This is my new blog to continue my journey with my Dales Ponies. It will also be the story of my building a new life for myself, alone now, except for my friends, horses and dogs, since my partner died in March 2009. We had lived and worked together, mostly twenty four hours a day, for nearly 28 years and I have never lived alone before. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends that I am still here, still sane(ish) and ready to re-invent myself. I love them all more than words can ever say and can never thank them enough for all they have done and are still doing. It is also a tribute to Alexandra Kurland and 'The Click That Teaches' that I know how to save myself now. To new beginnings.......

Friday, 12 June 2009

Grace and Aspirations to be a Devil's Horseman.

I think I have now begun a second childhood. Ever since I watched the Devil's Horsemen again at Herts Show in May I have had this yearning to be one of them. Earlier this week I even bought the boots that I saw Camilla Naprous wearing when she was walking around the showground, so I could feel like one of them!

I rode Grace in the school tonight and continued with this theme. We practised some halt to canters and canter to halts, all on a slack rein, and she was awesome and loved every moment of it, sitting onto her hind quarters and coming right up in front. I'm going to see what she thinks about a lance next, so I can try some mock jousting, and perhaps some Garrocha. I don't think I'll be trying hanging upside down from the saddle and picking things up off the ground at a flat out gallop just yet though!

Grace has been a revelation to me lately. Having not owned her for very long or as a youngster I never felt that I had quite the same bond with her that I do with Jack and Bella before, which is maybe why I've found riding her easier than I have them since March, because it is less emotional for me and I've been on internal emotional overload so much of the time.

Grace has tried her heart out, whether it's being brave in heavy traffic, accompanying a nervous horse and rider and giving them a lead, setting an impeccable example of how a sensible, confident horse should behave, including letting me lead them from her when necessary, or trying her hardest to do what I'm asking from the tiniest possible cue and in self carriage, which was never her forte, she's been just terrific and the bond between us has strengthened immeasurably. I am so grateful to her and I think she knows it, from her enthusiasm and pride in her work.

She is a little treasure and treasure her I most certainly do.


  1. Only another horseperson can truly understand the deep power of your post about Grace. How aptly named she is!

    The new stable/stalls look wonderful. How nice and airy for your little herd. They can see all around and share companionship while still having their own private space. Very nice.

  2. Thank you so much Jean. I feel as though Grace has seen her opporunity to shine and grabbed it. She has just blossomed and grown in confidence so much too. She is another inspiration to me and I love her so much for it.

    I am so, so lucky in my friends and my horses. I don't think anyone has ever been luckier than I am and I owe them the world and more!

  3. Helen you are so eloquent, and your posts are so moving. Its lovely to hear how Grace has blossomed and is now doing walk-canter-walk transitions, what a star!!

    LOVE the new stables - they look so warm, cozy and really communal, too.

    Your comment about horses trying really hard when they are scared is very perceptive - at the alex clinic recently there was a horse who was trying SO hard not to jump out of his skin but it was clearly very difficult for him. I've always recognised when Tig tries despite being scared but I do wonder whether I've taken Hylo for granted sometimes. In fact I can help tig past scarey things nearly 100% of the time, but Hylo, even though he is more sensible, can really struggle sometimes.

    I love reading your posts, please keep doing them!!!

  4. Get a garrocha pole - it is great fun.I had a lesson with one on ben, then came back,. and played with an old windsurf mast for a bit!

    Grace and you would love it,!

  5. Thank you very much Charlotte and I will. As I said to someone the other day I don't write it - it writes itself and I have to let it, to try to make sense of everything.

    Hilary, I'm already looking around for something I can use as a Garrocha pole!