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.......

Sunday, 6 September 2009

New Pony and New Friends.

My life continues at it's usual whirlwind pace, thank goodness!!! I'm best without too much time to stop and think.

I have a 12.2hh New Forest Pony on a months trial to teach my farmer friend's children to ride on. He arrived this morning and has spent the whole day telling my Dales that he may be small but he's not going to be bullied by anyone! I'll take some photos tomorrow.

He's called Denny and he's 16 years old and has a very wise face. His owner's dog rode him here (he only lived just up the road with his mum and younger brother) and he has taken the pig, poultry, goats, etc in his stride. He is just about big enough for me to get on now I'm quite thin, so I'm going to try him out tomorrow before any children try him. I also want to buy one of Jill Shepard's Inky Dinky Saddles which I think should be made in adult sizes too!!! I'm not getting the pink version though!

I also have rented a stable and grazing to 3 goats and, through their owner, have an invitation to go and learn about working heavy horses with Clydesdales used for logging etc. They do demonstrations and their owner is passionate about promoting heavies and teaching people how to work them. I would very much like to do something similar to promote Dales Ponies and show how versatile and what fantastic temperaments and brains they have one day, so I'm very keen to meet him.

Someone has also asked for first refusal on my last two stables when they are ready for occupancy. I have already given her a clicker display and she was very keen and could see all the possibilities it offers straight away. I like her a lot and already regard her as a friend.

I have suddenly acquired loads of new friends and new possibilities and am so full of energy no-one can keep pace with me. I think it's the result of years of feeling slightly bored and under stretched, to be honest, plus the relief of finding that I am suddenly passionate about my ponies and my life again. I still don't much like being left on my own but that happens less and less now anyway. I wish David could see me now - he would be amazed and so proud of me, and of our 3 best friends who have made all of this possible and still prop me up constantly in terms of morale, reassurance and practical help.

I take my driving test a week on Wednesday. My instructor has been just fantastic and I am striving to stay in touch with him and his wife. I have enjoyed his company so much and he often made me forget all my worries when I was with him, even in the early days. I used to hate coming home to an empty, silent house after being in his company but that is no longer the case, thank goodness. I have more to thank him for than just for teaching me to drive and I really like his wife too. I hope they will both become my friends when my lessons are finished.

I find it hard to believe now how black and empty my life looked when David died. We were too self contained and I didn't make any effort to make or maintain close friendships with anyone else. I will never, ever make that mistake again and value friendship above all else now, both male and female friends. Relationships are great but with very close friends I have the support and freedom to be whoever I want to be and to do whatever I want to do. There's no jealousy or insecurity to deal with and it's very liberating, if a little scary!!! I try to make sure everyone knows how much I appreciate them now because I know how empty, cold and black my life was without them. My animals were never enough to keep me afloat without people to share them with.

We are having a party soon. For my friend it's a house warming party and for me it's a new life warming party. I've told my friends that I want the house to be heaving and left trashed, so it goes down in history as a party to remember and gives the neighbours plenty to complain about!!!! I haven't had a party since I was a child and I can't wait! I can't believe how many people I now have to invite and so many of them I regard as close friends. I am very, very, very lucky!!!!!


  1. fab post Helen - funnily enough I was just going to shut the laptop down but felt I ought to log in.....

    Pony sounds fab - we need pics though :-) It truly sounds like things are really taking off. Where else can one find a really supportive and positive environment as you are offering? I have a sneaking suspicion you'll love riding the new boy actually.....

    We have 2 clydes at our yard, well, a field just next to as the farmer's son's other half has them. One is 19hh!! Bless her she hasn't had much luck with them what with one thing and another, but they are great, and are both trained to harness.

    How lovely to have the last stables already 'pre booked', too!

    I have to say its a very wise comment about becoming too self contained, and its a scenario I could fall into myself quite easily if I'm honest. I have a major flaw in me that falls out of touch - no doubt freud would have a field day - but that is such a wise and sanguine observation having been on both sides.

    I do love the idea of a life warming party, and I think that David would indeed be smiling on you and proud of all you have achieved.

    Don't forget the pictures!!

  2. So glad things are well! Sometimes it's the dark times that force us to make changes to our lives that end up being very positive. The being self-contained thing is a risk for some of us, myself included.

    Your pony sounds lovely - our Norman, now retired, was 12.2 and as feisty as they come.

  3. Love that little pony's determintation not to be bullied. It's a lesson we all could benefit from.

    So happy to hear your plans for a party and how many friends you have acquired. Quite a change from a few months ago, and definitely a good one.

    I can see your smile through every word.

  4. Sounds like you have got loads to keep you busy! Love the inkydinky saddles!!!
    And how long before you clicker train the goats!!

    A great post from you Helen. David would be so proud of you.

  5. All great stuff Helen,and all created by you, what a long way you have come.good luck with the new pony,he sounds a darling!

    Looking at that saddle it seems similar in principle to my Barefoot Cheyenne, which is the most comfortable I have ever had!

  6. Thank you all so much. It is still tough and lonely at times. The thing I miss the most is being hugged. The other day I told a friend's boyfriend who I'd only just met that I was taking my test a week on Wednesday and he put his arm around my shoulders which I thought was lovely of him. I've found it the hardest thing to do without. I hug my horses and dogs a lot instead!

    Apart from that I'm doing really well now and everything gets easier and feels more normal everyday. The sense of wondering what's real and when I'm going to wake up has gone at last. I now see myself as the driver and manager that I am and I am starting to believe I really can do all this and do it well, and that my friends really might stick around and keep me company for the rest of my life.