Monday, 18 November 2013

What a Year!

It was Buddy’s anniversary of arriving at Rockley Farm on Saturday and after a wonderful video (which definitely didn’t give me leaky eyes) from Nic and a guest spot on the Rockley blog this morning I thought it was apt to reflect on the last 12 months.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
My first visit to see Le Donks
Buddy’s diagnosis last September called an end to all my competitive hopes and wildest dreams of competing at a 1* event and after a grim prognosis from my vet, plus my previous experience with my last horse, I was convinced that PTS would most probably be the final answer and I was devastated. After contacting Nic and feeling that glimmer of hope that things *may* not have to be as devastatingly final I still didn’t dare to dream about anything and my competitive aims were shelved and the objective of just being able to hack my horse out comfortably and without bute was the highest I dared to aim for. I missed Buddy terribly whilst he was away and I think it would be fair to say that only the cold winter nights I would have far rather been covered in mud and freezing cold rather than sitting at home feeling despondent and rather depressed!

As time went on and Buddy’s feet began to change that glimmer of hope got bigger and bigger. Each blog post was read, re-read and read again. My first ride at the 6 week point was awesome (and terrifying) and then the 8 week soundness was a dream come true. On one of my last visits I remember Nic saying that she thought Buddy should do an event in the 2013 season (or words to that effect) and whilst I nearly fell off in surprise I also felt full of happiness and pride that my little donkey had the potential to fulfil all my dreams despite everything he had been through.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
We have been on an onward trajectory ever since, every time I think of our first competition I feel very proud and I owe Nic so much as without her and all her hard work Buddy would probably have been PTS or been a fluffy teddy bear in a field and I would have been horseless, heartbroken and miserable. We’ve had highs and lows but since we moved yards in June and I have been surrounded by incredibly supportive people who want us to succeed all the bad things about being barefoot have been taken away and we are headed in the right direction.

Go Buddy from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

I am not taking anything for granted, I appreciate every second with my amazing horse and each sound day is a blessing but after being at the RRR in September I realised that I cannot live my life being haunted by what has been before. Buddy is sound today, back competing (and getting 8’s for his paces) and if we hadn’t been on the journey of the past year I wouldn’t have a second thought about planning for the future and pushing the boundaries. So, in celebration of that, I have written down my event plan for next season (in pencil as Buddy is still a horse and you never know what might happen!!) and my training from today is planned around that first event date in March 2014. My long term aim now is to qualify for Badminton Grassroots if Buddy settles into being a barefoot event horse.

Happy anniversary Buddy, you are my horse of a lifetime, here’s to many, many more!