Sunday, April 5
Welcome to the first issue of The Hoof Beat.
A weekly newsletter for those who love and for those who ride horses.
As we are all sequestered in place, we are collectively striving to make sense out of these strange and unusual times. And without a doubt, it’s easier for those of us who live in a comfortable home with the means to stock the fridge, the wine cellar and have access to reliable high-speed internet to weather this period, as inconvenient and unwanted as it is.
I’ve managed to keep sane and not let myself go too deep into what this will mean when it is finally over. The pending economic wipeout for so many, especially anyone nearing retirement or depending on a paycheck to make their commitments, is a huge sacrifice even as the ultimate price to our families, our neighbors and other Canadians could be dire.
In my email inbox, those inducements to purchase just keep coming – the fabulous clothing deals, must-have items for Badger and Instagram-worthy vacations – all lost their relevance. I’m swiping left without opening them. And yet I know when things return to normal, whatever normal will look like, I will be back spending my money on things that right now don’t feel important.
So what is important right now? Without a doubt, the ones we love and the importance of keeping them close or if not physically close, then in close communication. Friends and animals next, as they are key to our quality of life.
When Doug Ford implemented the State of Emergency, I had to closed down Forward Riding School and Michelle closed Pause Awhile. With no lessons, we worried about our School Horses. How would we afford to feed them?
I organized a fundraising campaign. First I set up a GoFundMe page and reached out to my family, friends and students. Our goal is to raise $5000 each month, enough to feed hay to all the horses. Thank you to everyone who has donated.
Then I started a Who Am I game on Instagram. But in addition to the Forward Riding School riders, I wanted to include the the Pause Awhile riders; so I teamed up with Amanda Scott and we launched Get That Apple. This game is sponsored by TSC Stores and the winning horse with the fastest time will receive a Jolly Stall Apple.
TSC Stores donated the Jolly Stall Snack. This snack hangs in your horse’s stall for tasty, long-lasting entertainment. This apple-shaped treat dispenser helps reduce boredom in confined horses and is refillable.
We have already spent almost three weeks in self-distancing and now it’s been extended. Although I know it is the right call, I shudder to think of its impact on our economy, on my riding school and on summer camp enrollment.
I believe a lot of people are thinking about what steps they will take when this is behind us. All of us will be fundamentally changed from this period. In time, we will look back and know that it was NOW that our priorities and values shifted. Other generations recall WWII as their touchpoint. For my generation and those younger, it was 9/11 that woke us up. And as horrific as both those events were, this crisis leaves no one untouched from its double punch – health crisis and the economic fallout that is part of the solution.
So what can one person do? Not that much really!
However, what I am thinking about are the things that have always made me happy. I’m spending time with Badger, working on my garden and creating new ways to stay in touch with all of you…my very dear friends and clients. (I need help improving the Forward Riding School website and other social media outlets. If anyone has experience and time to work with me please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
I’m also thinking about how I want to live when this is over. I imagine that you are too. They’ll be time enough for that shared discussion.
In the meantime, stay positive in your family, in the can-do spirit of Canada and ultimately in yourself.