Surviving the Holidays

25 Jul

I wish I could write enjoying the holidays, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate.

We managed a fortnight away in the New Forest, at the place we usually stay, and I had erroneously thought this would be two weeks of calm relaxation and joyful days out. Sadly, there were numerous meltdowns and episodes of crying to go home, as both the younger ones struggled with the change to a new environment.

Thankfully, ponies came to the rescue. We stay on a working horse “farm” for want of a better word, and the yard is always busy, either with the the owners tacking up a pony for a Hackney carriage-driving lesson, or someone who keeps their ponies there coming to muck out and feed their charges. All the offspring love horses and the place is safe enough to allow them to wander off. If Small Girl went missing, she was always found either petting the nose of someone stabled, or hanging over a fence enticing a reluctant pony to advance with the offer of a piece of carrot.

One owner, Jeannie, who we’ve known for years, was grateful to have extra pairs of hands to cart bales of hay and help sweep up, and we really developed a friendship this summer. I hadn’t deemed it necessary to book a hack in advance for the kids, but it turned out that due to high demand, there was no way the younger two could get to ride, as they need to be led. They were very down about this until Jeannie offered a solution.

And so we became owners for a day! Teddy the Shetland arrived in a horse box and was unloaded into a paddock. The children were thrilled. After he’d had a quick chomp of grass they (with the help of responsible Teen Girl) led him to the yard for a thorough grooming, before he was led back to the paddock where they took turns riding him.

A lead rein and bareback is very different from a saddle and all the “proper” tack, and like this, the roles of the two kids were reversed. SB who generally has a good seat and seems confident in the saddle struggled to remain upright and seated, whereas SG who sometimes resembles the proverbial sack of potatoes on horseback seemed to find the challenge of bareback riding one she was more than equal to, and rode like she was born to it.

Teddy stayed with us all day, and was collected by Jeannie that evening, brushed till he shone, and having trotted for what seemed like miles up and down the paddock, but was probably in reality no more than several hundred yards. The kids didn’t miraculously turn into the calmest people on the planet, but their pony day went a long way to reassuring them that not everything had changed.

And after all the meltdowns? The day we packed the car to come home, SB looked around the empty apartment with a sad face and declared, “I hope we can come back next year.”

image

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7 Responses to “Surviving the Holidays”

  1. AutismMumma July 25, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Ponies are lovely for calming our children. I hope you get back there next year, I’ll come and find you!

    • ouremuk66 July 25, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

      I hope so too J, I love it there so much. It’s like home from home. Ponies are awesome, all my lot ride and it’s definitely a calming experience.

  2. Tracy July 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

    This is a lovely post. It’s wonderful when they find something they love isn’t it? The smile on his face says it all. 🙂 X

    • ouremuk66 July 26, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      This photo is my favourite of the whole holiday. Seeing him so relaxed and happy makes everything worthwhile.

      • Tracy July 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

        It’s those ‘moments’ that make it all OK isn’t it? I live for them. X

  3. simpleijustdo July 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    It’s amazing how grounding animals can be!

    • ouremuk66 July 26, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      It really is, and SB especially has a rapport with animals, dogs in particular. If we can sort our lives out, I think we need to investigate getting one. I’m sure it would help him no end,

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