Chapter Six – Routinely helpful

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At Scarva, thanks to the military style of management, the routine was finely tuned and it ensured that we all finished for 5pm each evening and could have a bit of a life outside of the yard. I have since worked in yards where the routine is very flexible and the boss might have decided to clip a horse late the evening before a competition, or have that one extra schooling session. I would now compare this to how I feel when I’m trying to put the kids to bed after a long day, and they want another drink of water, a particular teddy, another pee, their FAVOURITE story, and I have nothing left in the tank to cope with these additional demands. Routine is designed to make sure that you can allocate your mental and physical energy accordingly, when the lines are fuzzy you would think it would make you feel more free, I generally think it makes people and horses more drained. Hence the reason if you lie about all day you feel more tired.

As I’ve struggled to raise two children in a household where my self-employed husband is trying desperately to ensure that there is enough financially for a growing family, routine has been my saviour and imperative in keeping every plate spinning and a work/life balance. Having the horses at home means that their routine is dictated by me and not the arrival of another livery owner or the feed cart. In this situation you begin to realise that you do everything the exact same way every time and getting help can actually become tricky as it becomes clear that you are totally set in your ways.

Following Scarva I returned to college to finish my HND and continued on to graduate with a BSc Honours in Equine Science – how do you like that careers officer? Well no one was more surprised than me by what I had achieved and I found myself really ready to take on the world. By graduation day many of my fellow students hadn’t decided what to do yet, but I had gained an offer from the army to go in as an officer or go to Australia to groom for a showjumper. I heard my mum breathe a sigh of relief as I said I was going to Oz. Admittedly most parents would worry about this and I won’t say mine didn’t, but I had moved out at 18, I was now 23 and I was going to go straight into a job with horses. No backpacking required. It’s all about perspective, I think the threat of the army made Australia sound good and I think the thought of me hitchhiking round the southern hemisphere, made working with showjumpers sound good!

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