Double the trouble

Well, my ability to write anything of any substance, has been fogged over the past weeks by the arrival of the pressure cooker, aka the ‘festive period’ and all that goes with it; school concerts, nativities, Christmas nights out, excessive eating, drinking baileys for dessert and generally indulging in behaviour and being in situations, that sometimes makes you feel anything but merry. And this prolonged period of stress, followed by the turn of the new year into what feels like an eternity until the next pay day, can take its toll on many. There are no guidelines to the pressure a person can take, there’s no recommended weight load, or restrictions put in place to ensure that breaking point isn’t reached and for some people the boundaries seem to be pushed regularly.

I’m a fan of ‘SAS – who dares wins’, for a variety of reasons 😉 And although one of them is a romantic notion for all things ‘military’, I am genuinely intrigued by how people react in certain circumstances and the celebrity version of the show really appealed to me. As egos were stripped bare, some dug deep to reach the summit of the challenges and others barely made it to base camp. But the one situation that really interested me, was the competitor that didn’t know their own limits. The ever-reasonable Ant Middleton had to advise them to leave the program, explaining that the person that keeps pushing themselves is more of a liability than someone that knows when to stop before they break. But how could you know your limit, unless you pushed to it and equally, how could you not know your limit when you reach it?

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If we were given a sneak preview of what life held in store for us, most people would say “no thanks, I couldn’t cope if all that happened,” but people are amazing and every day they can overcome huge adversity, just to find their happy place. And I do think, that although I wish at times things weren’t so tough for people, that you do need to push yourself, not to find your breaking point, but to find your way back to your comfort zone.

So, when the winter weather starts to bite at my heals, it generally signals the start of a tough time for horse owners, a time when even the simplest of daily duties such as going to the muck heap can make you feel like you are an Arctic explorer. So this is possibly not the best time to take on another ex-racer for re-training? ….. and Tag and I were getting on just fine, but my life must have been too calm, so I decided to pile on a lot more pressure.

Well I mean I didn’t just run down to the nearest trainer and grab the horse that was going the slowest round the gallop, but I had heard something that I couldn’t unhear, which was that a horse that I had followed during his racing career was going to be retired. Well of course I had to go and see him and then I gave him a lunge and then I might have found my foot in the stirrup, as I went for a short ride around the paddock. And yes, I am aware that bringing any new addition into a family, whether human or horse, is not one to be taken lightly and particularly now that the kids are older, I realise the impact bringing pets and people into their life has on them. With fewer barriers, or the cautionary reserve used by a ‘life-experienced’ adult, the kids hearts are open, making them fall in love quickly, showing emotions that are raw and innocent, like they should be. So, I didn’t rush into this, but as Megan quickly changed her screensaver to a picture of her holding (and possibly kissing…) our new addition, I realised things had gotten serious.

When our family upgraded from one to two children, I was prepared for the difficulties I’d experienced becoming a mum for the first time. Turning 30 and having my first baby, happened within months of each other and I don’t know what shocked me more! Having been fiercely independent for, well forever, revolving my day around a 7llb7oz bundle of seemingly endless demands, was completely life altering and the biggest learning curve I had ever been on. But there was always the hope that Megan would have a sibling, and as her 9llb5oz little brother, crashed into the world, I was match fit, but felt like I hadn’t slept in nearly two years. As the workload more than doubled, it all became a blur of nappies, tantrums and giggles and not necessarily in that order. My son turned out to be a very straightforward baby; eating, sleeping, puking (he always overfilled his tank) and repeat, but I did wonder was that because my ability to fulfill his demands was halved?

When the kids were a bit older, they came into my work with me and as my son surveyed my desk and the nice photos of Tag (well obviously), and a few of his older sister, he asked me; “Mummy where’s the photos of me?” As I reassured him that his wee face was imprinted on my memory and I didn’t need a photo to remind me of how gorgeous he was…… I realised that as I had been attempting to discipline a two year old, while feeding a baby with a bottle (that I held in place with my chin), while making a cheese sandwich, I’d had no time to capture it on film and that my primary instinct was to get through each day in one piece! So, yes, I was suitably nervous adding another horse into the mix, when I know that the work doesn’t double it seems to triple!

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Riding a new horse again means that every outing is a set of firsts; first car/trailer/jeep/truck/bike/motorbike/calves/sheep and so it goes on, so it does make it all a bit more nerve-wracking and makes the outings on Tag seem so much easier! I jump on him and off I go knowing exactly what to expect and having the confidence on him to find his ‘mini dramas’ quite amusing rather than worrying. But I wasn’t completely prepared for how difficult it would be managing two demanding horses around the daily routine of home life and sure enough it all got a bit too much for me. And whether it was the benefit of a bit more maturity or the fact that I am a bit more mature (old) and I couldn’t keep up, I realised I was hitting my limit. I know the amount of work it took to get Tag to where he is and I knew that I was going to struggle to have the time and energy to go through it all again and enjoy Tag at the same time.

So, I made the decision that the newbie would be better off with someone else. I was sure I heard Tag breathe a sigh of relief as the empty trailer came back, but I was sad to see him go. I know he will have a great future and I am sorry I won’t get to be part of that, but it wasn’t meant to be. By pushing myself out of my comfort zone with how much I could handle at one time and then reducing the pressure, it has brought me back to a much more relaxed place and I realise just how comfortable I am just having Tag and how that actually makes life much more manageable and less stressful.

Life can be a bit of an extreme sport, pushing people in unexpected directions, but realising that there is no shame in going down another route and making changes which can help you gain a bit of control of anything that is controllable, is actually quite liberating.

#twobecomesone #onlyhorsesthough #thekidscanstay #imustbegettingold #tagdoesnotmind #heisgettingoldtoo #antmiddletonisgreat #verycleverman 😉

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