By the time you read this, many of you will be part of the way through your GCSEs or A-levels. Having done my GCSEs last year I can really sympathise with you, it is really tough, but I know that my horses helped to keep me sane during this difficult time.
There is only so much revision you can do in a day. My school recommended up to five sessions of about 40 minutes each per day. This way you can fit in either taking a whole afternoon or a whole evening off to do something nice. Studying in chunks is more productive and studying with leisure activities in between is even better.
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to compete at all leading up to my GCSEs as this is always a full day away from the books, but I did manage a number of short hacks or a session with Casper in the school on a number of days. Having something to look forward to at the end of a session of tough maths somehow seemed to keep me going. I know I am lucky having my horses at home and it may not be quite so easy for those of you whose horses are in a yard some distance from your house. However, even if you don’t have enough time to ride every day, just a break to feed and groom them and have some time outside is therapeutic.
A special treat for me during revision time was to walk to the village shop with Mickey my old pony (who is now more like a dog than a horse) to have ice cream (for me!) and carrots (for Mickey!) sitting outside. As long as there was something for him to nibble, Mickey would be quite happy tied to the fence outside the shop and I could relax and enjoy a bit of time outside in the fresh air whilst he was patted and fussed over by the shoppers.
I know we all hate exam time being at this time of year when the weather is so nice. However, there are bonuses. My horses are out all the time in the summer so there is no mucking out, just a bit of poo picking to be done. Other than feeding them and putting on fly rugs and masks etc they are generally much lower maintenance in the summer. I could not bear studying and then in my breaks have to go and muck out the stables in the cold and dark- that’s no fun at all. With a bit of help from my parents I managed to still look after my horses as well as I normally would during exam time. Having said that, both Casper and I were a little unfit when I first finished my GCSEs and I had put on a bit of weight from eating too many chocolate biscuits in my breaks! However, within six weeks of finishing my GCSEs we were both super fit again and ready for Pony Club camp.
Good luck to all of you with exams, whether this be GCSEs, A-levels or University exams. I hope you all then have a fantastic relaxing summer doing lots of horse related things!