Five years ago when I was expecting my first child, my very horsey lifestyle entered a new, challenging phase. If, like me, you love horses so much that you can’t imagine a life without them – you may know about the difficulties of fitting other elements of your life around your equine passion. For me this was pretty evident from an early age. Like other girls my age, I used to own a few Barbie dolls. Only, my Barbie dolls had 34 horses and ponies.
So I guess you could say I always knew I wanted to have a horse. I knew I wanted a family too, but didn’t really stop to think about it much – until it was imminent. Many years before having my own children, I remember seeing a lady bring her baby to the stables in a pram, parking the pram next to the school and then riding her horse while the baby was sleeping. I remember thinking: “that looks easy enough”.
All through my first pregnancy I was still living under an illusion that this was going to be a walk in the park. I stopped riding after the first trimester - but it was only for a little while, I convinced myself. When I went into labour, amidst contractions, we stopped by the yard to check on the horse. Then we carried on to the hospital. And after that… well, everything changed.
I soon realised that I was never going to be that lady casually riding while my baby was sleeping. I was too paranoid and quite frankly too knackered. Due to having an emergency c-section I wasn’t allowed to even drive to the stables for 6 weeks. Riding was out of the question for a while and even just lugging the baby and car seat to the livery yard began to feel pretty exhausting.
When I fell pregnant for the second time, I thought things would be different. I was fit and back in the saddle again. We had moved into our new house, which meant my horse lived at home with us now. What I hadn’t factored in was that with a baby + toddler, time left for horse was next to none.
It hasn’t exactly been easy, but I finally feel like I am at stage where I can relax and enjoy things. I am even gaining my first taste of being a pony-mum since my 4-year-old started taking riding lessons. So if you are with child and with horse, you may be in for a challenging period, but just bear with it and it will get easier… and if you are one of those ladies schooling their horse while their baby sleeps in the pram, I applaud you :)