In all the years I filmed for Horse Hero (the equestrian video website which was my business until last year) the most talked about aspect of dressage training (apart from the ‘scale of training’) was without a doubt the ‘half halt’, progressing to ‘forwards and back’ later on, especially as a tool for the advanced … More No grand plan
Goodbye Rose, hello Sovereign! Rose has been replaced by veteran ex-dressage horse Sovereign who is 36 years young. I have known about Sovereign from the start of my search for a suitable companion for Talisman, 10 months ago but was reluctant to take him due to his age and the fact he had been in … More Don’t ask, don’t get!
Talisman’s next friend (number 5 in 10 months) was Polly, a small but rotund little person from just up the road. I was hoping she would be ‘Polly Perfect’ but it was not to be. She was great with Talisman and he adored her though, in fairness, he adores all friends. But when I took … More Solving life’s puzzles
Glorious sunshine continued for several weeks, so much so that I came to expect it to be the first thing to greet me each morning. I even started fantasising about what it would be like to live in a warmer climate where sunny weather is the norm. Sadly, it’s now back to a mix of … More The poetry factor
‘Walking your talk’ is one of the hardest things in life. Talking is the easy bit – thinking, living and being ‘it’ on a consistent basis is much more difficult (perhaps the subject of another ‘spiritual musing’ video). So when a large number of extremely irritating small issues recently threatened my equilibrium (wrecked it, to … More Counting my blessings
The seriously BIG snow finally went, followed by relentless rain. The ground turned into a bog – a combination of melting snow and rain, and spring made another brief appearance. My heart then sank as yet another heavy snowfall arrived with arctic winds and more big drifts. It was ‘Groundhog Day’ with a repeat of … More A wounded soul
It’s been another challenging few weeks of ups and downs, frustrations and the odd triumph. The relentless bad weather continued with more bouts of snow and acute cold, followed by rain of biblical proportions turning the ground into a bog! My photographer friend learned how to use the fairly sophisticated video camera I have (which … More What a palava!
I was reduced to tears of frustration yesterday with yet another challenge of living remotely – failed internet. The trauma of having no internet for several days (and therefore no phone or mobile connection either) was bad enough but the exasperation of dealing with an utterly dysfunctional internet provider makes this pale into insignificance. Hours … More Technology sucks
The weather continues to define daily life! Basically, it’s been rubbish – either unbearably cold, torrential rain, sleet, snow, ice or gales or a combination of all of these at any one time. Riding has happened where and when it has been safe(-ish) to do so! There were a few dry days in the middle … More Foreign correspondent
New Year in this part of Wales is currently being ushered in with more ridiculous weather! Arctic gales and horizontal rain have persisted all day, progressively getting worse and our third bout of snow in so many weeks came and went last night. Not a snowflake was in evidence at 10pm when I tucked the … More No more Mr Nice Guy!
Finally, the elements have swung the other way. It’s now pouring with rain and the temperature has risen to just above zero, so the snow is receding and there is evidence of life beneath! However, this brings another set of challenges. If it freezes tonight, the ground will be utterly treacherous and once the snow … More The big thaw
It’s finally stopped snowing, the gale has ceased and the sun is shining making the snow sparkle brilliantly. I can breathe again. Better still, I have dug a ‘path to freedom’ for the horses. My original plan was to get the small tractor out and create a set of tram lines down the yard and … More The path to freedom
I am officially snowed in and the animals and I are reduced to ‘survival’ mode. Yesterday while the snow increased I was, at least, able to dig pathways and get the horses into the turnout arena for most of the day, though the walker was out of bounds. Today, nothing is do-able. I have never … More Digging deep
The search for a suitable companion for Talisman continued and in the end, helped by fellow equestrians, I went to see a few local candidates and chose a lovely little Welsh Section A x B mare called Pip who’s 8 years old, in rude good health and very cute! She hasn’t been handled much, though … More No more surprises
Kitchen decorating is complete and while I never want to do battle with the flexible filler or wield a paint brush again, I do love the result. Two adjoining rooms make up the total kitchen space with an old Rayburn in the front area and a shiny new biomass boiler (which doubles as a cooker) … More An agonising decision
While more Welsh weather sets in and a gale blows outside, the painting continues inside. It’s been a steep learning curve as I was a ‘decorating virgin’ when I came to the property but I am discovering the best techniques to apply different paints to a variety of surfaces on-the-hoof, so to speak! I have … More No longer a virgin!
Summer has evaporated following several weeks of never-ending rain. The ground is soggy, the horses are shedding their summer coats and sprouting fluffy winter ones and the long summer evenings have been replaced by dark wintry nights. I have been amazed by how quickly the seasons have changed this year but ‘one mustn’t grumble’ as … More Transformations
Was it the fact my head was still in ‘building works’ mode and I was exhausted from the constant noise, mess and relentless cleaning, so I wasn’t my normal mentally alert and physically sharp self? Things should have been finished the previous weekend but ended up spilling over into ‘planning and packing’ purdah just before … More Crunch time
‘Oh my God’, there has been mess! This tests me as I don’t do mess AT ALL but I am staying focused on the end place which is a total facelift for the kitchen. I have a front and a back kitchen (don’t ask why!) and both are in a state of unbelievable naffness and … More Let there be light!
Yesterday, it poured relentlessly after weeks of uncharacteristic continuous sunshine, so it was a question of picking the least bad time to ride. There wasn’t one and I ended up getting soaked right down to my hand-made New Zealand riding knickers (appropriately named Fanny Adams) and Talisman looked like a drowned rat! He has been … More Thrilling
‘A change is as good as a rest!’ Well, there certainly hasn’t been any of the latter since returning from the competition, though I am having a week off training which does feel like a let-up, while Talisman has 10 days as a field ornament before coming back into work to prepare for his third … More Oh mother!
How resilient is the human spirit……..The couple of weeks preceding the trip to Norfolk to compete in the 120K 2* were flat out. This is nothing new. On most days, my bottom only touches a seat when I am eating! So as I was trying to get fields topped to beat the unstoppable grass for … More Devastated
I am constantly surprised by the kindness of strangers who are prepared to help me in my moment of need…. The last few weeks have been up and down and just a little on the challenging side! Some of you will know that I had been trying to find a ‘good home’ for Horse Hero, … More Divine intervention
A feeling of connection to all things begs the big questions, ‘who are we, why are we here and where did we come from?…..The wild Welsh weather has shot to the other end of the spectrum and, for most of last week, we enjoyed a full blown heat-wave with temperatures up to 29 degrees. I am … More Battle of the bulge
It’s amazing what’s available if you know how to find it……Talisman rested after the competition and I had a week off training but that didn’t mean I had a rest from anything else. After a mountain of washing and cleaning for horse and rider, there was endless harrowing, rolling and topping to catch up on. … More Attention to every last detail
The human condition is remarkably robust……The 120K international competition in Norfolk for Talisman and I came and went and I have been pondering it ever since, noticing how my thoughts and feelings about it before, during and afterwards have swung from one extreme to the other. Overall, I’d say it was a success and we … More The full range of emotions
It’s the journey that defines you….. It was full-on today and thank goodness the clocks changed back to summer time, as I needed every last drop of daylight. Half the day consisted of outside jobs (I can’t take credit for doing all of them myself). They included a first cut of the lawn, first strim … More Utterly exhilarating
It’s a fine line…. I braved the elements today and snuck out up the ‘hill from hell’ between sleet and snow showers. Boy, it was arctic 500 feet up on the ridge! On the way back down, I got thinking about fitness training… I am less experienced than some at international level endurance but I … More Making it up as you go
I am the sum total of all my experience and don’t need hard evidence to prove it…. When I came out onto the yard this morning, the sun shone down on me which was a treat as the thermometer was only just above zero. I took this as a birthday gesture from ‘mother’ and with … More Happy birthday to me!
“You really have to value the people who are prepared to get ‘down and dirty’ with you”…. The winter turnout field is well and truly wrecked. That’s the whole idea but, even so, there came a point when I decided I would have to move the horses and improvise. My land is on a hill … More A cunning plan