Karen McConnell – A Day in the Life…

So we all know that horses love and thrive on routine and we work very hard to ensure the horses in our care have one that they can rely on. For me however, no day is ever the same! With so many exciting projects on the go and multiple balls to juggle at any given time, it makes for a super-busy but fun, challenging and rewarding life.

Today is Monday 7th August 2017, and I thought I’d share with you today’s experience of #LifeInTheSaddle…

5.45am – I know, it’s an early start but I like to get going and ahead of the game in the mornings, before the kids are up and before the liveries start arriving to tend to their horses. I like to have a glass of Raspberry and Cranberry juice and my multivitamin before I go out and catch up on any emails/social media notifications that have come in over night.

6.30am – I head out onto the yard, first of all letting the chickens out of their coup, then being greeted by the horses that are in over night. With it being summer, a number of the horses are living out in the fields over night so once the horses in the stables have been fed and turned out, I head up to the fields to check on those that stay out. Stables are mucked out, hay nets filled and water buckets replenished. I’ll then bring in some of the field-kept horses to have a rest and a feed before doing some work with them later in the day

8.00am – Breakfast time! By the time I get in from the yard, My husband Chris and the kids are awake and been fed. I come in an today I’ve made some delicious scrambled eggs (courtesy of our hens, Moana, Superhero Maui and Hehe) to set me up for the day.

8.30am – Chris head’s off to work and I record our weekly video Monday Morning Mentions (a preview of what’s happening here through the week and on The KA Blog) and upload to Facebook, YouTube and our blog while the kids play. The kids and I get washed and dressed and I do my daily yoga practice. I’m not a yoga expert and because I only do it at home, I’m pretty certain I’m doing it wrong, but I find it really helps loosen me up and I feel more focussed for the day ahead.

10.00am – Every Monday I have a sit-down with my dad who does the finances for the business and we go over the numbers. Most weeks, we talk about where I’m overspending (!) and I talk through all the different areas of the business and my plans for development. I’m looking into the possibility of building a new stable block for my competition horses which will allow me to have my own dedicated space and free up some more stables for livery clients. We’re in a lovely position to have a large waiting list for the yard and it would be nice to be able to bring a few more people into the KA family.

11.00am – A bit of ‘free’ time to play with the kids, put on a load of washing, make a few calls and return a few emails and messages. Today I was really organised and prepared tea for tonight – well, I through the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do the hard work! Let’s call that delegation!

12.30pm – The kids and I head out onto the yard. Cora is 5 and Callan is almost 4 and they actually play really well together. They play away while I ride Bobby, my own horse who is just returning to work after a nasty fall in the field in March. We’re just walking for now but it’s great to be back on him, he’s such a lovely horse. The kids decide to go and visit my mum and dad who live on site, just up the road – it’s lovely that they can just wander up and with them taken care of for the rest of the afternoon, I’m free to crack on with the horses. I go to prepare Ted for some work only to discover that he’s come in from the field with a few cuts on his leg so instead of riding, I bathe his legs and hand-graze him. He’s an absolute pest for finding ways to injure himself, he really does need to be wrapped in bubble-wrap this one!! The lovely Diva owned by Lochlane Stud is recovering from an abscess but the farrier checked her this morning and a few more days and we should be clear. We have another 2 young horses from Lochlane Stud on the yard to be started under saddle and although they’ve taken a while to settle, our patience seems to be paying off and they’ve both turned a little corner today. All going to plan, they should be lunging away by the end of the week. I also have a livery’s horse to lunge.

5.00pm – That’s me finished on the yard and I grab a quick bite to eat and prepare for my Team KA meeting. Chris comes home from work and head’s up to my parent’s house to collect the kids.

6.00pm – Team KA are a group of my young liveries and coaching clients who are starting out on their competitive careers with their horses. They are generously sponsored by Jane Brindley from Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland and I support them with a little extra training. Tonight, rather than practice on horseback we have a chat about what being a part of the team means to them and how we can make it really valuable to them and to KA Equestrian. Quite often, young riders can end up feeling a little down-hearted when they scroll through their social media feeds and see other riders winning lots of rosettes and seemingly having a perfect time with their horses and what we want to do with Team KA is share our journeys, the good and the not so good in an attempt to keep it ‘real’ and normalise the not perfect. We discuss how they’ll use their monthly slot on The KA Blog and which hashtags to use when they share pictures and updates. We also chat about a range of Team KA merchandise that we will have made and what kinds of things they would like.

7.15pm – Our stage 2 training starts and the lovely Rowan Tweddle arrives to facilitate that. Rowan’s courses are always really well-received and we’ve had some wonderful feedback on them. It’s been really lovely for me to work with Rowan on this project and also to meet some lovely people who have attended the courses.

8.00pm – I head in and get the kids in the bath, as always they are filthy! Chris and I cuddle the kids in until they fall asleep and then get ourselves organised and catch up on each other’s days.

10.30pm – We head to bed. I know you shouldn’t have a TV in your bedroom but we do and watch an episode of ‘Peep Show’ before falling asleep – so funny!

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