I remember years ago I was washing a pony one Saturday afternoon in preparation for a show on the Sunday.
It was pouring with rain. I don’t mean your average downpour. It was as though somebody up there was tipping a very big bucket of water over everything, for hours on end. The pony was tied up outside, and all I really needed to do was dribble a little shampoo along his back and let the downpour do the rest.
The horrible weather had an effect on my mood. I worked myself up into quite a temper.
“What on earth am I doing?” I thought. “Any sane person would be inside watching a lovely old film on TV, while I am out here in all this. If it carries on til tomorrow, the pony will be sopping wet, the children will be sopping wet, the tack will be sopping wet, and I will be sopping wet, and for what? A soggy rosette or two? I must be mad. We should cancel, and just stay at home.”
As I grumbled away to myself, my then seven-year-old daughter wandered up. She had been given the job of putting all her showing things on the lorry, and now she was at a loose end. She could tell something was up.
“What’s the matter mum?”
“This is ridiculous!” I exploded. “What are we thinking? We shouldn’t be going to a show in this weather! It will be horrible!” And on I ranted, in much the same vein.
She waited for me to run out of steam.
“Well,” she said placidly. “By tomorrow, it will probably have stopped raining. And even if it hasn’t, we’ll have a lovely time anyway”.
She was right. By the next day, it had stopped raining. And we did have a lovely time.
They do say that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, and horsey people are very good at embracing whatever is thrown at them. When you have put in all the preparation — from the weeks of schooling to the last-minute plaiting and polishing, you are not going to let a bit of adverse weather put you off heading out for a competition, and over the years, unless something has actually been cancelled, we have always turned up.
So last weekend was a bit of a turning point. The forecast was shocking for both Saturday and Sunday, and we had entered a one-day event on the Sunday.
My daughter had a lesson in the pouring rain on Saturday morning. We got home, and for the first time ever, in a moment of telepathy, we realised that neither of us wanted to go next day. We would be driving there in pouring rain, walking the cross-country in pouring rain, tacking up in pouring rain, changing clothes and tack for the different disciplines in pouring rain… Then we were worried about how our horse would cope with the ground, and to round it all off, it was highly likely that the lorry would get stuck in the mud to prevent a quick getaway. We just couldn’t see the fun in any of it. So we didn’t go.
Can anyone sympathise with this? Does it mean I am turning into a lightweight? Do I need to man up as the winter approaches? Or is it OK to throw in the towel sometimes?
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