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, 10 October 2009

Barney Ridng Denny and Friends in Need.

I have been helping muck out some Clydesdales a couple of miles away from here first thing in the morning because their owner is in hospital and one of my liveries was wearing herself out doing them alone before work everyday, seven days a week, for the last three weeks, with no end in sight yet.

They are beautiful, huge, gentle horses. The two I been leading out to the field at 5.30am are called Silent and Starlight, which has been very appropriate!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting them but it has taken my eye off the ball a bit at home.

One of my liveries has been really struggling and I hadn't realised how much. She has three young children between ten and two years old, three part stabled horses, a part time job, a dog and a house and husband to look after and it's all been getting too much for her. She will never ask for help and is always trying to help other people. I should have noticed how worn out she has been getting before now but she always tries to smile through it all.

I mucked her horses out for her today and insisted she let me help her more but she hates to feel that she's being a nuisance. I told her that she knows she would do the same for me, and she would! I had a chat with some other liveries this evening and we are all determined to help her, whether she likes it or not!!!!!!!! She is the sweetest, kindest person imaginable and would do anything for anyone and we all love her to bits. She is the sort of person everyone tells all their troubles to and she always tries to help and advise in a very quiet, unassumimg way.

I also have someone else here who's father has just been told that he doesn't have long to live. I thought that I was going to have trouble coping with this situation as it's so soon for me but they came up yesterday and it was fine. She was trying very hard not to cry so I took her aside and told her how I managed to keep a smile on my face in the hospital, no matter what, then went and talked to her dad about ordinary, everyday things. Another livery and I got their horses in for them and her dad rode his. He then asked me if I'd like to have a go on him, which I did, then his daughter rode him too. I told them of my plans to break Crystal to harness, as they broke his for driving too, and he was very enthusiastic about helping me.

His daughter text me later to thank me for helping and for making things feel normal and I realised that it often seems to be that loss of a sense of normality that seems to be the hardest thing to cope with. They both want to enjoy what time they have left together but they had no idea how to go about doing that or even if it was possible or realistic to try to. That's something I feel qualified to help with and it gave me so much pleasure to be part of a couple of happy hours that they had with their horses. I hope they have many, many more and that she can stay strong enough to enjoy them to the full with him. I will do everything I can to help and will always be my usual happy, smiling self for them as well as for myself.

I think that I have actually become a very strong person now, it's just a question of keeping on believing it and not panicking and texting my farmer friends for reassurance every time the going gets a little tough. Hearing from them always makes me feel safe and the relief of receiving their replies is always overwhelming, regardless of what they say, but the fact that I know how much I rely on them is not very good for my self esteem, plus any major delay in replying leaves me feeling a bit frantic. I know that I am quite tough on myself but, on the whole, I think that's a good and positive thing.

One of my farmer friends has been doing some jobs around the place for the last couple of days and letting me help him. I love working with them so much. We always have such a good laugh and we all know and understand each other so well now, with loads of stored up private jokes between us. He was making a list today of all the jobs that we are going to do together and all the plans we have. That is so reassuring for me as I'm always worrying that everyone will get fed up with me and go away never to return. I need to be able to see and plan for an enjoyable, companionable future as well as enjoying the here and now.

They both get on really well with all the people here too and we all care for and look after and out for each other. There are still loads of improvements to be done around the farm but this feels like a wonderful place to be these days. The sad thing is that David would have loved it too, and loved talking to all the people here. He would have especially loved getting to know these two friend as well as I do now because he had no idea just what special, extraordinary people they are.

After the party my livieries and friends have been suggesting we have some regular social evenings, which sounds just wonderful to me. I always thought that I was the only one without friends and a social life but many people seem to be in the same boat and everyone seemed to love the party so much. Even the people who said they didn't do parties are asking for more, if a bit smaller, so we can all get to know each other really well.

Here are some photos of the lovely Barney riding Denny. He does walk and trot, and we are thinking of training him up as a stunt/vaulting dog to save us trying to do it!!!!


  1. You've done some good work with helping others - I think that may be the best way to deal with one's own anxieties and fears. Good for you, and for the others that wanted to help! Very cute photos!

  2. You will soon have a 65 horses yard like Mirella! It is a habit that the saturday or sunday night they have pizza at the yard. There is a big social life.

    Your post keeps reinforcing my belief that horses are here to help us to help other people.

  3. Thank you both so much.

    Kate, I did think that wanting to help other people so much was a disraction technique for me - trying to sort out problems that are solvable so I don't have time to think about my own, and a sense of loneliness is still a major problem for me at times) - but if it is then at least it's a positive way to deal with it. I do worry that I'll drive people mad by worrying too much and trying too hard but no-one has seemed to mind yet. If I did upset anyone I'd be devastated as I still feel so raw and still lack a sense of proportion at times.

    Muriel, I think there's a lot of truth in that. Horses seem to draw people together often, don't they, and I am such a herd animal now!!!!

  4. Catching up on posts, Helen-
    supercute pictures!

    You know, horse people have often very little time left to socialize, trying to keep the juggling act going with family, horses and job.
    And we do get a bit obsessed with our horses, right?
    So to me, getting together with some other horse loving people, with something to eat and a lot to talk, is really a treat!