I have two guiding philosophies regards staying safe in life. The first is to ‘control the controllables’. For me, this is highlighted by living remotely on my own though, in the past, it was was also a key component of my preparation in sport, rowing at international level early on in life and, more recently, … More Controlling the controllables
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
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 … More Conflicted!
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
Today we have serious snow which makes life challenging with the horses and out on the yard and it is changing minute by minute from brilliant sunshine to whiteouts. How extraordinary, beautiful (and cruel) is nature?! Late last night before the white stuff arrived though, while it was blowing a gale and painfully cold another, … More Secret lives
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
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
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
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
Is patience another word for timing…….. I don’t know if it’s just me, or human nature but I don’t like transitions. I am an ‘all or nothing’ person. If I decide to make an important change in my life, I would rather change completely, ie. end one thing and start another! But life isn’t like … More Timing is everything
The merits of a backup plan…. I am sitting in the eye of the storm typing. I have no power, therefore no phone, lights or water (as the borehole pump is out). There is a sink full of washing up which I can’t do and I can’t take a shower either – lovely, if you … More Carnage
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!
How lovely is it when you count your siblings amongst your best friends… My brother came to stay recently from London, along with his trusted hound who is adept at negotiating the Underground as well as main line trains and, of course, is always a great starting point of conversations with total strangers. I haven’t … More A particular type of madness
“The basic necessities of life are the most important things”… In researching whether attracting birds of prey to my land might act as a deterrent to pheasants (sadly they won’t), I came across ‘the bird man’. Mike volunteers for a nature charity in the area and one way and another, I ended up having 10 … More Kindred spirits
“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
“I felt as turbulent as the storm and found myself thoroughly questioning my rewilding life”…… I so very nearly lost the plot! It was the day from hell with extremities of Welsh weather including ice, snow storms and an arctic wind which made it crazy trying to do the horses. ‘Survival’ was the name of … More A question of survival
It was love at first sight! Just like falling in love with a man or a horse, something you can’t explain!… I live in an ancient farmstead. The yard features some very old farm buildings (now having a new lease of life providing for all my horsey needs). It includes an old fashioned milking parlour, … More Who found who?