As I sit here typing this post, heat pump cranked up to 27 degrees with comfort food (delicious oreo brownies to be precise) bubbling and baking away in a hot oven, it’s hard to believe we in New Zealand have made it through another winter. The usual view from my living room window has been entirely obscured by a filthy dark rain cloud, and no amount of Bruce Springsteen playing in the background can drown out the ringing thud of angry raindrops pummelling an iron roof.
These kind of cosy ‘duvet days’ embraced by lifestyle and beauty bloggers alike, bring no comfort whatsoever to any equestrian coming out of a seemingly endless winter, and even less to those hard working riders who have already got stuck in to the spring competitions! One aspect of being a grassroots rider that I thoroughly enjoy is the lack of pressure to always be on the circuit and the choice of when I start my season, and in my case this is always well after the spring wind and rain has passed.
With that in mind, tomorrow marks the first official day of the southern hemisphere summer and time for me to consider what my plans are for the ‘season of great weather’. Who do I want to take lessons with, are there any clinics I want to participate in, what outings do I want to go on, and what competitions do I want to enter?
Anyone that has followed for a while may remember that I was thrown a curveball in April of this year when my float failed its warrant of fitness. As is usually the case with anything that has been super reliable – when it broke, it broke good. The repairs were quoted at a couple thousand dollars and, being a full time student, I was stumped as to how I was going to come up with that kind of money. Instead, I listed it for sale at absolute bottom dollar.
Whether it was the time of year, or the fact that it was for sale in a non- road legal state, or for something else entirely, the float didn’t sell. We had a couple of tyre kickers take a look and ask questions, but nothing even half serious and so I just gritted my teeth and began the slow and painful process of scraping together loose change to have the repairs done myself. I’ll now fast forward to a week ago when I was proudly opening the yard gate for Louis, who was towing behind him a familiar tall, wooden horse float with a shiny new WOF sticker plastered neatly in the front window!
And so here I am today, taking this (not altogether unusual for the lower north island this spring) rainy afternoon to contemplate what I’ll do with my reinstated freedom on four wheels. One thing for certain is that I will have to be picky. Anything that I might have saved to put towards a competitive season has been soaked up in the repairs, and so my focus will be on getting out to some stunning New Zealand locations and exploring them on horseback instead. One place I definitely want to visit, and have pencilled in for a hot February weekday is Lake Taupo. With pristine freshwater and several metres visibility – this is one swim spot definitely worth the haul out to. I hope to haul out to at least five central to lower north island locations and share them on the blog by March. After all, what is a New Zealand based blog if it doesn’t showcase this country’s incredible landscapes?!
I also know that I want to complete at least three events, and participate in a CTR (competitive trail ride). I would like to take a lesson with a very successful and talented event rider based only half an hour away, and I want to continue taking flatwork lessons with Catherine and jumping lessons with Lizzie. If I can travel out to a really good cross country clinic, I’ll be happy with that too.
Either way, whether I get to do everything I want to this summer or only half – things are starting to get a lot more interesting again and I couldn’t be more pleased!