I can live happy at both ends of the spectrum. Expansive, extrovert and in the centre of civilisation was how I lived during the first 20 years of my career. Building a business in London took that and more. It was full on, day and night and the never ending challenges provided never ending learning experiences. The business I created hadn’t been done before and the sector I found myself in was alien to me but I thrived on breaking new ground and making it up as I went along, which is something you are not taught in business school – believe me, I went! It was tough and stressful but, for the most part, I loved it. During this time, my only let-up was visiting my horse on the weekend and the spiritual journey I was on which, at the time, helped me to sustain peak performance without breaks or much sleep and also gave me a perspective on the crazy world that was my life.
Come what may though, my home has always been my sanctuary and wherever I have lived, whether owning or renting, I have endeavored to make it beautiful and soothing to the soul. And that’s the rub, as I discovered I am equally happy being a recluse and almost never leaving my home, which has been my experience of the last 15 years. This phase has been about simplifying life which eventually led to my ‘rewilding in Wales’ experience, along with competing in international level endurance and creating the video website Horse Hero. During this period, I stopped consuming the daily news (which was and still is biased, negative and sensationalist and replaced it with just a weekly summary). I haven’t socialised, been away on holiday or seen many people during this time either.
But right now I feel ‘times are a changing’ and I am starting to get out more, engage with the world, follow the news (selectively) and I have even booked a holiday. It’s another re-adjustment and isn’t that just the thing? Life is a constant process of balance and re-balance. Balance is something that changes continually as we are pushed and pulled by what’s around us. When I look back, I see several big adjustments at pivotal times in my life where I felt very conflicted but these days re-balancing is a much more subtle thing. Thank goodness! That’s a victory in itself (and will be the subject of another video).
Back to ‘the ranch’ and more practical matters….the extended period of fabulous weather most of us in the UK have been enjoying has meant many (happy – yes happy!) hours on the new tractor getting the land up together and looking good once more. What a difference it makes when the equipment not only works but doesn’t cause me injury! The topper had a major overhaul at the end of last year and is purring like a kitten and there is absolutely no comparison between the tractor and it’s predecessor, a large ancient quad bike that took all my strength to turn when towing on my hills.
For the first couple of years of my ‘rewilding’ experience, all my land was topped and strimmed to within an inch of its life, even the most difficult areas that involved risking life and limb. Fortunately, I have come to my senses and now there are a few areas that are having their own rewilding experience, such as the bank below the turnout arena which is a mecca for wildlife from mice to butterflies (also providing a great hunting ground for the cats) and a couple of fields at the bottom of my land which have become very wet as the water table has changed with the extreme rain and snow we have had. The wild areas are a living canvass and constantly change through the growing season. The clover is about to sprout forth on the bank which will turn pink and white shortly and be a sight to behold.
On the flip-side, the luscious grazing has increased Talisman’s waistline and I would be struggling to get him down to racing weight if he was still doing endurance. But as he’s not, the lucky boy didn’t have his grazing rationed until a few days ago when I felt he was on the limit of accepted ‘fatness’. He’s looking fab’ though and feeling great. I took him to a couple of dressage clinics earlier in the year to have another set of eyes look at him and give us a few pointers to work on and the penny has really dropped since. So the aim is to do some dressage this autumn and I am going to have a few days out to watch some arab shows over the summer with a view to doing a bit of showing next year and also qualifying for the BD arab dressage championships. So there’s a plan, at last! This year is very much ‘work in progress’ and we are both enjoying having no pressure and training for the joy of it.
Lastly (and don’t fall off your chair), Talisman’s latest companion Noble has now been returned to the Blue Cross. I announced in my last blog he had earned ‘resident status’ but horses have a habit of making fools of us and the very same day, I reached the end of my tether. The Achilles heel from the start was his separation anxiety and it only improved a fraction in the several months he was with me, despite trying every possible scenario I had available. Latterly, he was in a small section of the turnout arena with various obstacles to stop him getting up any speed. Even though he could see Talisman working in the menage, he didn’t settle sufficiently and it was distracting for us to see him spinning around; it also started to take the enjoyment out of the work for me. So I put him in his stable and he was hysterical, the hysteria continuing even on our return when Talisman was in the stable next to him.
The only place where he was more accepting (though not perfect) was tied up outside, which wouldn’t be practical at all times of the year, or when I took Talisman off in the trailer. Sadly, the trauma from his abusive past was too deeply ingrained, making life unduly stressful for all three of us. Also, whilst the saving grace was peace and quiet in the field, as Noble’s confidence grew and his personality emerged, he became aggressive towards Talisman from time to time, which meant separating them – yet another complication. Not all was lost – the big success is that he left looking a picture of health and completely unrecognisable from the horse that arrived just a few short months ago.
So Talisman is currently ‘an only child’ while I find him a new friend and we are both enjoying a calm, peaceful environment. The next incumbent will be the fifth and final! At least Talisman hasn’t been bored in the last 7 or 8 months and probably thinks I have arranged a line-up of friends just for his amusement!
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Pics: The canter track ready for fitness training; cats in the shade; Bryngwyn in the wilderness and making an unscheduled entrance into the house; Talisman and Noble; Talisman ‘at home alone’; Talisman has an enforced break from the grass and finds it so tiring; me on an outing!
iTunes: Since my last blog, I have published the following podcast versions of my ‘spiritual musings’ videos: ‘Narrating your life’ and ‘Training your instinct‘. (The original video versions are on the Vlog page on this site). The podcasts are also in the iTunes store, search ‘Fiona Price practical spirituality for everyday living’.
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