I started in Ireland. I spent a night with my grandparents then went down to Monaghan, Co. Monaghan to work at Castle Leslie Estate. I'm not sure how much of my experience I can put online because there were most certainly what can be classed as Ups And Downs. The environment was one which was very, very tense and difficult to work in and deal with. There were two rival gangs, essentially, and as temporary working students, we (myself and the girls I was working and living with, who had stopped by from all different parts of the globe: one from Enniskillen in Ireland; one from Australia; one from Germany; and one from not far from me in Croyden) were caught in the cross fire. There were amazing aspects to it and we had some brilliant craic on nights out and around the yard generally, but it was, at times, incredibly taxing. To the point where, when I had two days off next to each other so I left Monaghan entirely and went to see my grandparents. They didn't realise anything was wrong, but they were very happy they could help when they realised. I'd been writing letters to my Grandma throughout my stay before that, and every time I got one I cried a wee bit because I was so happy knowing that someone was there, someone cared..
As I said, a very hard time.
On the good side, I got a horse out of it! There was a big grey horse who was unnamed until I bought him (he's now Nomad) who I immediately loved the look of. He was owned by a man called Dermot whom I think is one of the best horsemen I've seen. I'd met Dermot before I been to work in Ireland, so trusted his skills and whatnot already. This made it all much easier to buy the horse, especially because he remembered me and "like[s me], as a person and a rider" - that made me pretty chuffed.
There were times of learning (from Mary Ann and Dermot) and generally good craic with other students, etc.
I then spent a few days with my family: one night with Norman and two with Gilbert and Carol. I accidentally got horribly drunk on the second night with G & C and apparently my uncle didn't approve .. Hypocrite much.
I left them for sunny Spain on the 24th of July which was a Tuesday. I arrived at the yard, was shown around and talked through everything, then taken into the local towb to get food. It took a week before we went to a decent shop and we didn't go to until my coworker arrived, which was a bit annoying, but whatever. Anyway, when we got back Eva said that it can be easier to muck out in the evening so I got stuck in. Through all my many years with horses, I've been taught to muck out thoroughly and that on average it should take ten minutes per stable so naturally I was surprised when she said that 8 should take me an hour. It took longer than that straight off, I did everything too thoroughly. The next day I went on my first rides, one hour long and one hour and a half. I rode Favorito first, who was ok, then Carnival, but I had to walk beside him (not made clear in the selling of the ride) most of the way up the hill. Fml. Bitches be steep. Then we stopped at the top and had dinner, in the andalucian mountains, overlooking the world. It was fantastic, despite everyone around me speaking Danish. I found it hard to cope with how much i didn't understand in the first week. The woman who runs the ard and the man who primarily helps her both are Dutch so were speaking Danish which meant that I was in a tricky situation of understanding basically nothing, unless specifically directed at me. That made me even more grateful when my coworker showed up.
During this first week I'd spend ages talking to Eva in the evenings, but if it hadn't been for Keri (coworker), I would've gone mad in the latter weeks because Eva's daughter had arrived to stay with her for half of summer so i would've only had people the other end of Skype ro talk to.
Anyway. Aside from that, I was fantastically happy when Eva asked and listened to my opinion about a horse's injury, and reacted fantastically when I told her that i wanted to ride through the mountains watching the sun rise; she simply offered me the ride.
Keri moved in a week after me. During the following two weeks the environment on the yard became increasingly tense because Keri found Eva's ways silly and found it hard to work for her due to how she presents information amd how she wanted thinga done. Where I pander to people, Keri couldn't. Still, positives first! Keri and I went on an amazing ride lit by moonlight and as we rode back, the sun rose. and we rode in la romeria, at the end of the ferria de Canillas (see below), which was an amazing experience -- both of them! We both led rides and helped on rides and schooled a PRE stallion and young mare. fantastic stuff! (Although we were given very mixed directions and told to ride with long reins, longer than either of us would usually. If it had been me I know precisely how I would've got something out of the horses, but Eva gave instructions such as "ride with long reins" which didn't really make sense because of how riding works... This was one of the problems that Keri had with Eva really, but there we go..)
At the end of it, it seemed that Eva got bored or something. My dad had come out to visit so I'd booked a couple of days off to see him. Eva gave me a couple extra and obviously I wasn't complaining about that. So i spent time relaxing with him. On the morning that he was meant to go, Eva said she would feed the horses so that i could have a lie in (not exactly needed by that time but there we go). I could hear her and Jens, her Danish friend who helped with the PRE horses talking amongst themselves in Danish outside our rooms. I assume that was about me and Keri. I think that's quite unfair seeing as one of the things Eva told us was that she felt unwelcome in her own home, she said that we'd been bitching about her. Surely it doesn't matter what language you're doing it in: if you're sitting outside someone's room it's not overly polite to speak about people.
Anyway. Keri left the rooms to go to the loo and saw a note on the side which said "please clear up before you leave today". Keri was supposed to leave 2 days later and I was meant to be there for another week.
It was weird. Eva then came in to talk to us. She said she wasn't comfortable with me running the yard for a few days so I could either stay or not. If I were to stay, I would not be riding. She then proceeded to later say that I would be able to stay until Sunday (I was due to do so until Wednesday).
She tried to blame my riding for it, and tried to say that I had said my ability is other to what it is. Neither of these are the reason. She is a right pain in the arse.
I don't know what more to say about it. Basically I got straight home with my Dad, and that was about it.
I've since then spent two weeks at home meeting people and whatnot. Amy and Patrick are getting together, which is slightly odd and I don't particularly approve; Jordan's moved away to France until Christmas; and I'm going out to one of Craig's Northern Soul gigs with a whole lot of people tonight and am really excited, particularly because the venue has a ball pit.
I've also planned to see someone I've not seen for a long time today and someone from Castle Leslie tomorrow, which will be good. I'll have to try to make the Castle Leslie person a bit later though, I think, because I've been telling my mum she should make more time for me, and Friday in the day is the only time that she's actually free. I think it'd class as hypocritical to do something else through all of the day, I'll just have to make sure to see her before I go to meet Katherine.
So there we go.
Overall, "learning curve" covers it, and it's been full of life experiences... and now it's time to slow down, step back, and make sure for the Viking and my breakup to have been in vain.. and that means lots of work, I think.