Got those January Blues….

“Woke up this morning (da dee da duh)

Feelin’ kinda flat (da dee da duh)

Got no-one to ride with an’ my horse is gettin’ fat,

I got those January blues……….”

Yep, it’s that time of year again.  The turkey carcass is long picked clean and only the pine needles stuck in the gaps between floorboards remind us of the animation, if not necessarily the gaiety of Christmas.  The New Year has lost it’s shiny, novel gleam and it’s far too early to wonder if you’ll get any Valentine cards.  Diets and resolutions may already have foundered, and the most appealing idea on a chill and drizzly Sunday is the old-fashioned notion of toasting crumpets in front of an open fire and guzzling them dripping with melted butter….

With apologies to those of you struggling under snowdrifts or coping with an actual case of SAD – and believe me, I really sympathise – my seasonal moan is being forced to ride on my own.  And though I do enjoy one-to-one time with my lovely horse, there are other times when it takes two, or more, to feel like you aren’t ploughing an eternal lonely furrow.

Now I’m back to regular riding, I’m finding that, during the time I was grounded, there have been many changes among my previous riding companions.  Patrick (who turns 50 today, many happy returns!) is working harder than ever;  his job is under threat and he hasn’t got the time to ride.  Flo sold off all but one of the Connemara ponies she raises and claims she’s had enough of horses.  Teenage Mélodie’s hormones took over and poor old Denver was sold within a year of his acquisition.  Julie who kept her horses at livery with Patrick has moved to another stable far away and suddenly there’s no-one around for a convivial outing “à cheval”.

So I decided to advertise.  I felt all the vulnerability of a Lonely Heart as I put out my request to meet other riders and horse-owners.  How to make yourself sound sufficiently experienced yet not a know-all;  friendly but not a limpet; sensible but not dull;  fun, yet on the right side of lunacy?

It wasn’t easy.  Writing back to the first couple of replies, I  managed somehow to imply I was a showjumper, when what I was trying to say was that I hadn’t jumped in years.  Then, that I was keen on training endlessly without stirrups, when in fact complaining that an overzealous instructor had nearly killed me (and my enthusiasm), when I’d gone along to a lesson as moral support for a younger friend.  Oh dear, I fear humour is a dicey commodity in the world of equine WLTM.  Must just stick to the facts!

Anyway, it seems that there are plenty of friendly, interesting folk out there (well, just women actually) who have horses and are getting together to do rallies and organise talks and demonstrations, fun shows and dressage classes, outside the more formal competitive world organised through riding clubs and national federations.  Just nobody in my immediate vicinity that I can take a casual ride with, just for the pleasure of it.  And riding on my own is going to be my continuing fate, unless I have transport for my horse.

And here’s the rub.  We have a car that can pull one.  A driving licence that lets you.   A horse that loads well and, at a pinch, we could probably afford a reasonable second-hand trailer.  But – for all his wonderful qualities (see previous post;  Horse Husbands: An Essential Guide!) – the husband is deeply resistant to letting me make the investment.  I just can’t seem able to make him see that, isolated as we are, I can’t go for training or take part in any group activities that would make life for me and my horse so much more enjoyable unless I have regular access to a trailer.

I think the way to start is to hire one and I’ll take it from there …..wish me luck (and any suggestions are welcome – as always!).


PS  Here’s a January treat, photo-wise.  There is an exhibition at the Paris-Vincennes racecourse of the works of the famous photographer Robert Doisneau, whose “Kiss” is one of the most memorable images of the last century.  This is his “Arrival of the Trotters at Vincennes, 15th February 1955”.


About cavaliereattitude

Englishwoman, transplanted to SW France in '86, blogging - with a large dose of humour and self-deprecation - about life with my husband and our horses, the never-ending renovation of an ancient and crumbly stone farmhouse and the attempt to carve a beautiful garden and productive pasture out of a woodland wilderness.........
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5 Responses to Got those January Blues….

  1. ptigris213 says:

    Now that’s a calm horse. He’s not even fazed by the umbrella. I know horses that would still be running if you opened one near his head.


  2. rontuaru says:

    I am very much in the same situation as yourself. For years I rode with my husband and his two (male) riding buddies. On rare occasions his friend’s wives would join us, whereupon I noticed the ‘let it all hang out” attitude of the ride was significantly toned down for their sake. I’m not sure why that was because both women could ride passably well, but there you have it. However, both women decided to have a “caboose child” (a baby born several years after the youngest has already grown into their teens) and that nailed the lid on the coffin for riding. It wasn’t until I had several back surgeries that I started riding alone. Not wanting to hold the men back, it seemed like that was the right thing to do. Occasionally I’d come across a few groups of ladies out on the trail. Introductions would be made and we’d talk about possibly getting together to ride, but it seldom came to fruition.

    I do have a friend that I ride with occasionally now, but she rides my husband’s horse and that’s not the best of arrangements. If she gets her own horse, want’s to trailer over and continue to ride I’d be very open to that, but trail riding isn’t really her thing. She wants to school a horse and so I suspect she’s going to be one of those who seldom leaves the confines of an arena. I’ve never thought to advertise … hm. Like you, I don’t know how that would work out, but I suppose it’s always an option! Do keep us posted!


  3. So far two women, both thoroughbred owners called Claire (!) have been in touch but seem to be too far away. I am still putting the word out far and wide; not discouraged yet! My promise to myself is that once the plate is taken out of my leg in Spring, by hook or by crook I will get me and Pom to a trainer I really admire a half hour’s drive from here. I felt Aly had potential I never got to exploit and I don’t want to feel the same about Pom! And there are some group rides I’d love to get to….

    Rontuaru, I really wish I had your motivation in your riding (and blogging!), you put me to shame – if only you lived round the corner from me! I’m glad your “contemplations” seemed to give you a more positive outlook. It’s such a shame the guys don’t include you in. It is, though, very hard to find the right riding buddy/buddies, isn’t it? My husband was always a timid rider and our rides were rather staid. The young girls I rode with were good, but we had little in common conversationally. I had most fun riding with Patrick and his brother, one a bareback “natural horseman”, the other a Camarguais Gardien – nearest thing to a French cowboy! However, I live in hope of one or two other women of a “certain age” to share my kind of riding – hopefully any developments will appear on the blog!!


  4. Well there will be us for a few days in April 🙂
    Sorry we haven’t been in touch (typing left handed is v slow) but we’re still hoping to meet u, it would be lovely if u came along for a few days.
    We both know EXACTLY what u mean about riding alone. I think a trailer is essential in your situation.
    From both of the Wanderly Wagons


    • Hello Wanderlys! I was sorry to read about Martine’s accident, but glad to hear from you. I would love to join you if I’m able. I’m due back in hospital to have the plate and screws out of my broken leg March/April, reason I can’t promise more at the moment. Sorry I couldn’t have been more help about accommodation; I looked at some decent places on the website for gite equestres in the Lot – if you’d like I can check something out for you. Do write back to me here if you want. Meanwhile, take good care of yourselves – bon courage!!!


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