If you have been following my Instagram and Facebook pages for any length of time you'll have noticed that this year has brought about a lot in the way of change to my life. Some bigger than others, and as I'm not known for following the crowd, some have perhaps been quite eccentric too.
Some of those changes I have welcomed with open arms and others have taken a bit more consideration as to whether they were the right moves to make.
In a horsey sense I have spent the last few years climbing up the levels in dressage and was both delighted and yet surprised to reach medium with Pie. OK so they might not have been record breaking percentages but for a cob to get through a test of this standard is a massive achievement and though he doesn't find dressage easy I am more than pleased with his efforts to satisfy my desires. What he does enjoy though is a good jump and whenever the fences go up in the arena, Pie simply lights up and becomes so much more enthusiastic in his work. So the question I began asking myself, how can we both enjoy ourselves.........the answer is eventing!
Our local riding club ran a taster one day event earlier in the season and we decided to go along and give it a bash, well what a hoot we had. We rode a nice test for a decent dressage score, a double clear showjumping and cross country and left the event on a massive high and even more so when we got home and found out we had won the class. I think we'll have to add some more ODE's to our schedule next season.
Possibly the biggest and craziest change I have made this year has to be giving up the normal and civilised lifestyle of living in a house, to taking to the road and turning into a bit of a gypsy by taking all my belonging and tactically shoving them into a small ex minibus that I have been working on all summer to turn into a camper van, or should I say HOME! I've never been that comfortable living in one place for any length of time and if you were to look at the record of places I've lived over the years, you would see that I have never stayed in any one place for a length of time.
The biggest reason for making the move was purely financial. Owning horses and renting a house is expensive business and when your doing all this on your own it can be a massive burden on your mental health. So something had to give and as there is no way on hells earth I could give up my ponies to live a boring and lonely life in bricks and mortar. So van-life it is and I kid you not it is the best decision I have ever made. OK so not having a shower or a washing machine can be a little bit of a challenge when moving through a new town but google is a wonderful tool and there are leisure centres and laundrettes in abundance. I do have all the basics though such as cooker, sink, toilet a cosy bed and my personal favourite a diesel heater to keep me toastie warm.
I'm very surprised though I thought a lot of people would have had a negative reaction to my lifestyle choice, (I mean travellers constantly have verbal abuse thrown at them.) but instead I have only found a positive vibe and people genuinely interested in how I make it work for me. I'm forever hearing “I wish I could” and “I would love to do that” and it makes me proud to think that I've had the balls to take the risk that not many other people are willing to take. So far the risk is paying of but stay tuned to find out whether I can make it through the British winter in one piece.
Finally the biggest and most recent change on the cards is in the career department. For the last year and a half I have been immersed in the Dairy industry. Long, unsociable hours and physically demanding work, left me with little time and energy to pursue other pass times and I found the amount of time spent riding and writing becoming less and less. At first I didn't notice so much but more recently it had started to take its toll and I consciously started putting plans together to allow me to find a solution. The above being one of them, and so with this new found freedom of being able to move my house and my horses anywhere I liked, I began looking for a career change that would take me to a more central location that would allow me better access to facilities, trainers and competition venues. And so just last week I attended an interview and have been offered a position as a riding instructor at a very popular equestrian centre in Ayrshire, about an hour up the coast. So before the end of November myself, the ponies and my almost completed home on wheels will be trundling along the road to start a new chapter in our life.
I've come to realise as I get older that change is something that happens in our lives whether we want it or not. We can either embrace it and allow it to shape us into a better version of ourselves, or we can resist it and become narrow minded and stuck in our ways. Ever the optimist I am going to take these changes and see where these new adventures takes us....hopefully onto bigger and better thigs in he future.