Making the change!

20140617-211513-76513362.jpgChange is something that can be both scary, or exciting, or both!

My greatest change came from shock and incredible sadness…

Our lives are full of change, and while some of us accept it, others try to fight with it, similar to the way horses react during different periods of their training.

Some people spend their entire lives TRYING to change, and some people spend their lives trying to change OTHERS!

20140617-213957-77997715.jpgA dear friend of mine smokes like a chimney, and a do gooder attempted to heal him through acupuncture.

I asked him if he thought this would work…

He just smiled at me and said, I don’t think so, I like smoking, I don’t want to stop!

I agreed that she probably had her work cut out for her, as the main ingredient in most life changes is DESIRE~!

My change of location has been driven by a strong desire… to train and ride in the native land of my dream horse, the LUSITANO!

20140617-214000-78000186.jpgAnd this change has been both rewarding and interesting, as I have gradually come to know and adapt to the Portuguese way of life.

It took me some time to learn the lingo, as often even the most simple day to day phrases had me confused…

A typical Portuguese answer to “How are you?” is mais ou menos…meaning MORE  OR LESS.

I would often be left wondering, more or less than what? More happy than yesterday, less agitated than you were before???

Another good one I discovered was the answer to “How do I get to ???” when asking directions…

20140617-183817-67097171.jpgThe Portuguese reply is sempre na frente…meaning ALWAYS IN FRONT!

Again..Always in front of what?

I soon figured out that they probably just expected you to keep walking forward… until you either got bored, or realised they had no idea where you were talking about, whichever came first!

But aside from life change something equally as difficult to change is someone’s OPINION!

Being a stubborn country girl I tend to give my opinion readily, abruptly, and often when it’s not wanted!

I have learnt that when people ask you for your opinion on a personal matter, they actually don’t want to know what you think, they just want you to tell them it’s fantastic… that their hair looks great, that they don’t look a day over twenty, that you barely noticed the sunglass outline that has been permanently  tattooed to their face!

In terms of animals, giving your opinion is even more dangerous, and telling someone their chihuahua looks like a rat, or that their beloved bunny is roadkill, is like telling a mother her baby is ugly.

It does not go down well AT ALL!

20140617-183812-67092708.jpgHorse people are no exception, and when someone asks you if you like their horse, I have learnt to be very careful.

There is no good way to answer this question constructively in terms of criticism, and the only answer the person is really looking for is “Yes he is simply beautiful!”

Futhermore I have found that even a clever diversionary comment on the voluptuousness of his tail, or the sparkle in his eye, will only warrant further investigation.

Changes once in the saddle come in many shapes and sizes, but currently Batialo and I are making a particular change….the FLYING one to be exact!

20140617-213959-77999062.jpgClick here to read about training the Flying changes from this young rider’s view!

Training the Flying change 

Thought of the day: IF someone tells you you can’t do something, don’t argue…

Just really enjoy proving them WRONG!



In Too Deep

Did you ever think to yourself, ‘I’m in over my head’?

I’ve made a choice, and I really never thought I’d be here, having to face up to the consequences of that decision.

Is it better to swim out and risk drowning, or always stay safe in the sand?

I’m not typically one to worry about being in too deep, and I’m usually the one who realises half way through an intense argument, that she is completely wrong, but will continue to push my point until hopefully the opposer gives up.

When I landed in Portugal, I remember walking out onto the street, the train station behind me, thinking, what now?

I didn’t want to go home to Australia, but I didn’t know a single person, and I didn’t have a single thought as to what I was going to do.

I told mum I’d just stay a week, then a month, and then the months kept on going, and I kept on pushing my way towards where I realised I wanted to be.

After walking onto a lawn one day looking for a cheap room, one of the strongest Portuguese mothers I’ve ever met introduced me to her daughter, and her daughter became my angel who would connect me to Portugal’s Equestrian Master, and now head of the National School of Equestrian Art, Mr Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

Perhaps I was very lucky in that people helped me, but luck didn’t help me at the station that day, and it would have been much easier to hop on a plane and go home.

Truth was, I was ready for a new beginning.

If you’ve never been “in over your head” then perhaps you’re more of a game referee than an actual player?

With horse training, I’m learning that too much control can limit your ability to feel and progress with your partner.

Sometimes you can for example collect the canter, and support the horse so much that he learns to rely on your guidance.

If instead you prepare and then abandon him, letting him learn to support and find his own will and impulsion, you allow him to build his own strength both physically and mentally to carry you both forward.

The best kids are the ones whose parents show them, and then let them learn by themselves.

The value the Portuguese place on family is something truly special, and it took a Portuguese film to really drive home to me just how wise the Portuguese mothers are in raising their sons.

The actor in the film gave her son just a simple look of disappointment, touching the side of his face and lifting his chin up to meet her gaze.

She didn’t stop him, or scold him, or tell him what he should do, but warned him that getting in too deep will have consequences, and that he must learn for himself to live, but live with values and respect.

Is Portugal the place for me?

Is the Lusitano the horse that will take me to the top?

I don’t know if I made the right or wrong choices, we never do. I could have gone back to Australia, and maybe I would be living a completely different life. Trouble with most of us is that we assume we have time. Humans as a whole believe that you have to be sick or old to die, but you don’t. Those two things make it more likely but they are not a requirement.

If you only had today what would you do? That’s the thought I had in my mind when I took the train to Cascais, instead of the plane back to Australia.