Defrost the Fun!

Defrost the Fun!


I am so excited! But first of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this post. I would also like to apologise in advance, as the sudden need to put thoughts and feelings into words, may well render this a meandering and somewhat garbled journey.

Having recently purchased a ‘Best Friend’s’ bareback pad with the view to once again sitting upon my cob cross Harry, I was perusing Youtube for a visual answer to my questions regarding bareback riding. My searches bore little fruit in terms of addressing my concerns, but, to be truthful, that was unlikely, given I was not being entirely honest in my question. I am sure if I had entered, ‘What to do when you are scared witless about getting on the back of your horse after a year off’, I may have had more success.

Anyway. As often happens on the Interweb, one click, led to many and then, something wonderful appeared! It was a video by Emma Massingale. You may well know who she is, but up until an hour ago, I did not. What I was watching was incredible. The things Emma achieved with her horses yes, but more than that, her ‘no rules’ philosophy and the elements of play and fun which shone through each of her examples. Unfortunately, I did not get to watch the clip in its entirety as the children returned home from school and it is considered rude to ignore ones children. However, as soon as decency permitted, I subscribed to Emma’s newsletter and found a demonstration not too far from where I live!

All of this is great, but the really HUGE thing I got from all of this, was an amazing renewal of well, confidence I suppose. Or inspiration, or motivation. I am not sure how best to describe it, but I felt as if I had been simply plodding through the winter, head down, gritted teeth, chucking out hay, and doing chores but not really feeling it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my horses and thank my lucky stars every day that I have them. I always give them a kiss and a rub, but perhaps, cold, wet and time stretched, the fun part had been quietly hibernating.

It was this hibernation of fun which led me, I believe, to seeking answers to my bareback pad quandary on the internet. Even to acknowledging the quandary at all. What happened to just having fun? To playing? To not having to follow set rules or procedures? To just enjoying horses, as horses? Last summer Harry and I manged to weave posts at liberty, quite spontaneously one evening. It was an amazing feeling, and I am sure Harry thought so too. When we stopped, he stood there, looking at me. I told him he was a clever boy and said, “Go be horsey now”, meaning, you don’t have to play any more. He just stood there as if to say, “No, lets do it again!”. So we did. And Thistle, my little three year old pony, had a blast investigating a tarpaulin I dragged out to the paddock. (Harry was happy to leave this game to the baby!)

So, with spring, just about sprung, the time for fun and playfulness is almost upon us once again! Thank goodness I stumbled upon Emma Massingale and her fantastic inspirational video! I don’t think I will be standing on the backs of my horses just yet, but I am sure Harry and I are going to have a lot of fun with the bareback pad! And as for the meandering and garbled writing, I am starting to think that meandering and garbled is the way forward in most things.

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About the author

Stacey Chamberlain

Stacey Chamberlain is the proud owner of Harry, a 14.2hh Cob x Dales pony. Stacey has always been a lover of horses and indeed all animals, but only experienced the privilege of horse ownership at the age of forty. From riding at a young age and viewing horses in the traditional equestrian sense, Stacey has learnt that her previous views are flawed. Stacey and Harry are now embarking on a new and growing friendship. A journey Stacey shares through her personal narrative. Stacey works as a dog walker and home boarder at her home in Leicestershire where she lives with her family and her own two dogs.


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