Although its been almost 4 weeks since I arrived home (gosh time flies when you’re doing the work of 2.5 people!) the wonderful time I had in the UK is still fresh in my mind.
At the end of July, I farewelled mum who I’d been travelling Europe with for 8 weeks, to ‘do the UK’ on my own. At least I could speak the language although in some parts of Scotland I had trouble understanding the local accent at times!
As I started writing this story, I realised it would quickly turn into a novel if I were to detail all the interesting experiences I had. So, as I intend to write in depth articles about each equine related adventure, I will give a brief summary of the month I stayed in England and Scotland. Sadly I didn’t make it to Ireland as planned – I couldn’t have done it justice in the 5 days I had left and frankly I was getting a little travel weary by then, so thought it best to save some places for next time!
Here’s what I got up to briefly:
- Started in Wiltshire visiting Shelley and Sue who had been live-in students at my place back in 2007. Loved riding my first Icelandic Pony on the Salisbury Plain, seeing the New Forest ponies and Highland cattle, and walking around Stonehenge.
- Then drove to Cornwall with Christine (who I met through Friendship Training) to visit Mark Hanson (author of ‘Revealing Your Hidden Horse‘ to see his natural horse keeping in action and enjoyed seeing the Godvrey Lighthouse, Cornwall coast and seaside town of St Ives.
- Back to Devon where I stayed with Dawn (long time newsletter fan) and Ian. They looked after me incredibly well and drove me to see the Donkey Sanctuary, Combe Farm Arabians, Nic Barker’s Barefoot Rehab centre and Vanessa Bee doing a Horse Agility demo for a local pony club.
- Then went to the Cotswold Water Park area where I stayed with Christine; we hosted a Friendship Training gathering, hung out with her lovely horses and saw barefoot trimmer Jayne Hunt again (I’d inspired Jayne to start trimming back in 2004 at one of my South African Courses).
Rode the bus through London and saw the Olympic stadium on my way to Norfolk where I stayed with Johanna at her Norfolk Training Centre. She has set up an amazing grass and pea gravel track system and all her horses are barefoot and ridden bitless. Polly organised 2 half day Bitless Riding Workshops where people and horses got to try out my LightRider bridles and I was able to compare how they felt before and after on several horses.
- After a flight to Edinburgh I stayed with Judy before travelling with Irish ladies, Paula and Christine to Sally Spencer’s Saugh’s Farm in Cumbria for the Resource Day. 25+ people came to hear Mark Hanson, Judy and I share knowledge on our specialty areas. Loved being with Judy and her horses, riding her Highland Pony, seeing how a farmer has allowed acres for individual boarding and learning more about Training for Trust. I also experienced the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a fabulous 3 day bus tour to the Isle of Skye.
- Onto Glasgow to meet Cynthia & Andy at ‘Mid Bogside’ where it was lovely to see another former live-in student, Rebecca just before she set off for her first job as a fully trained Veterinarian in the Shetland Islands.
- Last stop on the way home was in Dubai where I beat the 44 degree heat by spending all day in the Dubai mall (1500+ shops and the biggest aquariaum) and watched the beautiful fountain night show.
I can’t thank all the people I stayed with enough for making my time in the UK so memorable. The experiences have helped me think differently about several aspects of horse keeping and have given me plenty of fodder for future articles. Now that Kara from New Zealand is arriving to start work this week, I will have time to write again so stay tuned!
Lovely memories are jogged when looking back at all the photos – if you’d like to see them too go to this online album.