It's hard to know where to start a blog when you've been planning on doing it for seven years! I thought I would start with now because in truth 2020 could have been our last year. No one could have predicted how the whole Covid - 19 pandemic was going to affect us all. As luck would have it, I had decided to go and work for someone else for the first time in 15 years and felt relatively safe financially - yet utterly miserable because I honestly thought all camps would be cancelled for the entire year.
I think the pandemic has led many of us to reflect on our lives. For me it made me realise just how much running camps meant to me. I live in a dark pit of despair in winter. I'm like a bear who wants to hibernate but financially that doesn't work! No one is going to pay me to hunker down in a cave and sleep for 6 months of the year. So I drag myself out, cheer myself up by running trainings up at Knightswood and at Chyverton, wonder where the next haylage payment is coming from and LIVE for the beginning of camp season! There isn't anything else that I love doing as much.
It's hard to put a finger on why. It's hard work but it's not stressful (apart from doing groups and stables and praying I don't upset people!) and it feels like I am making a difference. I think we all want some significance in life. Purpose. For me I live by the mantra, 'I just want you to be happy'. It sounds simple, but for many of us in this day and age, being happy is anything but simple. I appreciate that we can't be happy all the time. Without a bit of hardship and misery, we would have no idea what happiness was! But surely a good 80% of our lives should be that way - otherwise, what is the point?
I don't believe in doing anything that doesn't make me happy. That's one of the reasons I've recently handed my notice in at my safe job. I loved it, but the contrast between the unity, the team work and the sheer joy being part of camp, was just too much for me. I want to be with your guys. I want to meet all of your gorgeous horses and watch you all achieve. The transformation over such a short space of time can be HUGE! And it is so wonderful to see. I can feel the euphoria. When you become overwhelmed by tears because something awesome has happened, I want to (and often do!) cry with you! I understand those feelings. Horses can be so frustrating, so challenging and hard to master, there is just so much to learn and each horse is an individual. So sometimes, just the smallest thing can feel like a major step forward. Like when my dear Tara managed to get left canter lead in the school TWICE in one session and everyone else around me was wondering why this crazy lady was laughing and scratching her horses neck, shouting 'Good, girl! Good girl!' Over and over again. It's the little things.
And choosing only to do things that make me happy, doesn't mean that I quit when the going gets tough, it just means that I can recognise that something isn't serving me well, that there are better ways to live and thrive than by doing something you don't like. I believe the key to my happiness is never being afraid to leave a job or relationship. Believing in myself, knowing that I am a fighter and I will find away to support my family and my animals. Maybe I'm weird, because I love hard work, I love to be challenged, these things make me happy! But I think us horsey folk are all the same. How many of us build a great relationship with our horses, get to the point where everything is pretty much perfect, then decide to buy a new one? I can't part with them, so I collect them and share them in my Riding Pool! But I've designed my life so I can do that. I can only do that if I have some faith in myself.
This year I've been doing talks for you all. It would never have happened if it wasn't for Covid-19 because our speakers would have been there. But it's funny how things happen. I started them because it was making me so sad listening to you all beat yourselves up about not being good enough. I've been there. I still go there! But I know that we don't have to feel like that. We spend hours telling ourselves how rubbish we are, but fail to recognise how far we've come. So many of you told me you didn't have goals. But I know that's not true. I know that none of you want your horse to come out of the stable, breathing fire, running you over, biting you, kicking you and bucking like a rodeo pony when you get on! True? So your goal is that your horse is calm, content, trained to not walk on you, will stand whilst you get on and walk away quietly when you ask him to. Let's face it, sometimes in spring achieving that goal can be hard, but it's still a daily goal! How often do you achieve that? How often do you celebrate it? You're dealing with a huge beast who could chose to do his own thing quite easily. Yet how often do we just stand and marvel at the fact that he will walk by us, come to us for scratches in the field, stay in a stable or get in a trailer?! I said it's the little things but actually these things are massive. If you don't believe me, go and talk to an unhandled 5 year old horse, you'll soon be grateful for your occasionally unpredictable but well mannered horse!
I hope these talks have helped you to appreciate that you are good enough. That if you look back you will realise that you've achieved loads and it was all because of you. No one else. And that those achievements are the things that matter to you. I'm sure most if you don't have to get stupidly excited about a left canter lead, but I do, because I know the journey that we've been on to get that left lead. You know your journeys. You know your horse. Are you are enough. Perhaps I will keep doing these talks next season. Maybe I will plan something for November for our first winter camps. Is there anything you're really struggling with? Let me know, tell me what your dreams look like. Let's see if together we can help you get there.
Because of you guys, my year has been utterly awesome, my dreams live on and I thank you all so much for being there, for being part of camp. For playing your part. For caring for and about each other and your horses. You're all superstars in my eyes xx
Hey Folks, I'm Lorraine and the picture is of one of my horses Tara - in our office! I really am the luckiest person alive to get to do what I do.