This is not a ghost story!
The past few months have passed me by in a rather rapid manner. I am struggling to comprehend the reality facing me; it’s 2017, I’m 27 this year and so much has changed. Again. I haven’t written anything since September. I was resurrected at the start of the year. Not in a weird creepy ghosty way or even a Jesus way. I just remembered, suddenly, that I had this blog and that I enjoy writing it. So, allons y…
2016. Media would have you believe it was the worst year ever to curse mankind with its presence. So many well-loved celebrities died and I must admit I was deeply saddened by several of them. Alan Rickman in particular. Being honest, I can’t really say it was the most fantastic year I have ever experienced, but there were certainly good points amongst the bad.
My personal highlight last year was the addition of a certain spotty puppy to my life. Miss Daisy Dot joined me in August and has been a constant source of joy, frustration and warm grumbly cuddles ever since. She is now seven months old, getting naughtier by the day and I can’t wait to enjoy her company in the years to come. She’s an absolute babe and I adore her.
A sad day in November brought the news that my parents had to say goodbye to my childhood dog. Dear Saffi had been unwell since July and after managing so well on her medication for so long, finally got to the point where she needed to let go. It was extremely sad and I think we are all still recovering from her loss as she was such an important, fluffy, smelly (to the point of almost suffocating us by the end), guggy, astonishingly pretty and gorgeously affectionate part of our family for thirteen long years. Making that kind of decision is never an easy thing but I feel that my parents did it right and managed to find the balance between giving her a wonderful life until the point that they couldn’t, and being able to understand that although it was harder for us to let her go, it would have been unfair on her to make her carry on.
Apart from getting a puppy, I have moved around a few times and changed my direction. Not away from horses, just placing my feet with different ones. I left my job with the Devils Horsemen in June, taking a position in Peterborough. In late November I realised it was not the thing I wanted to continue doing, and made the decision to move on again. Yardandgroom is not my favourite website. I hate job searching. And yet I had put myself in that position, so search I did. There were several adverts which took my fancy but I was reluctant to actually set the ball rolling with any of them. One in particular interested me and something about it rang bells in my head. Out of curiosity, I found myself messaging someone I had worked for part-time before starting with the Devils,
“I’ve just seen a really nice advert. Sounded a bit like you, thought that would be a bit weird…”
She got back to me the same evening, “Oh yes that is me! Are you interested?”, and away we went. So it is with great excitement that I look forward to starting work with Laura Wollen Dressage in the next week. We are actually moving to a yard in Ampney Crucis, near Cirencester, next weekend. Yay.
Although leaving two jobs in one year and moving back home for a bit were not exactly good points, I certainly could not have the opportunities I now have without them. Coming to live in Malvern for a short while again was not exactly a negative either. It has been nice to have the time to regain my sense of self, catch my breath and enjoy my puppy without any pressure. Daisy bonded well with Ruby and Tilly (my parents dogs) and my parents have both said that having her around has changed the absence of Saff in a good way. Although they miss her, Daisy coming in has changed the focus of home life in a way that means no-one really has time to dwell on the Saffi shaped hole and has kept the dog count at three which, although it’s a different dog, feels less strange than only having two. She has been a healing distraction for everyone and I think she knows it. She has this tendency to come and flop her head on you when you need it most. And she smells warm and biscuity and her ears are too big for her head and they’re so soft. Sorry. I’ll stop.
Riding wise, I do not have a great deal to regale you with. I continued riding as and when I was required to at the Devils but did not progress any further. When I moved to Peterborough I had two geldings to exercise, and although they hacked a lot, I was also able to do a little bit of jumping (something I hadn’t done in a veeeeery long time). I also lunged a fair bit which was nice to re-visit as I’ve always quite enjoyed it. Being able to watch the horse working and see what the muscles are doing and how the horse is using itself has always been fascinating to me.
I am really looking forward to working with the horses Laura has. They are all dressage horses and they’re all rather gorgeous. It’s funny how I have met so many different horses and some of them still strike that kind of awe and humility in me. These guys are a bit like that. It’s not just that they’re not small horses. They have something there, a power, a strength, a presence. It makes me feel honoured to be around them and it is a true privilege to work with them.
In an odd twist of fate, I have found out that in my new home I will be living just down the road from a previous instructor and friend, Kelly. I knew she had moved to the Cotswolds area but when she said it was the very same place it seemed almost a little too coincidental. Ampney Crucis is hardly a big place, nor is it the centre of the equine world and yet there we are, Kelly lives there and I’m moving there. I am delighted to have someone so fantastic so close. Not only will it mean fewer lonely evenings as I’m sure I can coerce her into going to the pub, but it will also give Daisy someone new to meet and run with; Kelly’s beautiful girl, Sky. New friends! How exciting.
I cannot say that 2016 was the best, nor the worst year of my life to this point. I have left it with the loveliest softest sweetest little spotty dog you ever could want. That makes me happy. My family are, as ever, supporting me in my new endeavour and I am excited to start the adventures that 2017 has to offer.
With regard to resolutions, I did not make any as such. I am not going to join the gym, because my job will be physically demanding enough. I am not going to give up alcohol or chocolate because I will, without a shadow of a doubt, need it! I am not going to try and lose weight, be kinder, wear more red or change my hairstyle. I am not going to change. Instead, I make these promises, half promises and vague ideas to myself if nothing else:
+ I will make sure Daisy is healthy and happy, whatever may happen.
+ I will be the best groom that I can be for Laura in this next stage of her journey.
+ I will try to write more regularly.
+ I will not dismiss the idea of having something resembling a social life.
+ I will start baking again, probably sporadically but it’ll be something.
+ I will let go more easily and more often. In the last year I have learned how important letting go can be, and I have got better at it. I will continue to let go, whether that be of negativity, stress or my own personal worries.
+ I will offer more sunshine. At various points throughout my life, I have been called Little Miss Sunshine. My mum, grandparents, friends parents, employers, friends and friends of friends I’ve only met once, have all at some point or other said it either to my face or about me. I know that when I am in a good mood and smiling, I am capable of radiating happiness to those around me. I would like to regain that ability as I feel I have let it gather a little too much dust. I will try to be Little Miss Sunshine a bit more than I have been of late.
+ I will cuddle my puppy and pull her ears and kiss her nose and hold her paws at every opportunity I get. This is a solemn vow. You cannot love a dog too much, not ever. Their capacity for loving us knows no limits, so why should ours?!
That’ll do donkey. That’ll do.