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A New Chapter

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It's been a few weeks since my last blog, recapping the events of 2017, and the year 2018 is already well underway and it seems to be moving quite quickly.  This year is all set to be one fantastic year.  It will be made up of two major events that I'm absolutely thrilled about, and I'm sure a whole lot of smaller (although equally important) happenings that I'm yet to be aware of.

The first of these events - I say first as it was the first one I knew about, but hopefully event 2 will complete before this - is the ALPS trip (extended version).  Organisation is well underway (Many thanks to Rob and Chucky for being lead folk on this, I don't know how you do it) I've paid most of my dues, and I just can't wait.

The trip this year will be 3 and half weeks for Rob, Matt and Myself.  We had originally planned to have Brian with us on the trip too, but he has unfortunately had to pull out due to a health matter.  We will surely miss him being there, but we wish …

What makes YOU feel good?

Over Christmas and New Year it is sometimes very easy to forget how much you have accomplished over the past 12 months.  Places you've visited, things you've seen and achievements big and small can all fade in to the background.  Just little cogs in the great machine of life that continues chugging along, relentlessly one day after the next, minute by minute, hour by hour.....
But I say these moments are not 'Just' anything.  Savour every one, and remember them any way you can.   At the beginning of this year I started making notes of things that felt like achievements or special moments.  And, I'm surprised at how many there are!  I've just sat down to recap them and honestly I'm amazed I got so much done.  The start of winter and the lead up to Christmas felt a little under whelming, and it made it easy to feel like the whole year had been the same, until I reviewed all my notes!  I've joted them bown below.  It's in bullet point style, as many o…

A liberating journey - Follow your dreams

I've been playing with Buddy at liberty for a couple of years now.  I say playing and not working, not to diminish our efforts or learnings, but to remind me that 'work' is not a great term to use when we do things with our horses, and play sounds much more fun. 
When I see other trainers and displays where liberty is done, it very often looks more like play and enjoyment, and for many years I thought 'If only I could do that with my horse, I bet if I let my horse loose in the school she would just walk off, or not move'.  (She being Coffee - Buddy's Dam)
 For a long time I just thought I wasn't good enough, my horse wasn't good enough, I didn't have the right trainer, the right equipment, blah blah blah, any excuse to distract me from what that 'i bet...' thought was saying.  I knew back then that my horse was trying to say something to me.  Something about what I was doing, or how I was acting, meant my horse did not want to be around me.…

New wheels....

Alright, I haven't listened to my own advice... no surprise there really.... no 'to do' list created and not feeling much more productive business wise.  I did go to a table top sale last week and I got a few cards out there, managed to make back the cost of the table with items sold too so not an entirely useless few weeks.

I have however, managed to get out exercising more.  The Birmingham Velo came through the area the other week; as we were unable to get very far without difficulty, and Keith has an interest in his bikes, we went over to Bewdley bridge to watch some of the cyclists come through.  It was nice to see them come past actually, all the different charities and causes they were riding for, the more 'professional' looking types and those who appeared to be more 'leisure riders'.  By the time they reached Bewdley they were just over half way, with a little shy of 50 miles to go, and none of them looked tired or out of breath (although I suppose…

One foot in front of the other

It's been a while since I last updated, and unfortunately I've done very little paddling too!  I'm starting to feel like I'm going backwards having not paddled for so long.  It's the head games but I know it's going to up the nerves next time I go out.  It's getting dark earlier in the evenings now too so the potential for getting out in the week is slim.

On top of that it's also been difficult to fit in some exercise.... Oh who am I kidding?  I've been putting off exercise because... *insert any poor excuse available*.  So last night I went swimming...

Swimming has never been my favourite sport, but with only a couple of hours available to us our choices were limited.  We had cried off the bike riding on Tuesday because the forest was going to be pretty muddy (example of poor excuse), and I was determined to do SOMETHING, knowing that making ourselves do something would be the hard part, but we'd feel good for it.

No surprise then that after 3…

The mighty T

After a busy week Keith and a quick play at the club Keith and I were keen to get back on the water for a play.  Keith had a new boat to try out and I wanted to see how different I felt on UK rivers after being in the Alps.  So we got together with a few other paddlers and headed over to the mighty T.  The last time I came to the T was an emotional visit, I was a nervous wreck and it all seemed to big and overwhelming.  I faced my fears and along with some tears made it through the pre-graveyard section by the end of the day.  I was determined this time I would do more and I wouldn’t get so wound up.
We got down here and without too much faff we were kitted up and on the water.  I spent much less time on the pre-pre-graveyard with some ferry glides and S-turns to get the feel of the boat again and settle in.  I was still nervous here but it was more a residual feeling from last time than actually to do with today.  Once I felt reasonably comfortable, I decided not to dwell too long o…

Back to the river

After three weeks back at home it was time to get back on the water.  Keith and I have both been a little lazy since we got back.  The post holiday blues you might say.  Nothing seems so much fun when it’s raining and miserable, and motivation is hard to find when you don’t have a big group of people all getting out doing fun stuff together every day.  
We made the effort to get to a Friday night river session with the club, despite the miserable weather which had stopped us the past couple of weeks.  I had my niece for the day and she was excited by the prospect of doing some kayaking with me.  After an awesome afternoon with the horses we got our stuff together and headed to the club.  Pennies paid, we got changed and I got some kit out for Freya to borrow.  It was only once we started to get a boat and paddles sized up for her that reality of what we were doing set in.  I think having seen some of my videos from the Alps she was worried about it being big feisty waves or something…

Lessons learnt - the early years of business

We’ve been home from the Alps a little over 3 weeks now, and I’m only just starting to feel like I’m really home.  My mind has stayed in holiday mode despite getting straight back to work only a few hours after we got back. 
I use the word work here fairly lightly.  As I’ve mentioned before my work now doesn’t feel much like work as I enjoy what I do, and what I came back to was caring for a house full of animals. 
In the last 3 weeks I’ve spent 2 nights in my own bed and otherwise been engaged staying away pet sitting, alongside various lessons and horse care.  Not a bad way to coin a living and being an animal lover it’s something that comes easily and naturally to me.  There are stresses involved of course, as I’m caring for someone else’s beloved family members, I want them to be happy and healthy, with the love and attention they are used to. 
This year I have realised the first stages of my dream.  My work now fits in around my life instead of the other way around, and altho…

Alps 2017 - Galibier.... and The End.... :(

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I wasn’t sure what I was going to do on Thursday.  It had seemed we had so much time to fit everything in, but with just two days left there was just so much I wanted to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it in.  After weighing my options and then sleeping on it, I decided I’d join the group Mountain biking.  They were driving up to the top of the Galibier and then taking the off road route back down, all the way back to the house.  It was a little chilly at the top of the mountain but I knew it wouldn’t take long to warm up, and the further down we went the warmer it would feel anyway.  The first bit of the route was on the road, only a few bends, but I haven’t done an awful lot on a bike.  I also didn’t know this bike well, and it was a bit scary going round the road bends where the edge of the road turned in to a huge drop, with no barriers to stop you going off the edge.  I soon found that, as with many sports (kayaking and horse riding most notably) I don’t much like being be…

Alps 2017 - Star fish and steak

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We’re now well in to the second week of the holiday, which I’ve been told is less ‘paddle intensive’, and most people start to do more of the other activities out here.  This is largely due to the water levels dropping during our stay, and there being less rivers running at suitable levels by the second week.  Last week on our way back from Argentiere, Sam and I found a place for some horse riding and we had booked that for today (Tuesday).  Keith was keen to join us too, so we later added him to the booking.  That wasn’t until the afternoon though, so we decided to go with Chucky and Dean to get a Via Ferrata done, as we hadn’t managed one so far.  The Via we went to was just a short easy one, about half an hour from the house, and on the way to the horse riding so it fit in perfectly.  It also gave us chance to check out some sport climbing, as there is a little crag at the bottom of the Via. 
The walk in to the Via was probably harder than the Via itself!  Basically because I’m a…