Even being a bit of fair-weather rider these days (and getting worse with each winter!), I’ve still been to a few yards over the last few months for meetings with riders, and couldn’t fail to notice that surrounding every top rider are a selfless team of hardworking staff who ride and care for their horses, 365 days a year, whatever the weather!
And it never ceases to amaze me how these (often slight, tiny and young) girls can be seen trekking over miles of mud to put out bales of hay in the fields and topping up water troughs as far as away as the eye can see in the winter snow. Despite the fact that I go to the gym regularly, they have a fitness level which puts me to shame, and have a hidden strength which make carrying bags of feed and wheelbarrows of manure across rough terrain when poo-picking fields actually look as easy as carrying a cup of tea!
Working with horses is as rewarding as it is thank-less. For many people, having somebody look after your horse is an essential part of horse ownership. I could never have kept my own horses on a DIY basis, due to my work commitments, and it’s the same for thousands of horse owners across the UK. So, the next time you are driving up to the yard, having spent the morning in a lovely dry warm office or home while it’s been a typical English winter, chucking it down with rain, remember that there really isn’t a huge amount of money to be made in looking after horses, and even though you are paying for the service, everyone likes some recognition for what they do every once in a while. Take a moment to say thank-you to the people who spend the rest of the time looking after your beloved equine… and maybe even make them a hot cup of tea!
After all, without them, we wouldn’t be able to have our horses!