Over the last few weeks I have learned a great many things. Some good, some not so good, but some very valuable and one of the many things that stand out to me is the value of time.
With time we can prepare, we can achieve, we can develop skills, fitness, strength, confidence and we can learn, enjoy and hit milestones and make memories – but without time we have nothing.
I am the first one to hold my hands up to being guilty of this! I’m constantly rushing around at a hundred miles an hour, trying to be the best Mum, the best girlfriend, a good friend, whilst working three jobs and juggling being a horse owner, a cook (badly), a cleaner, a taxi service, keeping fit, competing and the list goes on.
Surely even Superwoman gets cut some slack?!
Yet I am also a great believer that we create our own paths. I make myself busy, I have a choice and for the most part I love my fast paced and busy life. So basically I have no one but myself to blame!
But it occurred to me that I rarely stop and I never really value time because sometimes I just take it for granted.
When teaching on Islay I was reminded of the value of time in the saddle. These were not people who had regular lessons – but they rode regularly – time in the saddle had developed their skills.
Last weekend I beamed with pride as one of my best mates qualified for the Badminton Grassroots Championships, yet four years ago neither horse or rider looked like they were truly having a ball. But with the benefit of time away from the sport to develop they are now loving eventing and are ready to go and tackle the best track in the UK which I know they will do in style.
In our fast paced, social media led lives, it seems that we are always in a rush to do more – to jump bigger, to move up a level in dressage, to go a further distance, to push ourselves but sometimes time can be the most fabulous resource that we have. Time to develop, grow, learn and enjoy our horses.
And let’s be honest, when it comes to jumping, moving up a level before you are ready isn’t a smart move – it just ebbs away at your confidence and self-belief until the wheels fall off and you instantly regret not spending a bit more time consolidating at a level lower.
Now, I’m not for one minute saying that you shouldn’t have goals, you shouldn’t move up, or push when you’re ready – I’m simply saying that there is no harm in riding your own race in your own time.
And then of course there is the other side of the value of time. Quality time with your horses, time with your friends and time with your family. How many occasions have you been too busy to go and do something? Or too busy to enjoy a moment with your horse, friends or family because you are rushing on to the next thing?
We’ve all been there.
But have a think back… what did your boss say for that day you stayed late at work and missed something important?
What did your client say when you busted your gut to give everything and more which meant you had to cancel something you were looking forward to?
What did you buy your best friend for their birthday five years ago? I can’t remember either – but I can remember making special memories.
I remember the time I said sod it to work and told a client that they would need to wait until Monday for something they sprang on me at the last minute so that I could keep a commitment that I’d made months before with my friends. We drank prosecco on horseback while we watched the sun go down over the Scottish hills and it remains one of my favourite horsey memories!
I remember the time Lou and I went banana boating in September and the time Liz and I galloped our horses along the beach together for the first time.
I remember the first time that Cianti trusted me enough to let me go into her stable while she was sleeping because I decided to say “sod it” and take a walk at lunch time to get me away from the laptop for 10 minutes!
With the exception of a bottle of prosecco all of these memories cost nothing except prioritising my time.
My point – you don’t realise the value of time until you no longer have it.
Sometimes you need to make time. Make time to do the things you want and value, take your time progressing with your horse if you need it, and take a moment to enjoy what you’re doing – you really never know just how long it will be there for.