It’s that time of year again where I have a year end catch up with our sponsored rider, Eilidh Costelloe. It’s the third time we’ve sat down for a chat, through that’s about the only thing that’s the same. After all, neither of us could have ever expected to be having a conversation like this, because neither of us could have anticipated what 2020 would bring – when the world would turn on its axis and we would be facing unprecedented changes to our lives. It’s hard to process just what we have been through this year. Perhaps we won’t process it, either personally or collectively as a society, for a long, long time to come. Even more so that we are facing much tighter restrictions again come Boxing Day.
At the start of the year, none of us had ever heard of the word ‘social distancing’ (I will be glad of the day when we don’t have to hear it again! ) None of us wore masks to the shops and we didn’t have a tequila perfumed cloud of sanitiser constantly surrounding our person (unless maybe we’d been on a big night out and woke up the next day oozing alcohol from our pores ) Those days seems so far in the distant past now.
The world is still so uncertain. The future still unknown. But all we can do is keep moving forward. Keep taking one day at a time. And keep enjoying our beloved four-leggeds. What would we have done without them this year…..?
Here Eilidh tells us about her fears as a business owner, how her goals and training changed, and her hopes for the future.
Wow Eilidh, where to start? Neither of us could have ever imagined the conversations we would be having at the end of this year!
How did you feel when we went into lockdown back in March? What was your biggest fear?
Lockdown, the word of 2020! I guess just like everyone else felt at that time, hoping it wouldn’t last long and in a few months time we would be back to normal, little did we think almost a year later we would still be in the same situation! I had the horses all fit and ready to start eventing, but quickly realised that wasn’t happening in a hurry! I also felt the pressure to try and make the right decisions as a yard owner too, on how best to handle the situation. That was my biggest fear, making a wrong move as a business owner. My dog had just had a litter of puppies so part of me felt a bit of relief that I wasn’t away every weekend so I could enjoy having the puppies and that really helped the lockdown boredom, playing with puppies in the garden with the lovely weather we were having at the time.
How did your goals/mindset change?
My goals changed a lot. I hoped to travel to Germany in June to compete in Lumuhlen 5*. Without any of my prep runs in April and May, I started to see that goal disappear. But I didn’t feel overly disappointed or pressured to make new plans, as the uncertainty just made it impossible to plan anything. I don’t remember feeling frustrated, probably because everyone was in the same boat so it wasn’t as if I was missing out! I just made the most of the time, doing yard improvements and spending quality time with the young horses, while giving the more experienced horses an easier time. Also just being thankful the business stayed busy and we all stayed healthy. Long may that continue.
How did you have to adapt the routines of your competition horses?
The horses routine changed for sure, I stopped doing any fast work as they didn’t need to be event fit for the foreseeable. I hacked and just enjoyed less structure to their working week. I think they enjoyed it too! I even turned my 6yr old away, decided he hadn’t had much of a break since he was broken in. The 4yr olds enjoyed a lot of attention over the summer bringing them on quicker than I would normally have time for.
What was your biggest challenge?
Biggest challenge… tbh I can’t think of any. I count myself lucky compared to a lot of people. With lots of people I know losing their jobs, losing a relative to Covid or being stuck in a small house in the city with no outside space. I counted myself very lucky to have to go to work every day for the horses and living in the countryside.
What was your biggest achievement?
I did get out to a few events in the latter part of the season having some good runs. Most notably a great ride around the Burgham 4* track with Buddy. He felt fantastic and no worse off for the delayed start to his season! Another achievement was designing a website for the business – been on the to do list for years! Check it out at https://www.eilidhcostelloe.com
What have you learnt from this year?
I have learned how important sleep is! I always functioned on minimal sleep, working long days, eventing every weekend and the odd social, left little time for a good nights sleep. This year has seen little of the above and I feel much better and healthier for it. (Or it could just be age related! ) The break has done me good!!