In The Saddle: Lame and laid up - and that’s just me!

Anita Marsh
Anita Marsh

So, ask me right now if I am enjoying keeping my horse and I might have a totally different answer than my usual enthusiastic nodding of my head.

Why? Well, as I sit here and write my latest column, I’m currently sat with my leg up on the sofa.

That’s right. It’s not the horse that’s lame. It’s me!

I’d like to be able to tell you it happened through something exciting, like we were out hunting and came off after jumping a huge ditch.

But no, sadly, I have pinged the ligament and strained it by simply running up the stairs.

As you can imagine winter is the most difficult time to keep any outdoor animals. Horses, I think, are even worse.

For a start, with the shorter days, they are naturally in their stable a lot more.

Apart from the added expense of buying in more hay and bedding, there is so much more to muck out and clean up.

Then, on the frosty days, there’s the water troughs to break the ice on and rugs to change at night (horses too have PJs – called stable rugs).

There’s more hay to stuff into hay nets and mud to clean from their legs to avoid skin problems developing, such as mud fever.

Although there is no perfect time to damage my knee, summer would have been a little easier than winter.

My mare April is usually exercised 4-5 times a week in winter (a little more in summer) but this week I’ve had to admit defeat and listen to the doctor in order to heal quicker.

That’s meant I’m not able to do all the jobs I’ve just mentioned, nor am I able to exercise her either. I’m totally frustrated.

How am I managing? Well, luckily for me, a friend of mine has been able to hack out my horse for me whilst she’s been off work.

We don’t have a ménage (fenced off arena which enables you to exercise horses) at home so it’s a case of hacking out at the moment, so we don’t churn up the field and make it muddy.

Luckily April is a pleasure under saddle and is wonderful to hack out, passing trucks and buses perfectly.

Lyndsey has ridden her in the back field last year, when she rode her out with me walking beside her – she’s very experienced and capable.

She’s also done the school runs for me as our daughters are in the same class at school,. And I’ve had help from her mucking out too.

My husband is not horsey so, although he’s done the mucking out, it’s not quite as good as I’d like.

I can’t grumble either. I just have to be grateful and find it difficult not to sound like I’m giving orders out from the comfortable position of the sofa.

Hopefully, by the time you read this, I’ll be back in the saddle again, if only for a gentle walk out.

In the meantime, thanks to Lyndsey (pictured) for her horsey help and Janet for school runs. I’m just pleased we haven’t found a pony yet for my daughter or I think my husband would have divorced me. One horse is quite enough right now.

* Follow Anita on Twitter @InTheSaddleBlog.