As the time comes around again to another landmark event in the horsey calendar – Dublin Horse Show – I really can’t believe that another year has passed, something I seem to say more often with every birthday. Preparation for Dublin Horse Show in 2018, will be no different than it was this time last year; buying endless snacks, drinks and scouring the house for all those stray euros that never hold as much value as they do when you are going on a ‘road-trip’ into the ‘euro-zone’. Of course every year I wonder, ‘will I be travelling with the horse next year to compete at one of my most favourite shows?’ And maybe some year I will, but not this year and that’s fine, I’m quite sure if it is going to happen it will, but at the right time. They say ignorance is bliss and last year it definitely was, as I spent three glorious days in a horsey bubble at the RDS, with my daughter and good friends, only to find myself admitted to hospital a week after we came home. I don’t really get sick, but having broken many bones over the years and having two children I have tested my pain threshold several times and I know I’m not a wimp. But four days after the team chase had finished their nail biting finale in the main arena at the show, I was getting intra-venous pain relief and antibiotics, for my gall bladder that had decided to go into early retirement.
With the prospect of days in hospital (five in the end), my friend tried to convince me that I should treat it as a mini-break. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I think a change is as good as a rest, but really this was taking the biscuit. Firstly, I was in pain and secondly I had my family and the horses to consider. As I’ve mentioned before, the horses being at my doorstep is a dream come true and to be able to look out of my bedroom window and see my four-legged friends, content in the field, is a priceless thing. But when you are the linchpin that holds their routine together, sick days are not allowed. So as my non-horsey husband wrestled with a rather disgruntled Thoroughbred, I spent five days nil by mouth and unable to concentrate on anything more challenging than ‘Take a Break’ magazine and repeats of ‘Come Dine With Me’ on the ipad. When I was discharged, although I was a bit tired, it wasn’t long until I had the horses re-instated at home rather than turned out in the field – which had been the easiest option when I wasn’t there. But as I managed to find myself in and out of hospital six times after that until they finally removed my gall bladder in March 2018, it was a tough autumn/winter and one which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. They say ‘your health is your wealth’ and although this is a very unwelcome cliché when you are on first-name-terms with the receptionist in accident and emergency, it actually is the most frustratingly true statement ever written. I generally live life at 100mph, ignoring the creak of my knees that have had too long in the saddle, elbows and wrists that have held on to one too many three year olds and fingers and thumbs that have plaited more manes and tails than they were ever fit for, and all the while I rely on the fact that my body will keep up with my brain. So of course, I still wanted to go to the Northern Ireland Festival in Cavan, and I had four weeks post-op to get Tag ready.
I had ridden right up to the day before my operation and arranged for Tag to be hacked out a couple of times while I was in recovery – which I allowed myself ten days for! Well, physically I couldn’t have judged it any worse, and in hindsight ten weeks wasn’t even enough time. But mentally I carried on and found myself without a pre-Cavan schooling outing to test my physical strength, but still determined to go. And the rest as they say is history. (and can be seen in previous posts ;-))
Would I do it differently if I had known this time last year what was in front of me? I’m not sure if I would. I wouldn’t change a thing about Cavan, but I think everything was starting to catch up with me by Balmoral Show and the strain of my head being responsible for holding my body up, was wearing me down mentally, and suddenly I felt very tired.
Mind over matter is a very powerful thing, but it is always a work in progress as life continually throws new challenges at us, and the balance can tip one way or the other; what goes up, can always come down. It is a tonic to have horses to focus on and the motivation of a horse show can work wonders for anyone, but it is also important to listen to our bodies. As horsewomen and men, physical capability is tested on a daily basis and the aches and pains are not felt as much as when we stop, but sometimes the answer to that problem might not be to keep going, but to take a break. So it’s off to Dublin we go. Hoping for as much fun as we had last year, without the drama afterwards!
#iwantarealminibreak #similarroutinebutwithfood #eatsleepdrinkrepeat #similartrolleybutwithpringlesandprosecco #itsoktoslowdown #justabitanyway