There are a few things you learn when working with horses whilst pregnant that no one tells you about.
So let me enlighten you …
- At times, cantering is like having a large stone using your insides like a trampoline. Which is not the most comfortable!
- Short girths become the bane of your life because bending down to adjust them gets harder and harder as your tummy gets in the way.
- For the same reason, it gets harder to duck under branches whilst out hacking, or leaning down to open gates. I was ever so relieved when the low branch on one of my hacking routes was cut back!
- For the same reason, climbing through/under/over fences gets harder so be prepared to take the long route and go through the gate.
- Saddles get heavier. Especially lifting them onto the 17 handers, or the fidgeters, or just the high saddle racks.
- Dismounting becomes less elegant. You don’t want to lean forwards for too long so it’s either a quick swoop while the horse blinks, or it’s a side-saddle style leg over the front dismount.
- Jumping gets harder – your life is more like to flash before your eyes when your horse sees a long stride, and you can’t fold quite as neatly as you’d like to.
- As with saddles, rugs seem to get heavier. Soon I think I’ll need some sort of crane contraption to lift the heavyweights on.
- Doing up belly straps, clipping bellies, grooming bellies and legs, and putting on brushing boots now require a crouching technique – knees bent, back straight – rather than bending at the waist.
- Your fitness goes. Even walking to and from the fields seems to take longer. Thankfully I’m not having problems with breathlessness whilst riding yet, but I’m definitely noticing that I’m more tired at the end of the day.
In all honesty, I may have exaggerated slightly because I haven’t had to adopt the side-saddle dismount swing yet, but I’m learning that it will soon become harder to use the traditional techniques! That time will come though, I’m sure.