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  • Samantha Lissington

Lockdown in Spring

So, Spring - we were blessed with phenomenal weather and now I have some of the worst tan lines of my life! The horses all came back into proper work and the new green leaves made for a delightful change of scenery out hacking.

Sidenote 32: The birds and the bees are all out, and we were even treated to seeing a very tiny baby deer which was a real highlight!

The change in grass caught us out a little – we weren’t expecting it to be so potent and literally in the space of a week (or precisely the 10 days between the 27th of March and 6rd of April) most of the horses packed on about 30kgs – you wouldn’t think it is possible, but we are lucky enough to have a weigh scale in the cross ties. Sooty was making me nervous with his ever-growing belly, so he was on rations pretty early. And Cabbage has been put on full-force-Jenny-Craig-diet after initially having to let her belly straps out on her rugs (oops!). On the plus side this has done absolute wonders for Rui, having been as low as 500kgs when he was on refusing-to-eat-Burghley-mode, yesterday he was 586kgs which is just so nice to see.

We had some fun during lockdown – including running a board game leaderboard over the space of about 2 months. The final two games were about as close as you could get – it was down to the wire and I managed to come from having not led the entire time to take the official title of “Lockdown Board Game Queen” – it turns out that consistency wins! Brayden actually finished second but lost the most amount of games (most “poos”) so he had to wear the “poo hat” for the following games (bought on Amazon for specifically this reason). Siobhan was safe in middle ground and Georgie finished with the least amount of points and had to do dishes for a week (which she did so graciously).

Sidenote 33: We also produced a little video series over Badminton weekend starring Kiara and the team, check it out if you haven’t seen it.

On the horse front we have done a few “practice days” at home recently. Without competitions I felt the need to dream up something to play for, and after putting it to the table we decided upon beer… or rather the abstinence of beer! And so, for every rail I have down, I have to go one day without a beer. Arguably I’m more motivated to keep the rails up than ever before! Last time Chichi had two down and Ricky had one – so it was three days without a beer that week (tough times).

We have made a pretty serious focus to improve our dressage – It will be a long-term game but I’m really enjoying the challenge of that and being able to put the time and effort in. Patience is not my strong point, so it’s been great to be able to focus on this without the distraction of events on the horizon. We have another practice dressage day planned for this Saturday, so hopefully we might be able to see some little improvements.

Siobhan and Georgie are actually currently outside my bedroom window - beavering away in this Springtime sun planting flowers (on what was our rather-neglected-garden-patch).

Sidenote 34: Our neighbours are stoked, one even said “oh well done girls that was really bothering me”. Lol!

But wait, it’s 2.25pm on a Thursday – where are the horses I hear you say?

Well, we have just started our “Summer routine”. The UK has these horrible massive flies that bite the horses (horse flies), resulting in terrorised ponies and a few bucks (which aren’t required dressage movements). On the plus side, horseflies only come out in the heat of the day, and you can avoid them because daylight hours are so long (currently sunrise is 4.51am and sunset is 9.04pm).

So, we leave the house at 5.45am, bring the horses into the cool fly-free barn and ride until about 11am. Then we head home for the middle of the day, and then the horses go back out in the afternoons from 4.30pm onwards.

As we get busier we will have to start earlier to get everything done but this is fine for now. We are actually all really enjoying the change – it is nice to have the riding done so early in the day!

Sidenote 35: Horseflies don’t like shade, but they are attracted to trees (don’t ask me why), which is why the Buttermere property is particularly prone to them.

The horse market seems to be moving again – I think everyone has gone away, thought about their life choices and now has some clarity about what they want going forward (more horses, obviously).

We have just sold Roxy to a lovely amateur rider, who has said that at her yard they have re-named her “the legend” because she is such a total joy (sounds like Roxy is living her best life!) Cabbage has just been put on the market and we now have spaces for some new equine faces when the schooler and competing side of things gets moving (or if anyone has decided on "more horses" in their life - get in touch and we would love to find some longer term prospects for the future!)

Siobhan has been determined to injure herself and has rolled her ankle twice – poor thing was pretty lame for a few days there and I think she got more time off than she bargained for!

We had a week or two where my impatience was getting the better of me before we had news about the eventing season, as soon as I heard British Showjumping might be opening up I registered our horses – over 400 pounds later we are set to go whenever we can haha!

But the REALLY good news is that a couple of weeks later it was announced that eventing is due to start on the 4th of July. We are all so excited to have some new adventures to share (or at least something a little more captivating than gardening, board games and horse flies).

Hope you are all safe and well.




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