I recently realised that I've been writing a lot about all the myriad adventures I've been having since landing here in my new home of Scotland back in late June of 2017, but I haven't written much about my equine adventures. After all, horses have been my life for well over 40 years, and I'm not about to stop that. What I am doing is dialing it back, and not making horses be a 24/7 proposition anymore. I no longer own a 40 acre ranch with 40 - 80 horses on it, and all the constant work that entails. After all, I am an "Auld Lassie", so I want to slow down a little and have more time to not only enjoy the horses and people I meet here, but to do other things with my life as well (as illustrated by all the other adventures I have been sharing with you in this blog since moving to Scotland!).
Getting to know the horses (and their people) here has proven to be another adventure - a wonderful adventure of learning new and/or different ways of dealing with our equine friends in terms of basic maintenance and care, in types of horses, and in styles of riding, to name a few - oh yes, and terminology! It has also been an adventure of sharing my knowledge of things equine with the open-minded owners and riders who want to try something new and/or different for themselves and their horses. I have been made to feel very welcome here, and have developed new and fun friendships because of our mutual love of horses.
One of the things I'm getting better at is terminology. For example, here if you say yard, that's not the garden or fenced area around your house like it is in California, it's what would be called a stable or ranch. You don't board your horse at a yard, it's livery and the inside area where you put your horse is a stable not a stall. You don't put a blanket on your horse, it's a rug. I am finding that, since when I lived in Ireland for 4 months in 1980 and ran a riding school there, that halter and head collar are becoming more interchangeable here now. Let's see, what else - feed pellets are nuts, a horse van is a horse box or lorry, a nappy horse is one who refuses to go forward and might also buck.......I'm sure I'll think of more later. Oh, I'm finding myself starting to say DRESS-age instead of Dress-AGE.
I think what I've most loved since coming here is the interaction of horse, rider and coach - something that I always loved at my old ranch as well. It is so much fun to see a whole new group of riders and horses, with varied backgrounds and levels of expertise, work so hard to either master things they have already been working on, or to learn entirely new ways of dealing with and riding our equine partners.
One thing that I have been the first to introduce to Scotland is Cowboy Dressage - a blend between the useable, down-to-earth, western, all purpose horse with a day’s work behind him, and the horse designed out of hundreds of years of horsemanship—the fluid, graceful dressage horse. I could go on and on about all the benefits of this new discipline to riding, invented by my friend, Eitan Beth Halachmy in California, but suffice it to say it is a very inclusive form of riding - anyone, with any horse (or mule!), can participate, with the guiding principle being Soft Feel. It is quickly becoming very popular here in Scotland, and I really enjoy sharing this with all who are interested.
I want to share with you some photos of the different horses, riders, yards and roads I drive to and fro that I have experienced since moving here. Of course I have literally hundreds of images I would love to share with you, and it's so hard to just share these few, but it gives you an idea of Scotland and horses. Also.......in case some of you didn't know this, we just found out this week that we were granted our Residence Visas, which allows us to stay here for at least ANOTHER 5 YEARS! Yippee!!! More horses, riders and adventures!