In 2017 I was contacted by an agency who told me that they had a 5* rider & his girlfriend in need of a home flat rider who was more experienced and could take on the management of the yard in their absence.
It sounded perfect so I packed up and headed to Holland stopping with my family on in the south before flying out. On route I received a message from a friend warning me that she had heard that this rider was a chaotic nightmare and never paid anyone!
Well in true form to what was to become the norm the message was just the first sign of things getting a little unconventional! Unfortunately by niece and nephew and partner at the time were infected with some hideous virus. After my other half sneezed straight in my face in the middle of the night I had a nasty feeling that things were not going to go smoothly!
I was right, up all night with sick children my sister dropped me at the airport for the 6am flight and halfway to Holland I started to feel incredibly ill!! Chest nose ears throat the whole lot burning and an overwhelming dread set in…..
I arrived and no one was there but shortly I was collected from the airport in a horse-box by “A lady and her crazy dog” I explained I was coming down with an awful bug and she kindly took me to stock up on medicine. We arrived at the yard and I was delighted to meet 11 very nice horses and a 12th which had bitten the “Lady & her crazy dogs” (now known as L&HCD) finger half off!. However, things were a tad upside down the yard was being built around them they had just arrived days before and everything they owned was in two massive piles on the floors of stables!
Neb & Porsha arrived and were excited to pop me on the naughty finger biting chestnut horses, that was evil to tack up and had been bucking kicking the arena walls and generally trying to deck everyone for weeks!! Well, I was coming down fast with a chest infection and hadn’t ridden for three months so it was a bit eventful and I wasn’t sure as I was struggling to breathe never mind ride that I would get the job!
But an hour later off they trotted and left me with a list of what to ride next and the next day! Somewhat bemused as to how my interview had gone, I did as I was asked. They commented on how positive I was and I was just glad to have not taken a heart attack on one of the horses! It was very excited to be there even though it seemed we had nowhere to live yet, so we were staying at a nearby hotel.
But the next day I was on the verge of pneumonia and had to go to the dutch doctor, who prescribed me Morphine!! Not quite what I was expecting so now I’m riding strange horses that were all at the time quirky, sharp and playing up in their new surroundings wit no sign of Neb and Porsha whilst off my box in a morphine induced daze of suffocation and relentless chest pain…
Ned and Porsha were later concerned about my health & arrived the next day with my requested tomato juice and delicious apple type donut cakes. Neb pulled me to one side and told me how he had been unfairly banned from 5* shows. A british rider that I had actually worked for in the past, had seemingly got an awful vendetta against him and had now used it to stop him competing. I was unsure what to think but decided that the world of horses is not always friendly and perhaps this poor guy had been unfairly treated he certainly seemed to love his horses very much. However, it seemed clear that he was in deed a whirlwind of drama and chaos!
I had been warned that organization was not his strength and that was the purpose of my placement to bring law and order and calm to the chaos of Neb Toblat and his teenage girlfriend Porsha. I had a sense that they needed someone like me and I liked them and the L&HCD I expected it would be a roller coaster ride but we were going to have a lot of fun!!
So whilst I was surprised to find that Ned and Porsha were off on holiday that day the L&HCD and I were more than capable of being left in charge and I accepted the job. I would fly home for a few days and had expected to return for the new year. However, Neb was insistent that he needed me immediately and so I was to go home for three days over christmas pack up my short term life and drive back in the Gokart (to be explained in another blog) the day after boxing day.
It was the beginning of many adventures….