Why working students are like hobbits…

We eat.

What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?

And eat. And eat and eat.

With all the riding, mucking, grooming and general running around we do, we work up some pretty huge appetites. We never have time to stop and have real meals during the day though, so we tend to graze and snack constantly on anything we can grab quickly as we run past onto the next job.

Our favourite meal of the day is First Dinner – a ritual of heading straight in from the barn each afternoon to sit around feasting and debriefing about our day. It tides us over until we can get organised enough to head out to a restaurant or the store to buy some dinner – though quite often our Second Dinner consists mostly of Marble Slab ice cream and/or alcohol.

I’m just grateful that we work so hard around here, otherwise we’d all be the the size of houses…

The highs and lows…

Most of my posts so far have been full of exciting and positive news, but anyone who has worked with horses knows that it’s not all roses all the time.

I managed to have my first fall here a few days ago… I’d just finished a jog set with one of the other girls and we were cooling the horses out on the way back to the barn, when something in the bushes freaked them out. The other horse shied and ran into mine, and I must have thrown too much weight into one stirrup because I managed to sprain an ankle in the process. Unbalanced and with a saddle that had slipped to the side, I had no chance of staying on when my horse took off sideways, and off I came. I guess I’m lucky I managed to fall on the sandy soil of Aiken rather than the frozen ground back in West Grove!

Shameless product plug for Equifit Ice Boots… Comfortable and effective for both horses and humans!

I ended up with a fat, blue ankle, a sore back and a very bruised ego. Why do falls always have to happen when you have an audience?! Word travels pretty fast around here and within an hour, the news in all the neighbouring barns was that I’d fallen off and broken my leg. I’m glad to report that that’s not the case, and a few days later I’m now walking and riding ok again. I’d sell my soul for an appointment with my physio though, my poor back is pretty unhappy! I’m very grateful to have access to such an extensive equine first aid kit here… Lots of good drugs and anti-inflammatories, ice boots and laser therapy back pads have helped a little. They can’t heal the embarrassment though – hopefully someone else does something dumb some time soon so people will forget about this 😉

Matching cripples!
Back at work with the help of a very firm polo wrap and lots of Sore No More.

Happy hacking

One of my favourite things about being here at Red Oak Farm is being able to ride outdoors again. While I was so in love with the luxury of the indoor arena at True Prospect, after 6 weeks of riding solely indoors, we were all getting a bit of cabin fever. 40 minute jog sets around and around an arena start to get pretty mindless after your 3rd or 4th horse for the day!

Passing through Boyd Martin’s cross country field on Mighty Nice

Mr Medicott enjoying a beautiful sunny morning

There are miles and miles of purpose made trails around Bridle Creek, which are regularly graded to keep them in top shape for hacking and fitness work.

Fernhill Fugitive obeying the road rules

Most days, my job is to either hack out the upper level horses to cool them down after they’ve done flatwork, or doing jog and canter sets on the horses’ fitness days. I’ve been riding out nearly every day and there are still plenty of trails that I haven’t had the chance to explore yet… And yes, I’ve managed to get myself lost a few times!

Icabad Crane – the sweetest little OTTB ever!

William Penn & Automagically

Good Enough, Yarrow & Vanderbilt

Atlas, shortly after being startled by a family of deer

Fernhill Fugitive

I have to admit to having a serious fangirl moment the first time I got to hack out on Mighty Nice and Mr Medicott… It’s not every day you get to go wandering in out such picturesque surroundings on seriously elite horses 🙂

Mighty Nice – and a mighty cheesy grin!