Sunday 28 December 2014

Christmas Time, Rest Time

Walking in Cheshire today :) 
I wonder if the ease with which we cope living the life of nomads comes from having a distant anchor of family houses, tradition, routines, love and care. For sure I feel more and more appreciative of that as I grow older.
As years go by I definitely feel a stronger yearning for own place but that feeling is still quite faint and temperamental, sometimes raising to the surface, all - consuming and dominating sometimes so quiet I barely notice.

Christmas 2014 has just gone and it's been a lovely one :) This time last year we were with my family back in Poland, this year we are in the UK with my other half's family.

More than ever I feel grateful for every positive moment in my life. For simple things like having a great meal, seeing new places, walking in the fog, playing fun games, watching a movie on a sofa, falling asleep under a warm duvet, breathing in a sweet scent of a candle, watching the lights flicker on Christmas tree.

This morning, after a lovely walk, we sat down in the garden with a coffee, birds singing in the bushes, sun playing glittering races across the melting snow. When the crazy, challenging and scary 2015 starts, I will go back to this moment to re-charge :)

Many plans and goals for next year ahead of me and I will share them with you as we go along. For now though, it's my last resting day today. Catching train back home tomorrow and full on teaching day awaits me on Tuesday.

I hope you are all well and have had a great festive time. If you didn't, don't worry. Catch the little things that are easy to miss.
Only a few more days left of this year, I am enjoying the suspense :)


Wednesday 10 December 2014

Organising stuff - the challenges

9.30am - frosty yard near Bristol where I did my clinic this past weekend. Lovely place!
Organisational skills are not my forte. I sometimes get people asking me how I get all these things done: the travelling places without a car, the teaching, the Academy, the blogging/writing etc and the answer is - not blooming easily! ;) In fact, organising it all is what truly feels like work in the "I really don't want to but I have to" sense of the word.
I would like Santa to bring me a good project manager this Christmas who would just get everything nicely organised.

To get things done in some form of fluid order I have to almost draw a map for myself of how I get from A to B and what needs doing in between. I envy all great organisers out there who just "see" a good way of connecting dots! Apart from my love of all things stationary and creative I don't have many positive emotions for organising...

One thing that helps me is my yearly diary - it's a simple book size diary with real pages i.e. not an app on my phone or this blog. Somehow writing things to do with a pen on paper makes them more doable than typing them into an electronic version.
I also have one day a week - Wednesdays for the last few months - which is my designated planning, organising and admin day and if I ever miss it, my whole week becomes a one hectic affair. My days generally are more connected to who I teach or where rather than being named as per days of the week. This can be a little confusing when my clients change days on which they ride for whatever reason or when I have to make changes. It's a challenge!

I decided that since organisational party is my weakness I need to put more effort into it so from this week I will have to find two mornings a week that will be spend on getting stuff planned and organised. Even just writing this down makes me feel like I want to avoid it straight away ;)

Testing share horses at London yard; Sunday
7th December
The London yard is now pretty much fully booked for Academy places unless someone pulls out last minute for whatever reason. I am really looking forward to running my programme there.

What I am looking forward to a little less is more organising ;) The most difficult aspect of my work for me is the constant insecurity and unknown: will the riders continue long term? Will the horses continue to be suitable? Will the facility be good for everyone involved? Will the trains run? If a rider quits the programme for whatever reason will I find a replacement quickly?

It's not just the financial insecurity, although of course that is a huge worry, but the fact there are many elements out of my immediate control that do make me lose some sleep.

This is why I am upping the organisational time so I can put some "risk management" in place. I didn't do it back in 2012 and have been dealing with results until now so it's about time to learn on one's mistakes.
Technically it's January when the world becomes obsessed with resolutions and yearly plans but I am making myself start now. Let's see what comes out if it!

How do you deal with making sure you get things done?


Friday 5 December 2014

Last two months in honest review - life as it happens

Last two months I'd been mostly searching...for answers and for the right opportunity to come along for my London clients. I finally gave up on one of the ideas and that is the one which was based on finding more riding schools to work with. I am not saying no to it fully but for now I feel that if I haven't made something happen in 2 years then it's probably best to become more creative. Without going into too much detail riding schools are either already fully booked and sorted with own activities or have excuses for not opening up to new ways of providing riding education.

The bonus of working with a good facility is of course the access to that facility, to the infrastructure, to comfort for the riders. However, I had a good think about it and I came to conclusions that after all, primary vision for non - owners branch of Aspire Academy is to provide top quality riding tuition for riders without own horses NOT plush time in cosy coffee rooms (even though I do like those :). 

That's when I changed my approach and whilst continuing to search for a centre on smaller scale, I put 90% of effort into finding another solution...I'd been testing a "share a horse for lessons" scenario for a while now and decided it could be the way to go. Owners of the types of horses I am after often welcome a financial contribution to the upkeep of their horse whilst the type of rider I am after to teach is eager to build relationship with the horse they train on. It is not easy for a learner-rider to find a share horse simply because the owners are worried that the horse might end up mistreated or ridden badly due to simple lack of knowledge of the inexperienced sharer. The situation is different if the learner rider actually takes well structured, long-term planned lessons that not only teach the rider but might also school and improve the horse...

I'd emailed and messaged (good old Facebook) pretty much everyone that I thought might help me move forward with this development but for many weeks I had no luck. Either horses were not suitable or the place was just that little bit too "out in the sticks" or there were other reasons that would make the logistics impossible like the horse being only available on Mondays get the idea. 

In the meantime, various funky things were happening, like this bite on my eyelid a few weeks ago!

Waking up with an eye swollen shut is not a very amusing welcome to the day

Not sure what my immune system was thinking but it decided to blow up half of my face as well as the eyelid, working on laptop with one eye was a challenge and was also surprisingly tiring. I also had to teach in sunglasses so I didn't scare anyone and that was a little inconvenient too since it was a week of fog and rain ;) It lasted about 5 days but felt like 5 weeks. Kudos to all one eyed horses jumping and eventing out there, just moving around people and horses in walk was hard enough! 

Finally, I found a yard with several owners looking for sharers. The yard that is very easy to get to and so the big trial begins this month. Of course it wasn't without a drama that almost made me lose the remaining hair that still hangs on to my head but all seems ok, for now at least! 
If as many riding schools' owners say it is not possible to accommodate certain structures into the schools' set ups then perhaps it's time to change the set ups...Sharing a horse for lessons might not be for everybody but if it is for the kind of person that Aspire programmes exist for in the first place, then maybe that's the path to take. 

I have so many plans for next year. I don't know if it's the age, the stress, the various things that needs sorting out but taking forever to do so or what but for the last couple of years I lost quite a lot of my usual courageous ability to make plans. Fear of failure maybe, not sure. I am glad I managed to shake it off to some extent. 

Some big changes coming up next year too. One day I am feeling invincible to take them on, the next one I'd rather be hiding under the duvet ;) On those pathetically fearful mornings I tell myself that the clock is ticking, the time is passing, the worst that can happen is that someone will say no. 

If you are doing something different or entrepreneurial in your life do let me know what you are up to and how you deal with your challenges! 

Thursday 9 October 2014

Under the rainbow

I do love a long autumn walk with a cup of coffee and some rainbow cheer :) We managed a rain-sun-rain one in the afternoon yesterday, watching some rowers on the river fighting with the wind and just enjoying the change the air...


Wednesday 8 October 2014

Three weeks of dashing between countries and counties

On way from Lodz, Poland to London, UK...the commute with a view :) I am not a big fan of flying but could stare at cloudscapes for hours...the ones on this flight reminded me of  heaps of semi-melted marshmallows floating on top of a giant mug of milky hot chocolate! 

The last three weeks were a whirlwind of travel, organisation, emotions and restlessness. You know how we are told by "experts" to have a good rest when we feel tired to re-charge and avoid fatigue? Well that is all good for when we do feel tired. I often feel betrayed by my own lack of self-preservation which allows me to work for insane number of hours per day and carry on each step on some inexplicable source of energy. Then, as if all of a sudden realising that it was a mistake, I come crashing with the sofa, laptop and a cup of tea as the only places and activities that seem remotely possible.

The clinic in Poland went really well. Seeing the riders develop their relationship with the horses and that in turn letting them achieve better results in training is what I enjoyed the most during the weekend. I do believe that to teach an animal anything at all, we must get into its brain, it must understand, comprehend the task in a way that allows it to follow instruction with as little physical and mental resistance possible.

Photo from clinic at Stajnia Sabat, near Warsaw, Poland. I used this picture in the last Aspire's newsletter, love that quote!

If you struggle repeatedly with a training issue with your horse, double and triple check he understands the question. So many times we focus on resolving problems with exercises and equipment instead of finding a different way of approaching the subject in the first place. Even though I've been working with horses for over 20 years and I can see signs of their intelligence every day, I am not so sure about efficacy of training methods that suppose human-like intelligence in an equine. In fact, I consider it quite offensive to the horse ;)
Let's say, young wolves learn about hierarchy by many herd behaviours including eating certain parts of an animal they hunted and killed. They don't sit in a classroom and learn about history of canis lupus genes.

Same horses. Their learning process is different to ours and it is the trainer's/rider's duty to either learn it from someone or discover it from behavioural signs the horse gives. The moment we train horses' physical attributes without treating them like people, or dogs, or children, but like the species they are, we get content animals happy to work with us. It's fascinating to observe how athletic abilities improve with mental coherence.

My lovely cousin, Karolina, who works so hard on regaining trust and build a good relationship with Krater whom she has on loan and who has various unpleasant training experiences behind him . They've made a huge progress together in the last year :) 

More pictures from Poland HERE. My clinics in Poland are a great way for me to visit my family which is both wonderful and a little sad. I enjoy every moment and savour it and go ahead quite happily but there is always this element of sadness in goodbyes which underlines the price one sometimes has to pay for pursuing path less travelled.

My beautiful little niece enjoying some pressies :) She's such a character already despite only being around for 3 years ;) 

Meet Tymon, my fab little nephew, 10 months old and I've only seen him handful of times...

The time pass so quickly when I am there. Between coffees and window shopping with my mum, joking around with my brother, driving about and chatting with my dad, dinners and evenings with my aunt, cousins and grandparents before I knew it I was back in the clouds.

My book for the flight - a gift from my Aunt - fantastic read, click this sentence  to see the English version

A couple of days at home with Rick with few lessons with regular clients fitted in and then back on the road again - this time to North Yorkshire. There is an interesting mix of clients that sign up for my clinics there from professionals working in the industry, through to teenagers eventing at lower levels, inquisitive adult riders to happy hackers and (a first this time) children.

Several regular riders who I have seen previously signed up this time too and that's probably what I enjoy the most - seeing riders change and progress over time, helping them find some more answers to various training questions, come up with exercises that awaken body awareness and make schooling more effective, chatting through issues. I had Ceri (Pure Essence Photography) taking pictures at this clinic and you can see the full set on Aspire blog HERE.

Very clever 3 year old TB off the track. Starting in-hand work here, learning to walk on a circle. He's got an amazing attitude and willingness to work. 

Now I am back and having a few quieter days to get back into the swing of things and give my body a little rest. I need to upload all the videos I took from both clinics which takes a while on a not so fast internet connection! So far I managed almost all Poland videos so now I have a set from Yorkshire to do.

The autumn has truly arrived in London home counties. It's chilly albeit still sunny at times with equal amounts of rain and rainbow :) I am not too bothered about the change of seasons, quite looking forward to it. So many things to reflect on, think about, make plans - perfect filler for dark, winter evenings.
This year is very much a transition year from all the training back to teaching and re-building the Aspire programmes and although I am very much in-the-present kind of person, I also have started to tentatively look at next year. There will be a lot of make-or-break situations in 2015 and I am anxiously awaiting the challenges.
But for now, I do like sitting here with my laptop, writing, reading and just feeling grateful for all the fabulous opportunities I have experienced so far :)

Monday 22 September 2014

Setting up a riding school from scratch - project impossible?

Let me say first, right now, I am in no position to set up a riding school, whether from scratch, from made ingredients or even from half baked ;) However, I have recently realised that this has been on my mind for over 20 years...
For a start, it's a crazy thought with numerous establishments closing left, right and centre, costs of keeping horses sky rocketing and prices of land and properties might as well be named "in another life sister".
My rational brain tells me - "Look around, places that make it work have a good deal of backers behind them and/or other businesses supporting them and/or follow the traditional system of quantity over quality". And I should listen to that rational brain and stay very clear from a thought of setting up a riding school.
Yet, I can't help but wonder...what if I did have a go....What if I did attempt to set up a little riding academy that isn't just a coaching programme but an actual place.
I can picture "No" balloons floating around me every time I let that question sound louder ;)

Did you know that there are maybe three books written about running stables as a riding school and none of them actually considers much else than a quantity oriented business model?
How about some guidelines for creating a viable grassroots rider academy, not from how-to-teach point of view but how-to-survive point of view?
Perhaps there aren't any simply because the demand for quality riding tuition at grassroots levels just ins't as great?

Right now, in general terms, you go to a riding school to learn how not to fall off a horse, have a bit of fun, meet like-minded people (also learn how to kick, whack and pull). Then you realise that to actually learn to ride well you need to loan or buy a horse. The amount of negative feedback on riding school instruction among horse owners is staggering. I feel this is not always fair representation and sadly some lovely places fall into the trap of a statistical waterfall but there is a lot of truth in that generalisation.

My question to myself is, how likely is it to successfully run my Aspire Academy as an actual brick & mortar business without filling it up with a Pegasus and his herd of unicorns...

Anyway, I thought I would let you know what's on my mind ;) I've been doing a little research in the above direction and funnily enough I've been inspired to do so by our new little Hampshire base. It is simply so wonderful to teach out of an independent yard, to let clients build relationship with the horses.

My young rider getting ready for her training at the Little Base (as I call it in my mind)

So yes, I feel like this theme will continue as I explore the avenues...If any of you dear readers out there run a riding school and would like to share experiences and advice, feel free to make comment section below your own :) If you simply are a business owner or have entrepreneurial instincts and would like to add your tips, please join in.

I am thinking less in line of copying existing riding school model and more in direction of coming up with an alternative set up where private and small groups (up to 4 riders) are possible. Where riders learn to ride with an emphasis on thorough basic training and where schooling puts horse's wellness in the centre of any methods used.

From news and updates, I am off to Poland next week to run a clinic there as well as see my family which I am very much looking forward to. I will be back on here very soon :)


Wednesday 27 August 2014

Off Roading

Snapped on rainy walks
It's now been a little over 6 months since my return to full-time coaching activities and as always, there are things to be pleased with, things to learn from, things to never repeat and various ones in between.
You know, one thing that will probably never change is that, if you try to do something nobody else does (or you don't know many who does it) you also have nobody to ask for advice on certain aspects of your activities. That's why I titled this post "off-roading" because to me, 90% of the time everything feels like going off-piste with no sat nav and just a self-made map in my head. On a good note, and that's where internet comes in handy, there are many "off-roaders" in other industries and walks of life which is somewhat comforting ;)
I'm being asked regularly if I don't miss training few hours a day now that I've been riding very infrequently and even to my surprise the answer is not that much...It seems that it's enough for me to re-focus my obsessions and I am fine ;) At the end of 2011 I was desperate to ride a lot again. It was an incredible, driving goal and when I have that kind of goal I do anything in my powers to make it happen. And I did. Now, the road map changed. I feel like my observations skills have improved immensely after being able to watch 30 plus lessons a week (some 1.200 lessons in total ;) on advanced horses and riding them few hours a day. There is still so much I want to be able "to see" but one step at a time...Patience is another skill that I feel is developing more and more as I go.

I had to make a few difficult decisions in the last 6 months. I know I wouldn't be able to make those decisions if not for the kick ass lessons I received in the last couple of years so part of me is glad it wasn't all for nothing!
What I learnt is that it really is extremely toxic to be surrounded with people who do not share the same vision or whose priorities differ largely from your own. Someone once sent me this quote that very simply read "never put someone first who puts you second". In my romantic lullaby of an arty soul state I somewhat always imagined this to be about actual partnership with your loved one and never gave it much application to everyday life but in its simplicity, the little quoty wisdom can actually transcendent so many situations on so many different levels that I feel thoroughly stupid for not noticing that before.

Snapped on rainy walk
And so the realisation finally arrived in this "make everyone happy" brain of mine that when one person can't think straight from stress and worry, the other might be having a scented bath/a party/a morning 30min tea ritual/[enter another me-time thing here] before bothering to get in touch. Or perhaps they forget to let you know about a change of plans. Or forget to turn up when they should. Etc. The funniest realisations of all was that this is ok. We all need to find the right environment and right people in which and with whom to off-road with excited grin on our faces and we have to arrive at the decision moment sooner or later.

I have always admired people who stay true to themselves and don't let themselves be boxed and labelled, categorised and limited. For some reason it is hugely important to me and perhaps one day I shall find out why. I am guessing we all find safety and comfort in different things. Some of us get it when sliding their feet into warm, fuzzy slippers for the weekend, some from partying until the death of the brain cells and some in never truly knowing what's coming next.

The seasons are turning. I love the change but as always winter months are a worry. The leaves are staring to fall which made me think the American word for autumn, Fall, is very apt indeed. I dislike the commercial drive to speed the process up though and find it so ironic that signs of economic prosperity should be seen via Christmas adverts on pub August.

Random thoughts draw to close :) I have a lot to do and decent amount of writing tasks to finish today too so I will pop now. If you off-road your life in whatever sphere and blog about it let me know so I can expand my reading list!

Speak soon,

Snapped on rainy walk


Monday 11 August 2014

Night time blogging, receiving goodies, filming tutorials etc

I am not sure why that is but I do enjoy writing on here late in the evenings or at night time as it happens right now. It has always been like this ever since starting this blog. At the beginning, it was mostly due to the fact I would be back home after 10pm or 11pm and by the time I had some dinner it was bed time. It seemed rather unfair to have no other life-time than travelling and working so I extended my "days" by writing.
The funny thing about writing a blog (and if you write one or write a diary of sort please do let me know if you feel the same) is that it becomes a big part of your life and not writing about the daily happenings somehow feels as if they didn't happen. Now I made it sound a bit like an obsessive Facebook posting where if you didn't post a photo on Facebook from your holidays then you may have never actually been on one but it's not quite like this. I have written more posts on here that have stayed as drafts and never been read by anyone but me than those that are published - writing organises the chaos of thoughts in my head.

Hugs for my wonderful Mum - she is the best :) 
Thankfully the last week since I wrote had been a good one, nothing too backward have happened (to which I am quite used to since most good things come with a damn wrapping of difficulties) and so the delusional optimism has been happily spreading its wings. To my delight, my dearest Mum sent me a little parcel with some clothes and a magazine which for a nomad living on one suitcase does feel like the biggest shopping trip of the century ;) Thank you Mum!

[My Mum asked me what "selfies" were so I explained it was basically trying to fit yourself into the camera view balancing said camera with one hand. Now that she knows she wants me to send many of those - sigh]

Now, on a more serious front, the new yard continues to develop and I am really looking forward to working out from it very soon.
I have some interesting new guest bloggers who will write a series of posts on Aspire blog which I am very much looking forward to also. One is Science Supplements who will write a series of educational posts about health of competition horses (also older horses and grassroots horses) and a young journalist - Alice-Rose Brown, who is building her writing portfolio and will share thoughts of her battle with confidence. If you are interested in either, do check out the links :)

I am also preparing Aspire's next Newsletter which will go out on the 14th. One part of it will be a little video tutorial which I filmed with the help of one my lovely clients and which will be simply a video reply to a question by another rider who trains with me during Aspire clinics.

Sneaky peak at the video frames - can you guess what was the rider's question? 
Many more tutorials coming up once the new base is fully up and running! Sadly, my trusty, wonderful Panasonic camcorder died of unknown disease and I am currently left with my old iPhone and it's limited quality. Hopefully the content will be good enough for the viewers to forgive the form.

Now I better hit the pillows, it's 01:25 at this very moment and I need to be up at 7:30. I wonder if it rains and hurricanes tomorrow as eagerly as it did today!

Monday 4 August 2014

OK, Let's get excited - Say hello to the mini-base for Aspire Equestrian...! :)

As I mentioned before, I have some exciting news - at least I sure hope they are going to be very exciting. Can you guess?
I will give you a clue...

Say hello to the mini-base for Aspire Equestrian...!
If all goes according to plan, from next month, Aspire Equestrian will have a mini-base in form of this little yard. I will be sharing more information about the set up and more photos which I took today in Aspire's newsletter (flying to whoever wishes to receive it on the 1st and 14th of every month). You can sign up for it via my microsite HERE.

I am so looking forward to this next stage in Aspire's development. It is not my own place but I was invited to base myself there and at this moment I am more than happy with such turn of events :) Since affording own yard is currently out of question, my aim is to focus on 2-3 mini-bases where I can offer quality service with top notch attention to detail. I don't care how "posh" they look or how beautiful the facilities are - the most important factor for me is that all the little, ordinary things are done extraordinarily well and that I can control the learning environment. This set up should bring both elements together.
Since I don't drive (yes, I know, it's mad, I will tell you about it in another post) I have to be very creative with where I work and how I can get there. It's a constant struggle and I would lie if I said 80 minutes walks to and from the station every day and then staying on my feet all days are not tiring but when I hear people complaining about not doing something they really want to do because they would need to get on a bus or train or both and it would take them over half an hour, it does make me feel a little sad. It's doable. It's possible. It just takes some fabulous clients who are willing to help, some effort, some organisation, coordination and a lot of patience ;)

This is not to say I can't wait for when I can finally sit in my own car! More on this soon.

On a train on one of many journeys this past week :) 
This last week was a fast blur for all the good reasons. I have had a few new clients starting their training and those who started Aspire programmes are all staying on them which makes me very happy indeed. Technically, I still need few more regular spaces filled over the next 6 months to be able to say the programmes are viable in long term business terms but I shall continue to work on that.

I have a day off travelling tomorrow but a long to-do list awaits for me. I have a guest blog to write for a fabulous website, I will share a link once it's online, and an article on how I use the Racewood simulator for my courses for the company who makes them.
The simulator I use is the dressage one although I do use it in an all-round manner. It's such a fantastic tool and once I send the article I will link to it as there will be some fun videos going with it :)

Hope you all had something good happening today! Speak soon :)


Tuesday 29 July 2014

Beautiful mornings and planning for the first go at the second draft

I love teaching in the mornings especially in the summer we are having this year. The sun comes out early, strong and warm, with a slight breeze to break the heat. I love walking onto a freshly graded and flattened arena surface that no one yet rode on and just take in this ordinary, rectangular piece of ground that comes with so many emotions. It's so true when we say that we often forget things, places, faces but we never forget how they made us feel :)

My favourite artificial riding surfaces are the light coloured ones, love the silica sand and fabric but any light surface is a winner. I guess it reminds me of a white beach sand and makes me feel calm and zen ;) Having said that, riding on grass is also high on my likings. Not too manicured and not too flat with some gradients to challenge the feel for balance and proprioception in the horse.

Last several days were busy teaching and I have done some serious walking miles running around. Two days of writing ahead of me now and I must keep up with my schedule. I prepared the sketch of the contents I need to cover tomorrow and on Thursday and decided to get on the second draft of the book from the instructional side - in other words I am first drafting the second version of the "learning to ride manual" rather than the "riding instructor's diary" part. At first I planned to just let the writing flow and let myself cover whatever first draft subject comes to me on a given day but I changed my mind. I decided I need some skeleton, a discipline and structure, and then let some creativity develop within that rather than jump from one subject to another.
I am planning to do two 3 hour blocks with 30 min breaks for main draft of the chapters that are on the table tomorrow and I am quite excited to get started on them.

Apart from the above, I am also working on the August newsletters to send out to Aspire subscribers and making a plan of action for the next few months as far as organisation of my teaching goes but I will tell you more about it in a few weeks time.

Now I have few more emails to write and then will hit the pillows I think :)


Friday 25 July 2014

Putting in the hours

Ball games with Woody after morning teaching followed by long hours on the laptop 
Someone asked me this morning why put so much emphasis on rider centred approach in my coaching programmes. I gave my answer but the subject kept coming back to me.
I think that, eventually, we all ask ourselves, what am I contributing to this world and how do I feel with it. .
The way I see it is that every well educated rider can educate many horses and give them a great life. This thought drives me every single time I give a lesson.
If I focused on producing lovely horses, I would not have the same sense of job/life satisfaction. If one is lucky enough to do both, great. There are many good riders out there who can bring on horses well. There are not that many good, all-round coaches.

I feel it's important to have a challenge in ones life, something that makes you feel that you are always learning, always striving for the better, giving something back and making good use of your skills. To me, rider centred training is one of those challenges.

Recently, I'd been working on getting the hang of online newsletters. I wanted to find a free service that would do the job of sending some "limited edition" content, news and advice to all my email subscribers. Yesterday, the first bi-monthly newsletter finally went into cyber space together with a little special shout out with some very interesting, unlisted videos on sports psychology that I was kindly given for use :) My aim is to prepare some special bit of content for each of those newsletters including video tutorials and advice that I would not normally put on the blog. If you would like to subscribe,then pop over to Aspire microsite , scroll down a tiny bit and add your email into the box :)

Regarding the habits and doing not-so-enchanting-but-necessary business-y stuff that I wrote about few days ago: I started with a little routine. For now, I put aside 30 minutes every day to sit on, what I call in my head, "a how not to drown strategy" ;) Apparently, it takes at least 2-3 months for a habit to form - I hope my head is still in one piece at the end of that formation process but I know once it's there I will be fine. Habits are power ;) Like in riding, training and coaching.

Until next time :)

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Why it's vitally important to believe in Unicorns

My little niece - wonder what's on her mind ;) 
Last couple days were an interesting mixture of various troubles through which I'd been stubbornly moving through and some lovely moments which I have been happily embracing.
At the moment everything comes down to sorting one thing out and ten others appearing with tripled force screaming for solutions. They give me headaches and certainly bring decent amount of stress with them but that's when the Unicorns come in...

Don't worry. I have not succumbed to a mental illness (just yet) - I simply believe in delusional optimism as a way of dealing with nay-sayers and general negativity, whether real or perceived one. You can't be any more delusional than when you get on your unicorn and ride into happy fields! 

On a more serious note, we all know that stress and anxiety can drain you and demolish your health. The problems one might have won't get better from hours of grief (a loose term here, can mean anything from crying your eyes out through to screaming, hair tearing to over-eating) over them although of course there might be people out there who possibly prefer to see you depressed and in black head to toe rather than trotting on a rainbow coloured pony. After some time of submitting to the doom and gloom in the past and realising fully it was not going to make anything any better I now fire fight all little bits of self-pity or resignation. One day I hope to burn it all. 

Being consciously delusionally optimistic doesn't mean not seeing the problems, it just means moving on regardless, finding little paths that can take one back to the main road at some point.  For some inexplicable reason, if you keep moving, even if sometimes that takes you through some nettles, armpits high grass or muddy woods, you end up coming across solutions you didn't think possible. 

I hope to be able to share with you some exciting news in a few weeks time but for now, if you are doubting anything that you are doing or feel like there are always two steps back after one taken forwards, rest assured you are not alone... Keep on it. Get on your unicorn and keep riding...:) 


Monday 21 July 2014

Pondering on habits, productivity and mobility

One of my perfected habits - healthy breakfasts :) 
I listened to an interesting interview today somewhere on the world wide web in which a business guy was telling his ways of brainwashing oneself into a better life habits. Now, I do believe that habits are important if not necessary to be excellent in whatever field we chose to play in. So I listened with some attention.
The guy said that his method is to periodically read biographies of people he admires for how they achieved what they wanted to achieve and then he short lists particular behaviours of those individuals so he can emulate them in his daily life.
Once, he had a diet coke twice a day at certain times exactly like one successful person he wanted to emulate. He said it wasn't about a particular activity, it was about what this activity meant. Every time he sipped that diet coke, he would somewhat put himself in the shoes of the person he wanted to emulate.

In the course of last few years I have risked enough to find out much more of what my weaknesses and strengths really are and I would quite happily also find a way to work on the former while being backed by the latter. I don't really like coke and neither do I know of any quirky habits of anyone whose business skills I would really like to posses. However, I do like the idea of habit triggers that come with additional aspect that provide motivational and inspirational drive. And that are sustainable.

Running something like my coaching programmes is exciting, empowering, all-consuming and energising for me but there are some business-y aspects to the process that I don't enjoy and which are absolutely necessary for not only success but survival of the project. I am acutely aware that creating habits that would lead me to work more on those necessary, difficult aspects could actually lead to less trouble and more productivity.

Does anyone have any recommendation for books on habit creation for pain-in-the-ass elements of running own business? Or perhaps an inspirational biography of someone who built something from nothing and didn't end up hating oneself and the actual thing at the end? ;)

How do you develop habits for doing the things you know need doing but which you find every reason not to spend more time on?
I feel like I am close to the right frame of mind but not quite there. Perhaps it's the perfectionist in me but I feel that my efforts just aren't enough, I should do better.

On the actual teaching front, after a really organisationally tricky week last week, I managed to make workable changes which will let me get to most of my clients for the moment. As some of you might know, I have no driving licence and no car which, considering the nature of my job, is nuts. I am making steps towards finally getting this sorted and will tell you more about it soon. For many years, I have tried to make sure most of my work was organised in a way that I could actually make my way to it. This year, however, I set myself a new challenge with taking on a trainee assistant instructor who I could train up to eventually work alongside me. Part of her role was driving with me to clients. Unfortunately, the young girl who I took on in March this year could not carry on after initial few months and so here I am with a structure of the work set up for "mobile" yet being very much grounded.
Why don't you take another person on, I hear you ask. Potentially, that is an option and I am looking into it but  regardless whether suitable person is found or not, I have to address my own mobility. This year.
Before that happens, I will just find a way to continue as much as possible because my clients' enjoyment is worth the extra hassle.

This morning- one of my clients with his new training partner :) I try to find share horses for as many of my non-horse owning clients as possible - more about this soon. 

Night night for now :)

Saturday 19 July 2014


Woody trying to convince me to quit working and get playing instead :) 

I will soon share with you a wider picture of the doubtfully colourful, logistical maze I am trying to navigate since May this year but I need to ease myself slowly into my daily writings before I do so. Right now, I am feeling semi-content after managing to organise my week ahead without major disasters which didn't escape me in the week just gone. 

The summer is wonderfully hot here this year which attracts flies, storms and sleepless nights. Some horses really struggle with the heat while others thrive and work very well. Riders are mostly in the first category so we are planning the lessons around early mornings and late afternoons to escape the strongest rays. I seem to deal with the heat fairly well here although it is worth noting that British heat is not quite comparable with Portuguese or even Polish one from the central regions. 

Sunny mornings are great to wake up to regardless the temperatures. I have started a bit of a habit of list making the day before for the next day so I don't waste too much precious time I have in the mornings before setting off on my teaching journeys. 
Tomorrow morning I have to write my newsletter for everyone who subscribed by email to Aspire microsite (if you haven't, please feel free to go for it :) it's free :) ) or Aspire NewsBook. It will be the third one I will be sending out and I try to make sure the content is interesting and exclusive and so it feels special to receive it :) 
Then I am off teaching and will probably be back in the early evening assuming transport gods are kind! Once home I will have my next blog post to finish for Monday about timings in training and two video feedbacks for my online clients across the pond. 

Hope you are having a lovely weekend :) 


Friday 18 July 2014

Page From: Today aka Back to Daily (almost) Blogging!

"The beginning is always today". Mary Wollstonecraft

Hello Dear Readers,

Behind the scenes of horsey freelance job:
admin, accounts, meeting ends and the lot!
It's been so long since I wrote on here that I have almost forgotten how wonderful it feels to just let the words flow without trying to write something of better value, something educational and useful as I do on my Aspire blog ;)
I don't know if anyone of my old readers are still popping in but my stats tell me many of you are still coming and visiting and I am sorry this space has been so silent for such a long time. This is perhaps about to change...
Last night I finally finished the first draft of part 1 of my book - it goes without saying that this first draft is infinitely rubbish and there are probably another few that will have to follow but I feel like I've made that first step. The Part 1 goes from about 2006/7 and stops on somewhat random day of 6th July which was the weekend of Tour De France 2014, the day on which I received potentially exciting news and the day that was the second day of a really fun clinic I did in North Yorkshire. Yes, I did finish it in the most annoying way - i.e. I left the reader hanging!

As I was working on that first draft of the book I reminisced of many unforgeable moments this blog has brought me, how helpful it was to waffle about my worries, good times, bad times. I remembered the time when I questioned whether I should continue making this diary and the reasons why I stopped. I also and most importantly thought of people I got to meet and spend time with simply because of this little page in a vast world of online world.

In many ways I've always considered writing this blog as a selfish pursuit. Although I have never set it up to boast (as any long time readers will know there is way more disasters on here than triumphs ;) I have used its pages relentlessly to vent, cry, laugh, document and re-live moments to my own amusement. own needs for sharing and inexplicable need for writing which I love.

Event though I have received many messages and emails from people who have said they found my posts helpful, inspirational, motivational and all the great things that I always hoped to evoke, deep down I was thinking that maybe I should stop it and stop it I did.

Quite recently, I have had two conversations that made me think that it's time to wake the old blog up again. Both chats were with lovely people I would not have met if I didn't write this diary in the first place.

And just like that, after almost 2 years break from regular diary blogging, I am back. One person made me realise that maybe, just maybe, it was actually more selfish not to write any more...(thank you A.).

I won't go into details of those missed years as I wrote enough about them in my book which will be available to read for a few pennies at some point either at the end of this or some time next year. I will sure update you on that in due course.

I will, however, bring you up to speed a little with what's been happening. We last spoke on regular basis when I was still in Portugal. I feel like I have changed somewhat since then mostly due to stupidly putting trust and belief in people I should not have and making very bad business decisions in the process. I ended up with commitments I couldn't keep and I am dealing with the consequences of those mistaken decisions to this day.

Sooo, if you are still here or just joining me on this coach-career-thing journey now - welcome :) The part 2 of the "book" shall write itself now as I take you through the chapters as they happen...

Thank you for stopping by :)

What I do this year:

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