I have been meaning to write a blog for a very (very) long time but there never seemed to be enough hours in the day and it always ended up being pushed to the bottom of the To Do list. Normally you would not find me sat in my office on a Wednesday afternoon but these are not normal times are they and so here I am. The world we all know seems turned on its head at the moment and we find ourselves sailing on completely unchartered waters.
So I am at home in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown - my house has been dusted and hoovered to within an inch of its life and my office, well lets just say there is floor space now that has not been visible for an extremely long time! In all seriousness, in these uncertain and chaotic times, my need for organisation and the feeling of control that comes with perfectly filed paperwork became mission critical last week. With a newly de-cluttered home - and mind, I am focusing on future plans for my business. We never normally have time to just stop and step off the hamster wheel, re-evaluate, strategise and make proactive plans; often many of the decisions we make are much more reactive than they should be. So I am trying very hard to remain focused on using this time at home constructively and take the opportunity to make positive plans for a return to normal working life.
One of my aims is to keep more connected with my clients and social media followers. With the blog I want to focus on topics which are of genuine interest and value to horse owners. I hope they will give you food for thought and maybe start discussions or further research on the topics that interest you. I am also in discussions to welcome some exciting guest bloggers so watch this space! Most of all, I want to build a sense of community; in these strange times, we are all seeing the value of community – how its power can be felt even, and maybe especially, during social distancing. And let’s face it, if you have stumbled across my blog, website or FB page you are probably already a “PLU” – that’s to say “People Like Us”!! Likeminded people with similar values and ethics when it comes to caring for our equine friends.
Aside from waxing lyric in a blog or two I also have big plans underway for developing my business and offering additional services to my clients which will be exciting and I will keep you posted as and when I can. But this last week hasn't just been about business plans, for my sanity I have felt the need to be in my happy place so I have also spent more time with Mr Paddy than I am usually able to – I am lucky in that I have my own yard with no one else around so I have no limitations on the time I can spend there and hanging out with this big doofus has really kept me grounded.
As an ex-racer with a long and distinguished racing career Paddy has his fair share of issues which I am sure you will hear more about in future blogs. But for now suffice to say that we are using groundwork rehabilitative exercises together with passive and active stretches to great effect. The last week has seen us playing with free schooling and clicker training (one of our fav activities although any attempts at incorporating ground poles goes out the window when following the clicker target – a typical male, no way can Paddy focus on the target AND picking up his feet at the same time!). We’ve also been delving into our repertoire of groundwork exercises working on proprioception, balance and suppleness and with one week and one day of isolation under our belts we are proud to announce that we conquered the single pole challenge on the first attempt! (this is a record). Try it at home with small, controlled steps – no rushing! It is definitely not as easy as it looks but is a great exercise, especially if you currently have limited time at the yard, just look at what this simple exercise does for your horse:
* Helps promote improved movement patterns – when paddy first came to me he travelled almost on 3 tracks – you can see that he still has a tendency to swing his quarters out to the right but his gait and straightness is hugely improved
* Improves co-ordination and proprioception – namely body awareness and communication between the brain and the limbs
* Activates the pelvic stabiliser muscles
* Improves and strengthens the neuromuscular system
I hope you enjoyed my first blog and that, for those of you who are still able to see your horses in these unprecedented times, trying the single pole challenge will take your mind off the bigger picture, even if it is just for a few precious moments.
Keep safe everyone