Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Spoonful of Sugar.

Itʼs so early, far too early. Well, not so early for horse folk, but for anyone with a scrap of cultivation in them itʼs beyond early. Itʼs strange how even before my brain has begun to
engage I can still manage to twirl my fingers through a scruffy mane and transform it into something resembling a show standard plait. Years of gophering as a working student, and tending to hunters, show and sales horses, have embedded my digits with this skill to move all of their own accord without my senses ever having to concentrate on anything except the forthcoming coffee (even if itʼs decaf) and the bowl of porridge that even Goldilocks wouldnʼt turn up her fastidious snout at. At this point Ruby interrupts my autopilot state, stretching his neck just a little too far away and at the same time managing to nip me, sending any culinary thoughts off on the morning breeze. Last plait secured itʼs back to the stable for him and in for breakfast for me.
The joy of filling my belly in the morning on show day, knowing that no matter how much food I shovel in, there will be no excuse but to give in to the aroma of the chip van by mid day. Nothing will do but something carby covered in ketchup or even curry sauce. Rushing through breakfast, grabbing spare socks in case of rain, collecting the camera for those all important been-there-done-that pictures. Changing into something vaguely neat, checking for test sheets. Ticking lists, endless lists that eventually get forgotten and abandoned at the bottom of boot bags or grooming kits as I move into that automatic place again once we hit the show ground.
Itʼs probably just me, but I canʼt help but survey the warm-up arena as I tack up and roll fresh sparkling white bandages onto already gleaming white legs. Casting an eye on leg yields and half passes as they float across the arena towards me. Making notes of which end of the warm up to head for optimum space and which end to avoid where darting ponies are bound to set us off like an exploded rocket. Two five-minute tests later, not grueling but yet somehow sapping of all energy, itʼs back to taking notes and making lists again. Checking comments, burying them away for later resurrection at home while training. Vowing to add to lists all the things that have been forgotten, and that have been forgotten from every list since Iʼve begun. Fingers back in action, deftly undoing all the mornings work that at the time seemed so important. Rubyʼs impatient now, but forgiven and excused in his eagerness to join his field mates and tell them of his days adventure. White legs suddenly looking so silly out in the paddock, making him look so out of place in his herd of buddies, all grass-stained and dusty from getting on with the proper horse business of rolling and eating.
This morningʼs secret delight at the idea of chips was undone by my loving better-halfʼs preparation of my meals for the day and packing them in the horse-box. Thankfully he took pity on me and didnʼt add in the usual slimy, evil looking green vegetables. Flicking through photographs as I edit, uploading and eating explains why my laptop is always covered in food. The techie who repaired it was able to tell me what was on my meal plan almost down to the last grains of basmati rice. Then I had to admit the reason the laptop was making this visit to the repair shop was because an extra large cup of coffee somehow jumped from the cup to the keyboard. Maybe it was appalled at the sheer volume of caffeine one person was contemplating ingesting in one sitting. My Java habits havenʼt really gotten much better. I now just preempt with “well, I shouldnʼt but…” or “well, maybe just this one”.
Life is catching up to me though. Lots of little pointers directed me to some inescapable conclusions during a physiotherapy session with Claire Townsend. Diagnosis: not nearly enough stretching or long, outer training; Iʼm missing my yoga class with Suzanne at The Gym, and so it seems are my hamstrings; my outer pectorals and my rhomboids have decided to throw in the towel altogether. Prescription: two mandatory days off from the gym and a new stretching routine that seems to involve warping in positions that Iʼm sure no one else has to consider. The medicine is hard to take. Whereʼs Mary Poppins with her spoonful of sugar when you bloody need her.