Thursday, 29 August 2013

Horse Riding Therapy

by Bex

I mentioned recently on instagram/Twitter that I'd been in a bit of a slump.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a difficult weekend feeling down and found it very difficult to motivate myself to do anything other than write about happier times in Malaysia and watch re-runs of Buffy in my pyjamas!  I couldn't even be bothered with retail therapy!  I knew I should get up and do some exercise but finding the motivation when you're in that bad place, feeling sorry for yourself, it's hard.  I even know at the time that I should snap out of it and get on with life but I just keep wallowing.  It never lasts, luckily, but I do wish it never happened at all.  Sometimes I just can't help thinking about the bad what-ifs in our current situation.

Anyway, I did eventually snap out of it.  I got out my new BBC Good Food magazine and tore out my favourite recipes (for my never ending recipe folder project) and found loads I fancied making.  I sat down and planned the week's dinners and went out for all the ingredients.  That weekend I had a recipe for 6 I wanted to make so we invited people over.  Roz and B joined us for dinner on Saturday and the roast chicken we planned to share with Sarah on Sunday turned into a Sunday Roast for 7 when old friends texted to say they were in town so we popped out for a second chicken!  It was just what I needed, having things to keep me occupied and lots of lovely people around :)

I felt much better the following week and planned a day out with my friend (and nurse) Liz to go horse riding in Edinburgh as I was going through for a blogger event.  It turned out to be seriously good therapy, getting out in the fresh, foggy, air and back on a horse for the first time in about a year!  I always get bitten by the bug again but it's usually a very expensive hobby costing £25 for an hour.

Liz's Mum lives on a farm estate near Edinburgh and Liz has become friends with someone there who owns two horses and assists her in looking after and riding them whenever she goes to visit.  The owner is currently unable to ride so Liz has been exercising both of them and invited me to join her as we've ridden together before at a local stables and she knew I was a competent rider.

Me in all my old riding gear.
(Of course I have green jodhpurs!)

Storm and Sasha in the fog

We had so much fun!  Liz was very excited to introduce me to the horses and show me the estate and the views she's always talking about at work.  Sadly, the views didn't quite work out as it was ultra foggy, but we had a brilliant long ride out together and I can honestly say it absolutely changed how I've been feeling.

Me on Sasha, raring to go!

The fact they are privately owned horses makes such a difference too as, although I was a little nervous at the start to be riding a young horse I didn't know, it means we can just go out on our own, for as long as we want and at whatever pace we choose.  There's no following along the one in front, having to stay in single file.  I soon got to know Sasha and felt quite comfortable on her, she responds really well to your voice so whenever I would see her ears going at the sound of pheasants (extremely annoying birds but they only spooked her once by flying out all of a sudden) or a tractor coming, she would stay calm as I chattered away to her in my best soothing tones.  We ended up being out for 3 hours, stopping to take photos, having a wee go over the cross country jumps (just the little ones!) and chatting while trotting along side by side.  :)

Sasha and Storm

It was also nice (and good exercise) to get them in from the field, groom and tack them up then feed them when we got back and turned them back out to the field.  It reminded me of when I used to work at my local stables when I was a teenager and worked for free rides.  I enjoy caring for the horses almost as much as actually getting out riding :)  I just love being around these animals!

Sasha showing off her beautifully picked hooves ;)

Lots of swallows at the farm

Foggy, mystical views

This is apparently what you can see on a clearer day (from Liz's phone)

Liz and I jumping 

Sasha was fine going over the little jump, but at the second barrel one she kept refusing and skipping round it at the last second!  we did eventually get her over but I didn't get any photos of me jumping.  

The fog got even worse after that and what should have apparently been a beautiful view of the water and Cramond Island was just a wall of grey...

It did make for some even more magical photos in the woods though!

We went past someone's house with some seriously cool bushes with groovy hairstyles!

 And could just about make out the Forth Rail Bridge...

Before they had some dinner and we put them back out in the field with some mint imperial treats...

Drooling all over me!

Only 2 birds left

And the best news is, she's already invited me back again next Saturday which works out perfectly as I just happen to be heading through to Edinburgh again to meet up with some lovely Twitter peeps (and AOWers) for afternoon tea!!  :)

And just for Mahj, some pictures of the weekend's food....  ;)

I also made a cake which involved a lot of zesting and juicing!
(I'll share the hilarious result soon!)

Lamb Kleftiko

Nik's awesome roasties!


Unknown said...

Yay! Look forward to meeting you next weekend :)

Amanda M said...

I love the misty photos - they really add atmosphere.

Horses smell so good too, don't they? I'm a rubbish rider but my mum has a horse (now retired. Both actually) so I've been around them a lot. I'm in a slump currently too (with not such a good reason as you) but I don't think a riding lesson will work for me - last time I rode, I feel off and concussed myself! He was over 18 hands and it was a long way down. Especially when you land face first (takes particular skill to do that probably).

Anna K said...

Views, beautiful, horses, incredible, but really you know what we all want is a recipe for Nik's roasties!

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Oh it looks like it was just perfect - your huge smile makes me feel super happy.

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