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  • Samantha Lissington

UK Week 1 Update!

Having travelled 50 hours in all sorts of timezones, I am pretty happy that we only woke up at 4.45am on Friday morning after arriving here in the UK! We were pretty excited to get out and see the world, because we arrived in the dark the night before - we hadn’t even seen what the house looked like, let alone the country we were in!

7am we headed off to get the ponies in their paddocks – through a fairytale leaf tunnel and off to see the yard. Boy it is pretty, I was honestly a little taken aback by how beautiful it is here – I love NZ so much that I wasn’t expecting to like the scenery here. As Ginny says – If we have to leave NZ, the Cotswolds is a pretty good place to end up!

For those of you that don’t know – the Cotswolds area has restrictions on what you can build, and so all of the buildings are made of Cotswold stone, making it all look like a bit of a gingerbread house Disneyland.

The horses were SO happy to be in a paddock, it really was so rewarding to see them galivanting around and stretching their legs after such a long trip. After settling them in we moved my gear into the tack room – probably the only weird thing about the property is that the tack room isn’t joined to the barn, so it is a bit of weight training/ balance work trying to get all my gear back and forth each day.

Writing this in hindsight my first week was actually pretty stressful, I felt like a fish out of water. Purely because everything is so unfamiliar down to the small details, for both the horses and I.

- All four were still completely attached to eachother in week one. This made it really tricky because I did want to keep them relatively settled, so I had to bring all four in at once (if I brought two in, I would have to leave one on its own while I rode the other, and they would get really panicky and unsettle the rest of the bard). - The flies in the UK summer are like missiles, and the horses have to wear fly rugs and masks the whole time – weirdly they are really related to the sun, so on cloudy days they aren’t half as bad as the sunny days. And if the horses actually use their shelters the flies don’t go in the shelters which is also bizarre. So anyway after heading off to buy the best fly equipment I could possibly find, my masks didn’t fit and they just kept getting them off! - I was also terrible at not riding – I gave them two days off before I took them for a hack on the third day, they felt like the two longest days of my life! - Jasmine managed to get a nick on her hock, which blew up like an elephant leg, the horses are just not used to the environment over here, so they all react to things so quickly! - None of them were particularly settled, so it was challenging to do all the standard activities – giving them a wash felt like a battle with the forces of nature. - My tack room is taking some time for me to settle in and work out what feels right – the feng shui isn’t there yet! - Ginny and Mitch kindly lent Brayden and I a car whenever we needed it, but we were very keen to get our own sorted – so the research started! Turns out cars are pretty cheap here, but insurance and road tax is expensive, so we had to learn what that all meant before we could settle on what we wanted. - None of the horses were eating very well in week 1, I don’t think they touched anything for 3 days. I started taking some things out after that, and we worked out that they don’t like the taste of the new oil yet, so we have taken that out and will slowly re-introduce again. Lucky they have such beautiful big paddocks to eat! - To top it all off they really did look like woolly mammoths compared to the beautiful summer coats of the other horses on the yard. Which I think all added to us feeling out of place.

Once I could ride I was much better – and I think the horses settled much quicker once they were in a routine again. Day 4 and 5 I schooled them in the arena, they were all pretty good with just some nervous neighs to contend with ;)

We met some cool people and Ginny took us to a couple of the local pubs (they are just as cute as you would think!) We also caught up with Nick and Callum over here – great to have some kiwis going through the same things at the same time! We all got to go and watch dressage training at Squad camp in the first week - it was great to meet the fellow kiwis and put a few faces to names!

Have loved having Brayden come with - he's had a crash course in grooming and it has been fun sharing all of this together :)

I'll post a week 2 / 3 update tomorrow!


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