Here at Ruth Clark Equestrian Ltd, like many people, we are coming out of the lockdown bubble and starting to see customers again.
We are finding that saddle fitting and bit and bridle fitting is very different now. Heather is missing hugging all the customers (Ruth is not missing the hugs at all – don’t take offence!) Despite the lack of hugs, appointments take a lot longer now than they did BC (before Covid). This is because all the kit has to be stringently cleaned between each appointment and because, where BC, we could simply swap the girth attachment, shift a block, insert a shim or put the cheek pieces up a hole, now, with social distancing, this has to be done via ‘remote-control’ and is challenging our communication skills!
Appointments also take longer as we like to listen to our customers’ lockdown stories…. And everyone has one to tell. Our customers’ stories have been harrowing, enlightening and up-lifting. We have heard from our teaching customers about how preparing their classrooms ready for Y1 and Y6 pupils to come back in to school has made them cry. The mother of a very long standing and loyal customer died during lockdown and she was unable to visit her towards the end. Another customer told us of how he could not distinguish between a panic attack and Covid-19 and was convinced he was going to end up on a green camp bed in the makeshift hospital in Penrith Leisure Centre. Not all stories have been sad and upsetting. There are some lovely stories about horses getting fitter, people noticing the bird song in their gardens, appreciating the clean, clear blue sky, rediscovering the hysterical joys of UNO and children flourishing in their home-schools.
Our little home schooling person has not been out of his favourite jim-jams for three months… AND he wears them inside out – apparently they are fluffier that way.
We are finding that lockdown has given many people the opportunity to have a big think, to get their priorities in order and make some positive changes to their lives. We’d be really interested to hear about your lockdown big thinks….
Here at Ruth Clark Equestrian Ltd, we have certainly had a big think about the business and made some plans for a sustainable future. We are in the process of putting three new saddle fitters through their Society of Master Saddlers training, to support Ruth across western Cumbria, north Lancashire and County Durham. Watch this space for more news on their progress.
We are sure that there will be many financial and economic challenges for the world to face over the coming months and years, but we are coming out of our lockdown bubble with renewed vigour and energy and look forward to seeing all our clients and to helping to make horses more comfortable and riders more secure.
Take care, keep in touch and hope to see you soon.
(Illegal) hugs from Heather and a distant wave from Ruth.
Ruth Clark Equestrian https://www.ruthclarkequestrian.co.uk/