…but I’d like to give you back now please!
Well, what a start to the 2020 breeding season!
At Christmas, when Huw and I were sorting out our breeding programme for the spring and summer, it didn’t even occur to us that by the time we came to March and thinking about breeding the first mares of the season, that we’d be in the middle of a global pandemic and “locked down”.
We barely even registered news about Covid-19 in China in December, other than to sympathise with families who were losing loved ones and we certainly didn’t think we’d be in a position where the UK had ground to a standstill with everyone staying at home, schools closed until September with children learning from home, and a run on toilet paper, hand soap and flour in the supermarkets. After the wettest winter on record and the house flooding at the beginning of March, we were looking forward to a mud free, dry spring where we could finally get out and ride.
As a result of the spread of Covid-19 in the last couple of months, we’ve had to change our breeding plans dramatically. We’ve had to cancel all the outside mares due to visit Hobbit and instead, concentrate on breeding our resident mares. We’ve also had to rethink our use of our stud vets – we normally scan our mares to see when they’re due to ovulate, as well as pregnancy scan and for a whole host of other things to do with breeding. Because of the lock down restrictions, our vets are currently unable to do routine stud medicine and have to concentrate only on emergency work (thanks to Covid-19!). This in turn means that we’re having to rethink our horse management protocols for breeding as we don’t have the safety net of a scan from the vet and we need to keep closer watch on our mares to see when they are in season, which in turn means more work because we have to check our girls more frequently during the day…
Livery yards and riding schools are closed (including the one where Charlotte is learning to ride, much to her disgust!), and shows, events and clinics are cancelled, which means I have escaped my showing debut this year, but gives us time to prepare “HW Genuine Flybynite”, “HW Little Miss Lily” and our 2020 Hobbit foals for their showing debuts next year.
But most importantly, thanks to Covid-19 and the tight restrictions, we’ve reassessed what is important to us. We’ve spent more time as a family, made more meals together, spent more time playing and just taking stock. Who knows, I may even get time to make my raised vegetable beds that I’ve been meaning to do for 6 years!
Please stay safe and healthy. We’re in unprecedented times and the aim of the game is to get through this challenging year alive and well. Hopefully everything else will take care of itself and by next Christmas this will all be the remains of a strange dream. Please look after yourselves and stay safe folks.