Horses have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember; rushing home to sort and ride them after school, spending virtually all my weekend with them, constantly smelling like a horse! So, the the thought of leaving my horses at home whilst I went off to a university seemed like a pretty daunting prospect. Although I was of course worried about leaving behind my human friends, saying bye to the horses, was definitely the hardest part of going away.
However, I found that there are some positives to be gained from the experience!
• First and foremost, No mucking out! I am in a very fortunate position in that my horses are shared with a family friend, so whilst I am away, she takes care of them for me and does all the hard work (for which I am endlessly grateful to her for!) This of course means no mucking out during term time, so I can enjoy weeks of not constantly smelling of eau de horse, having nasty stains on my sleeve and shedding pieces of hay and straw wherever I go. Also, when I do come home, I have a lovely clean pony waiting for me! So really, it’s the best of both worlds!
• And, No early mornings, either…Whilst I don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn to ride, it does feel rather luxurious getting to spend a few extra hours in bed whilst I’m away at university and not having to get up early every morning to sort the horses (obviously I am working hard too, ahem…). Also, because I am so used to getting up early to ride, whilst other students moan about getting up for 9am lectures, it's not problem for me!
• Their faces when I get home seems to make it all worthwhile, too. Although I miss them so much when I’m away, there is something so special about arriving at the yard after a month away and seeing their little faces peering over the stable door at me, as if to say “Where on earth do you think you’ve been?!”. The first cuddle with them always makes me smile so much, and it is something that I look forward to for days on end, keeping me motivated through end of term essay deadlines!
• And of course, It makes me appreciate them even more than I did already. Although I've always felt incredibly lucky to have my own horses to ride, being away from them has made me realise just what an important part of my life they are. Missing them whilst I’m away has meant that going up to the yard over the holidays is no longer something I simply take for granted. It has meant that I try to spend as much quality time with the horses as possible, and actually, because I make such a fuss over them whenever I see them now, I’m pretty sure we have got a better relationship, too.
So really, what I have come to realise is that being away from horses whilst at university isn’t all doom and gloom. If anything, it has made me love them even more, and I am so excited to spend plenty of time up at the yard this summer.
If you have a story to share about horses and university, I would love to hear about it.
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