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.......

Saturday, 18 July 2009

I have had the best day today!!!! An old friend of mine has agreed to try sharing the house with me for a month and, if we get on OK, rent her house out and rent half of my house from me. I had suggested it to, her hardly daring hope that she might agree.

I have hated living alone more than I can ever say and been more lonely and desolate than I would ever have thought it possible for anyone to be, let alone me with all my horses and dogs for company. Twenty eight years ago, before I knew what it was like not to be lonely, I would have been fine but after four months of trying to get used to it I've been feeing worse and not better. The relief that it's coming to an end is overwhelming!!! We will have 6 dogs between us, so it will be a bit chaotic, but they have always stayed with us from time to time, and my friend has kept her horses here for most of the twenty eight years I've been here.

This morning we went to watch 'Jive Pony' in action. They were awesome - so full of energy and fun - born entertainers, and the horses were beautifully trained and adorable. My eyes were mostly for Ronan, being a native, but Tinker was gorgeous too and incredibly sane and steady for only 7 years old. I took masses of photos and I've put some at the end of this post. Rosie, who writes the 'Jive Pony' blog looked and sounded a really lovely person and I definitely want to try and get to them for some basic vaulting lessons when their show season ends. My friend has threatened to video me so watch this space for a really good laugh!!!!

This evening my soon to be new livery's mum came to meet me and my ponies. She seemed a bit 'old school' to begin with and was very worried about how safe clicker training would be. I explained about the benefits of positive reinforcement on the horses morale and confidence and told her how, as the emotional wreck I've been lately, I couldn't have found the strength or courage to learn to drive if my instructor hadn't been so encouraging, generous and effusive with his praise of every tiny improvement, and the way he laughed off and explained away every mistake I made. I was a nervous wreck and he has turned me into a fairly confident and competent driver in just a couple of months, through his use of positive reinforcement through warm and generous praise. I would have fallen apart at the seams without it.

I gave her a demo with Jack as before then tacked Grace up and did some gallop to halts with no reins up the field. Grace and I LOVE doing this now and could do it all day!!! She glides into a canter at the merest hint and really picked up some speed tonight before sliding to a halt the second I sat back and asked her to. It made me feel like a teenager again!

My audience loved it too and loved Grace. The mother admitted to me that she has confidence issues herself about riding now and would like me to work with her too. I'm really touched and they are both lovely people who are going to be great to have around.

More of my dreams turning to reality, thanks this time to my beautiful, clever, kind, generous ponies!

JIVE PONY - The Chiltern Show. If you click on a picture you can see the full size version. Click on the 3rd photo to see the wisest face I've ever seen on a horse!

Warming up and getting ready.


I'd like to thank Rosie and Rebecca for making me forget everything that has happened to me recently while watching them. I've often told my friends recently that I wished I could have a break from myself for a while. Rosie and Rebecca, Ronan and Tinker gave me that break and by the time they finished I felt totally happy and inspired. Thank you SO much! It was exactly what I needed and your energy and joy of life was infectious!

I passed a Land Rover on the way home which had a logo on the sides. It read "ONE LIFE - LIVE IT" You girls looked to be the embodiment of that and I intend to be too!


  1. What fun! If only I were young and supple....

    Sounds like the perfect day of inspiration for you. Now, onward and upward...well, at least stay upward should you decide to start vaulting yourself.

  2. Hi Helen

    Thankyou for writing such a lovely report on us! You photos are wonderful too, far better than any of the ones we took! I'm really glad you enjoyed the show - I was having real difficulties with Tinker, but he sorted himself out by the afternoon and was much better - they can't be perfect all of the time!

    If you would like some vaulting lessons just let me know - I'm around during the week most of the time, so could sort something out if you like. I've been reading your blog and would love to come and meet your ponies, they all sound fantastic!

    Take care,
    Rosie x

  3. Thank you very much, Jean, I wish I were a bit younger and more supple too!!!

    Rosie, thank you SO much too! I have been telling all my friends about you and showing them all the photos. Being mostly male livestock farmers you can probably guess that they're pretty keen to watch you both in action as soon as they get the chance!!

    It would be SO wonderful if you could come and meet my ponies. I haven't passed my test yet but my friend has offered to drive me to you for a lesson, so I'll definately be in touch.

    Thank you so much for your comments. I've been on a high ever since, from watching you both, and I bought a poster and some key rings to keep me inspired!

  4. I didn't know who you were but now I've seen your photos I do remember you buying stuff from us! You should have introduced yourself so we could have had a proper chat! Another time maybe xx

  5. I was too shy! Ridiculous I know, at my age!! Definately next time!

  6. Helen, when you start vaulting on your ponies I will personally come down and videotape it! That's a promise. :-)

    I always admired you, months ago before David became ill, for the attitude you have towards life and the way you inspired both your horses and your friends. I admire you even more now for the way you are pulling through despite your loss, and the fact that you are still a strong, kind person. I can't imagine what you've been through, but I do know that to come out the other side, as you are doing, takes tremendous courage. *hugs*

  7. Oh, Kate, that has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you SO much!!!

    It's all down to my friends - they can just never do enough to help, both practically and emotionally, and I never even have to ask. If they're not here working and helping they are texting me jokes and checking I'm OK - they're just extrordinary people and I am SO lucky to have them all.

    You're on for the videotaping! I met an old friend yesterday who is even older than I am and she says she wants a go too! I think I'll start a crumblies vaulting club and, with any luck, I'll be the youngest member.

    Poor Rosie, you don't know what you're letting yourself in for!!!!!!!!!!!!!