Looking Back…Looking Forward…How Was Your 2016?


As we head into Christmas, most people start to reflect on the year, on their life.

2016 on a global scale has been sited as the year where the world turned against the establishment…With Britain leaving the EU, and America voting in a game show host as President.

On a personal level it was the year I very nearly gave up and sold Batialo…and then didn’t.

Just two years until the World Equestrian games, and whether I make it or not, I am already winning, because I just love what I do!…

It was my sister’s birthday last week, and I was lying in bed yesterday and I thought, “my birthday is next”.

Followed by an awfully strange feeling of guilt and sadness. It’s my father’s birthday first.IMG_20150304_182008

This year could have been a really hard one. I had tendon inflammation, a lot of pain, and I couldn’t do the thing that I love to do.

Horse riding, is not so much a sport, but a religion for horse people. I was talking to a friend yesterday who said when she doesn’t do Yoga she feels something is missing, and I understood that feeling. I am also someone who needs to do a lot of physical sport or activity, so in the beginning it was hard for me, to just do nothing…

Some of the great times of 2016, with the best people, and the best horses 🙂 🙂

However, it turned out to be the best year I’ve had, since I can remember. Guess sometimes your best mates, help you more than even they realise.

I’m so grateful to those people.

I also admitted a lot of things to myself, because like I said we deceive ourselves all the time, and I feel proud of how much I have changed.

It’s great to surprise yourself, particularly when you just did it for yourself.

And it is amazing, when you can focus your mind on what’s important, how much better your horse goes!! Nothing surprises me more than just how much animals understand, without you telling them anything.


“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.” Buck Brannaman

I have to admit, Christmas isn’t the easiest time for me. I think I would actually be fine overseas by myself, except that people ask “so what are you doing on Christmas”, but with a look like I might break in half and run off to cry in the corner.merry

Truth is I am perfectly fine.(and not the fine women say when they are not fine, but the actual fine ;)… I have my horses, I talk to my mum everyday, we are closer now than we have ever been, and I have friends that I love to be around.

People put a lot of pressure on christmas as the day to bring everyone together, but really you should be there for the people that matter, and be grateful for them, everyday. I try to be. Of course it’s hard being on the other side of the world.

I thank my mum all the time. For supporting me, and not thinking I was nuts when I called one day and told her I was staying In Portugal to be a top rider, without a horse, a contact, or a place to stay.

I wish I could thank my father. I can now admit, and not feel somehow weakened by the fact, that I still miss him. I can talk about him openly without getting upset, but then sometimes, like the moment above, I will burst into tears just for forgetting that his birthday is before mine.

For a long time I never let myself think about him, and when I did it would be to remind myself of how disappointed he would be in me.

Now I think about him a lot, in the completely opposite way…Thinking just how much he missed, and how much I wished he knew me.

He would have loved Portugal, but more than that I wish he got to see the person I turned out to be, and how much I just love my life._20150605_123836

Christmas is always a time of reflection and planning. Asking where you are, and where you want to be…

I have set my sights on the World Equestrian Games, and I have made a plan for how I can best make that happen. As my friend told me, first eliminate all the obstacles and unreliable elements, and then just give it everything.

The best part is, if I don’t make it, I love every day that I spend training my Portuguese horse, in his homeland, a country rich in history, (and seafood), so not only am I looking back on this year and smiling, but I’m looking to tomorrow and I just can’t wait!sun-7




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