After I made the decision to move to England, I asked everyone I knew who had been here what to expect. Along with many different pieces of advice I was given, the one thing everyone said was to be prepared for rain, rain, and more rain. Check, got it – I came prepared for rain. I got a new super duper never going to leak no matter what rain coat for Christmas. What I wasn’t prepared for was snow! When I got here everyone said the snow must make me feel right at home. Not quite. I haven’t spent a winter in Canada in about 5 years. Even though the snow put a bit of a damper on most people’s activities here, there was no shortage of action here at Waren Farm. Even with 10 of us working in the yard, there is always something that needs to be done. This makes me feel at home much more than the snow, as it is true of any place I have ever been that involved horses.
Lindsay Pearce is our Canadian guest writer who is working in England with Lucy Wiegersma. Click here to read Lindsay’s first entry. Thanks Lindsay and thank you for reading.
On a typical day, everyone is out in the yard at 7:30. Quite leisurely in my experience, but don’t tell anyone I said that. We all feed, muck out, get horses on and off the walker, tidy up the yard, and tend to anything else that might need to be done. This takes us to about 9:30 when we go in for breakfast. I have never seen people consume so much toast! We then receive our list of horses to ride for the day. I usually have my own plus at least 4 others. Since the footing in the outdoor school is currently being redone, we have about a 20 minute hack to and from the ring. This includes riding down a main road. That can be quite interesting when huge lorries come flying past. “Hang on!” We go back in again for lunch at 1:00 sharp. No joke, don’t be late! Lucy’s mom, Pippa, is amazing and cooks delicious meals for the whole group, including any vet, farrier, horse dentist, etc. that might be around the property that day. It reminds me a lot of my time at the O’Connors when I lived with Joanne and Phil Lende in the The Plains, Virginia. Everyone was always welcome for dinner and it felt like a second family away from home. After lunch we finish riding, put the horses to bed, and feed which takes us until 6:00p.m.
The farm isn’t exactly in the middle of horse country, but it is a very rural area. You can’t walk 5 minutes in any direction without seeing sheep. They are everywhere! And sometimes in places they shouldn’t be. Many are “fenced in” by large hedges. Even though sheep aren’t the most brilliant of species, they do manage to work their way out of their fields once in a while. The other day I was out hacking with one of the other girls, something we do a lot of this time of year here on the roads to get a good fitness base, when we saw some sheep that had escaped. We mentioned this to the farmer when we saw him and he said, “Oh, OK thank you, I’ll get them tomorrow.” Tomorrow? I can just imagine the horses getting loose and thinking it would be fine and I would worry about it tomorrow. I guess sheep farmers are a little more laid back?
Nearly all of us that work here live together. It’s a good thing everyone is so friendly, as most of us are sharing one shower! Even with the close living quarters and cold weather, I am loving England. It helps that there is an amazing number of quality horses to ride. You can’t help but learn a lot when you are schooling multiple advanced horses in a day. I’ve been learning many other useful things as well, like its not banana, its buh-nah-nah. You also have to be careful as some words have different meanings here. The one that gets me in trouble the most is that pants aren’t pants, they are trousers. Pants here are underpants. I got some funny looks when I asked if I should wear white pants to the dressage show the other day.
We have a busy week ahead, as Lucy leaves with 5 of the younger horses for Portugal competitions soon. There is cross country schooling and much packing to be done in preparation for their trip. I’ll have much to work on here in England with my amazing new little mare, Saniki (Sneaky), like figuring out how not to get jumped out of the tack! I’m looking forward to the challenge and there really isn’t anything else I would rather be doing.