In the last few weeks I’ve been making the final preparations for my big move to Spain.
There’s been lots to get in order over the last few weeks.
Ironically enough, I’ve barely had any time at all for horse riding! Moving from England to Spain is looking to be just as stressful as moving house from within the country. All the same hassles apply: finding a competent removals company to take my belongings over the 1000-plus mile trip, fitting out my new home with new furniture and sorting out all the tax and administrative things that I need to live and work in Spain. On top of this, I’ve been swamped at the stables, hiring new staff and reassigning responsibilities to the existing members of the team that are going to have to take on the roles that I was fulfilling here.
I’ve got complete confidence in my team to continue attaining the high standards that we’ve been building up to for the last year – they all understand what it is that we’re trying to achieve here and my departure does not change any of that. The majority of my current team have had years of experience of working for more traditional stables. They’ve been embroiled in the constant drama and gossip of racing schools, where trainers and hands are at each other’s throats and horses are forced to train beyond their capabilities. They’ve seen what can happen when the business of horse racing and competitions take priority over the creatures that we are supposed to be caring for – and they know that my stable was never intended to be like those places.
In the last year, I feel like I’ve created the kind of place that I would have wanted to ride at as a child. Free of pretensions and full of passionate people who are at their happiest when they’re with horses, I can trust my friends here to continue to welcome both horses and people of all ages who are looking for guidance, stables or simply like-minded individuals.
Now, with the school in safe hands, I can confidently look forward to my next adventure and what I need to achieve in Spain.
The Spanish Equestrian School, which I’ll leave nameless for the purpose of this blog, have been kind enough to offer me a place to stay close to the School. The first few weeks after the move will be concerned with me getting to grips with how they currently function. Before I attempt to make any changes to the way that they work, I need to understand how they operate. I’ve ridden on the continent before, but only as a tourist. These opening weeks will be my opportunity to absorb Spanish riding culture. I need to understand how they treat their horses as well as what their cultural norms are in terms of stimulation and exercise.