it done. I haven’t got many things crossed off my list, because most things on there will require months and many, many hours, but the elephant I have been trying to shift up the hill has lightened slightly, he might not be heading up the hill, but at least he isn’t sliding back down it.
I had a close friend who always said to me, if three different people come up to you and say the same thing, it is the universe trying to send you a message. Well, a friend and pupil came up to me on arrival in Singapore, gave me a big hug and said, you really look like you need a rest – and she was the sixth person in the last month to say something along the lines of – you need a rest, when is there YOU time, you gonna get sick soon etc. And you know what? It was the universe taking out a big hammer. By having less lessons booked, it removed a huge amount of time issues, gave me time to breathe, and now that I have started getting things done, they are flowing along beautifully. This week has been incredibly productive, and I have started to feel human again. I have a hectic time again between now and Christmas, when I will really be taking a holiday, but this 10 days of respite has really stopped me grinding to a halt.
Which leads me to think about riders and horse owners. How often do riders say, I HAVE to get to ride my horse – he waits for his turn to work… You know what. He doesn’t. He doesn’t aspire to jump higher, practice his half pass or get to the next Olympics. If he has access to paddocks, can self-exercise and bumble around, has friends, food, water and shelter, he is perfectly happy to have some down time while you have your down time. My own horses often seemed to come back better after a rest, having had a chance to learn to horse again, rather than be a sporting partner. If he lives in a stable and has no access to turn out, then yes, you need to do something with him, but maybe hack out, turn out into an area if there are no paddocks, loose lunge, do some liberty work, something or anything that is different.
For the rider too, take some time out. Try out a new sport or hobby. Go for a walk, swim, hit the gym, lie on the couch with a book or go off to a tropical island for a week. Its easy to get bogged down in life, but you know what? Sometimes we need to stop, or else our body will break and stop us for longer!!! What are you going to do for your break?