Saturday, 2 December 2017

Hetty and I reunited - Hetty not thrilled

Hetty: "Just gonna sniff this rug and pretend you don't exist"
 Went to play ponies with L yesterday. 

It felt like moving through quick sand to be tacking up and riding again so Hetty was the right choice for my first attempt in weeks. She basically does not care about anything and just tilts her neat ginger ears at you with a wry look if you fumble.

Snow lay all around us so we retreated to the indoor to 'school'. Although schooling suggests learning and the only learning going on was Hetty telling me she wasn't going to lift a finger till I sat up properly and asked for it.

Point taken.

The more she ignored me the more interested I got in re-awakening my sleepy core and legs. To open the lines of communication I picked up the schooling whip (major indignation even though it did not touch her once) and began to ask for gentle lateral work: shoulder in, leg yields, shoulder fore.

She was pretty mad about it but our trot work gained a bit more power and she began to reluctantly straighten rather than hugging the wall with he outside shoulder. After 15 minutes I could feel fury rising off her like steam and I did not want to outstay my welcome even though it felt wonderful to be back in the saddle.

We finished and L took a photo of me beaming and Hetty looking like she never wanted to see me again. 

Blue practicing handsomeness
I don't like schooling for ages. Horses seem to hate it. Or maybe I hate it and that feeling is pure projection. It feels nicer to ask for a bit, improve a bit, say thank you and call it a day. This is clearly why I suuuck at flatwork and need an instructor to boss me about. It was very strange to be riding again. You can feel how weak and curled up you are but at the same time it's so familiar and comforting.

First ride back. It's a start.

It was also really good to be mixing feeds, tacking up, brushing etc. L says it's nice to have someone ride who'll join in with the graft but that's second nature to me and as much a part of the deal as the ride itself. 

I do so miss having Zed in work. I love riding any horse and Hetty is just so lovely but there's still that little sadness in my heart as I wish he was mended. Now I have to acknowledge that and then get on with it and accept that he's broken for now and mooning about won't help. I would really like 2018 to be a great horsey year and now I have to work out how to do that with no money and no horse!

Which sounds pretty impossible but then I think back to my teens when I used to manage just that, so maybe it's mind over matter...

Gorgeous sunset to finish

Monday, 27 November 2017

Actual positive action no less

Not fully keen on the idea of personal space
 Good grief it's cold today.

My husband bought one of those nifty little electric readers that shows exactly how much you're using so needless to say I have turned everything off. I can't even look at the red dial shooting higher and higher when the kettle is on. It's bad enough that we're haemorrhaging money on the washing machine to wash the cheese smell out of Nancy's blanket collection. 

I don't think my wiser half would approve of me sitting here in a bobble hat and three jumpers, typing through the frostbite, but he's out till half five so madness can reign for now. 

Looking like a tightly-wrapped parcel in last year's rug - bought during the pre-obesity era
I think this stinginess is a common trait between horsey folk. It's all the years of wearing threadbare clothes. While paying trillions of pounds for an endless procession of fully adjustable saddles (that magically are not quite fully adjustable enough the next time the saddler pulls onto the yard A MERE SIX MONTHS LATER.
Not to mention horses that sail through five-star vettings only to prove chronically lame or suicidal the minute you walk them off the box. 

I went to see my little dole-waller yesterday and he's quite content. He didn't want to pose for photos, he just wanted to eat his cooking apple so we compromised: I took photos as he gently mowed me over.
My little money pit

But. You may be pleased to here that I have participated in actual positive action to boost happiness levels! Real action! I am going riding on Friday, on Hetty Betty no less - my lovely loan horse from the start of the year. Her owner, L, has given in to my begging and we are going hacking. If the weather is terrible L has promised to lock me in the indoor until I've cantered about for 20 minutes.

And. Yes, there's more. Another kindly soul has agreed to lend me a horse at the weekend so that is pretty bloody jolly too.

Nancy is crying now, so I am going to swap the Arctic inside for the Baltic outside. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Don't give up! Ever!

Semi-retired five year old. 
Good things keep nearly happening. 

But then not happening. And the base line for some of my life remains, well, pap.

Zed is still turned away lame, winter is here, I've been poorly, money is tight and the flat is a wreck with no end currently in sight.

All temporary, all fixable, but I can't lie, there have been some days when I haven't wanted to get out of bed and face the day. I'm grateful for all the good things in my life, of course, and I know so many have it worse, but I just feel a bit squashed.

Thankfully, Nancy will not accept such sulking. This is why we need our animals - they make sure the world keeps turning.

Get up, puny human!
And another good thing actually did happen today. I've been following Diary of a Wimpy Eventer - aka Victoria Brant - on Facebook for a while and find her posts funny and endearing and warm-hearted.

I met a really good friend for lunch and out of her handbag she produced a most fabulous impromptu gift - How to Get your Leg Over - Victoria's first book.

Signed! And with a message I really needed to hear. Purchased from the lady herself, so extra magical.

As soon as lunch was over I sped home, made a cuppa, armed myself with a box of cheese straws and settled down to read my new book from cover to cover.

I loved it. It reminded me of all the home truths I needed to hear - that life is never perfect, that you must have a go anyway, that horses are the answer to EVERYTHING, that people who piss on your chips must be trampled over in the quest for victory..the list goes on and on.

I am officially a new woman - bursting with optimism, renewed hope and a burning desire to be back in the saddle asap.

Aint so bad

I need to go for a frosty hack. A canter would be perfection.

This is now my mission for the week. If anyone would like to lend me a horse just shout...


Monday, 16 October 2017

Soup weather

Let me tell you about soup.*

Soup is for lazy people, like me, who plan to live forever.

Soup is the wholesome best friend that your mum doesn't mind you knocking about with. 

Look at this photo.

I'm actually eating chips for lunch, like an ignorant toddler, but it's ok, because I'm also eating soup. 

Homemade soup, full of vegetables and herbs and all the stuff you're supposed to eat that everyone despises.

Soup has taken my hand and lifted me out of my recent horse-related funk.

After my last gloomathon I tried to think of ways to unbreak my life.

"Start small," said a wise voice, "you can't do big stuff yet. So do small stuff."

"Should I brush my hair?" I replied.

"NO! Too big," came the voice, "Not strong enough yet. Maybe try to eat something that isn't a chocolate biscuit."

Since my unhappy news I've been mainlining hobnobs (the Lidl version, obvs, not made of money). The house has a trail of crumbs through it. 
Or it would if it weren't for helpful Nancy, my own wee Gretel. 

"I'll help, mama human"
But enough is enough. I don't need obesity on my list of problems. So out came the pan and the vegetable drawer and strangely, I do feel better. Plus, with the hurricane formerly known as Ophelia casting us into an unnerving dusk-like state, is it not soup weather?

Bolstered by beets, today I donned my smelly waterproofs to go and ride out on dear Bramble.

Dear Bramble is my antidote to Broken Zed. While I pour money and heartache into him, she quietly coddles my soul by being sound and sensible and asks for nothing much in return. She tends to be a tad on the curvy side so our yard owner nicely lets us trundle around the village together. She's like a good pal after a messalicious break-up. 

After our ride I gave her a solid brush and she fell asleep. What a darling. 

Llamas. Are you even a farm if you don't have llamas.
I still need to work out how I'm going to stay sane this winter. Money is tight till the flat is let or sold so my Stage 3 is on hold. And I'm preparing myself for the fact that Zed might not mend. The bicycle has been dusted off and I'm back to riding which are both good things...but...I need a plan. A trusty plan. I need some excitement and hope in my life. Phil understands. We keep watching Rocky films and staring at each other. 

Tiny voice says: "Let the plan incubate."

* Soup is definitely something to consider if, like me, you count vegetarian pizza as 'basically a salad'. I'm sure it offsets some of the damage. I feel, based on zero science whatsoever, that I could live to 90 just by eating soup every day. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Denial, and gardening

I dislike, very much, putting anything on my blog when things be gloomy.

But a little gloomy they be, and life ain't all sunshine and rainbows so, here.

Zed went slightly lame again in mid September, and then more lame a few days later, in his other hind leg.

A scan showed that his injury had flared up with swelling and scar tissue. Xrays for hocks, stifles etc didn't show anything awful for either leg.

The upshot is. Zed gets the winter off.

My reaction was to make a giant metaphorical cake of denial which I spent weeks eating.

"It's totally fiine!" I'd say cheerily, with icing in my eyebrows.

I munched my way through many slices of denial - painting the back room a weird sage colour, a brief and unconvincing attempt to start running again, and possibly my favourite - 'I'm gonna be a gardener!" which shored up my spirits for all of 38 minutes.

Zed had a good summer, but he didn't work hard by any stretch, and now he's broken again. Now part of me wonders if this is ever going to knit together. Coupled with the headshaking, I've just had to postpone thinking dark thoughts until he gets scanned again in the spring.

I've also got my old flat to gut and redecorate as of next week so I predict that will keep me good for a bit.

But after that. I need horses. I need to ride. I'm so sad without them. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

A great big giant round-up

The early days of settling in
A lot has happened since I last posted - and here is the great big giant round-up to prove it. Complete with forty million photos, many omissions and a whole heap of rambling.

Bear with me.

Number 1. We're in our new house. Moving was gross. There were so many tears, so much sulking. Endless feelings of hopelessness when confronted with the biggest pile of boxes I've ever witnessed.

I still shudder when I see cardboard but on the flip side, the new house is heavenly. It's light, airy, enormous and still has many of its original Victorian features. Every morning we wake up and can't believe how beautiful it is to live here and be custodians of so much history. The painting is underway, we've done lots of guerrilla gardening along the side of the house and most important of all - it feels like home sweet home. 

My favourite things are the log burner, the large red rose tree in the back yard and the kitchen. We loved our rental but this is next level.

Our families and friends have been fantastic (big shout out to the mums) and we can't wait to entertain here over Christmas and the New Year. 

She was soo tired on this day and did her best prawn impression
Nancy seems to be coping just fine. She's found all the sunny spots and there are many great walks in every direction so she's a happy girl. At the moment she's going through a water baby phase and loves nothing more than a good swim.

Sniffing the air at Stanley Moss

Champion swimmer

We've also hit the jackpot with dog care as our friends have set up a business about five minutes away and we trust them implicitly to deal with the diva when we're away or at work. They're on Facebook as Dogs Best Friend - Durham  if any of my Durham friends are looking (just mentioning them as they're truly great, I don't get anything for it).

Zed is a superstar. A week after we moved we did our first riding camp and he really blew me away with how good he was. We did games, the pub ride and our first little try at jumping.

And he just loves it! He came to life. Since jumping is only my favourite thing in the whole world this is more than music to my ears.

My hero

Pub ride - totes jealous of my shandy

Our first tiny plank to an even tinier dog-leg. Nailed it.

The camp was both a great demo of how far we've come, and a kickstart for more. I've ridden fairly consistently since then and our confidence is growing day by day.  He still has days when his headshaking is bad but it doesn't show up when we're riding so it feels manageable, although of course I wish I could wave a wand and make it vanish all together. 

We also squeezed in a quick trip to Edinburgh with my family...

Goofy with chicken legs, but my husbie is handsome

...which was so refreshing. We had a lot of good conversations while we were there and coupled with the house, we're starting to think more about the future, what we want, and how we're going to get there.

Which is so exciting. And while that all brews away in the background, the seasons are changing and the atmospheric weather is giving us some moments to remember.

A sight for sore eyes

In summary, it's all love.

And watch this space. 

Hope you're all doing great and have had a good summer (or winter for my friends down under)


Friday, 21 July 2017

Nancy and Zed keep me out of the nut hut

Obviously, moving house is ridiculous and stressful, so that is what we have chosen to do.

Where some people would drink their way through the nightmare, Zed and Nancy are keeping me propped up. 

It is such a mentally tiring time trying to get it all sorted but when I see their gorgeous little faces all the nonsense evaporates. Disappearing off to the stables or for a walk is where it all makes sense again and I can just take a breath and forget about it for a while. 

Zed is doing really well. We had our first road hack since he came back into work and he was terribly grown up and absolutely un-phased by traffic, stepladders, scaffolding and noisy builders. I think by the end of the summer we'll be happily solo. 

Yesterday we were in the indoor and the yard was exceptionally busy. There were three horses loading up for cross-country schooling, lessons starting and ending and about 200 sheep being shifted about and feeling very vocal about it. Zed was spot on and I even put up a tiny little straight bar for him to try. He stepped through it the first time but after that he jumped it about three times on each rein and did a genuine little pop. It was so much fun and I felt really happy. 

You can see his Welsh heritage in this photos I think 
Spot the Nancy 
None of these little milestones squat to anyone else but to me they mean the world. I'm finally back to enjoying my little sprout and all his majestic-ness.

See you once I've cleared all these cardboard boxes! 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Lucky number 13

We are up to our thirteenth ride since Zed got the all-clear from his minky leg. 

And no headshaking. Dun, dun, daaaaa! Apart from once near the end of a ride but I'm pretty sure he just had a bladder the size of a beach ball because he did a 25 minute two-part epic urine evacuation and then looked mightily relieved.

We're riding in the fields because we're both sick of arenas and I feel it's better for his balance and fitness as they're on a gentle slope which should help build muscle and strength and reduce his Thelwell gut to an acceptable level. Plus Denny Emerson says you should walk, walk, walk your horse to build fitness and confidence and if he says that then I'm in. 

In addition, it's an opportunity for Zed to learn about life and the fact that little rabbits sometimes live in the cattle grids that you have to walk by and sometimes those little rabbits will be hiding right under your hooves and will dart for safety and take you by surprise. At which point you should probably NOT leap into the air, farting and grunting and test your rider's balance.

So it's an education all round. Though not always a relaxing one.


Angry face after we rode in the rain and then I wanted to take photos instead of untack.
My biggest aim is that all of this leads to hacking out on the roads on our own. He's good in company and I prefer it too but feasibly there isn't always someone to go out with and I'd really like to ride him out as much as possible.

I'm so tempted just to give it a go one early Sunday morning before the traffic is bad but at the moment my sensible head is saying he needs to lead a couple of hacks in company first before we take that step. 

It's nice to have goals like this, but it's also nice to remember that things were not looking great for the first half of the year and so everything's a bonus from this point. 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Ideas to move your horsemanship forward

Handsomely fixated by a goat climbing through the hedge
I'm riding Zed again, and this very fact makes we wish to launch fireworks from the roof of my house while performing the can-can. Maybe dressed as Wonder Woman. Or a bumble bee.

He is doing really well, and barely headshaking. He's also back in a full bridle complete with noseband and browband. To be on the safe side he had an endoscope to make sure nothing was stuck up his nose or lurking in his guttural pouches and everything looked as it should. No slime. No pebbles etc. 

I think now that the headshaking happened because he's allergic to something that's no longer in bloom (maybe rapeseed or summit?) or was just some kind of frustration spawned during evil box rest. 

Either way, he's rideable, and for the past week that's just what we've done. Mainly in and around the big field where the cross country jumps live because I'm starting to feel arena-phobia. 

But man-oh-man it has been weird going from schoolmasters back to a youngster. Suddenly all my nasty little habits have sprung up again. Lower leg rammed forward? Check! Hunched shoulders? Check!


So where else to turn but to my Facebook friends, searching for words of wisdom relating to progress and hopefully turning me into an Olympic-style dressage rider in seven days or less.

This was my question. 

Horsey friends, can I pick at your mighty brains? What's the best action you took, or habit you developed, that really moved your horsemanship forward? All ideas welcome! Thank you.

And I was not disappointed. In fact I was really surprised at how different many of the answers are, and how many are actually just really good life advice. Some are super practical, some more philosophical. Number 8 made me laugh, number 4 blew me away because it's simple but so true.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. I think learning signs of pain was important - so I could differentiate between 'naughty' and red flags for painful. The other major thing for me was to not bring my problems with me when I went out to my horses - if I was having a bad day at work I needed to learn to take a few deep breaths, go catch my horse and turn off to all other things that were outside 'just me and my horse'. I found this to be a conscious thing I had to do.

2. Pretended a fence was just a BIG canter stride! Especially cross-country and hunting. Didn't try and set him up, just got the best approach, with a forward going / thinking canter stride....kept the leg on and looked above and beyond the fence. 

3. Gave total control to my horse.

4. You have to learn to feel, not think.

5. Teach and train the horse don't force.

6. You have to learn to control your own emotions so your horse can control his.

7. Control the horse's feet, don't let them control yours.

8. Best action - ditching the horses and moving to dogs. I'm not even joking. I have no advice. Maybe shut your eyes and kick if you are scared?

9. Patience! Nothing comes easy you have to work for it.

10. Stopped caring about what other people thought and told me to do with my horses and just did what I felt was 'right' myself. Moved off livery yards and got my own place! 

11. Think outside of the box, realise there is never one right answer when it comes to horses and be confident in your decision. If it's wrong you learn from it and move on.

12. Both my horses have taught me great patience, to think outside the box (not something I'm that good at) and that sometimes it's best to take a step back, breath, do something else then revisit and usually we take a step forward no matter how small. One habit I've learned is to take a positive or learning point out of every situation and try not to dwell on the negatives too much - not always easy.

13. The fear of losing my horse made me lose my horse goals and gave me so much peace.

14. Horses will throw anything and everything at you. It never goes according to plan. But there's no substitute for hard work, always stick with it cos when it all eventually comes together it's the best feeling ever.

15. If you can improve just half a per cent each day - in 200 days, you'll be 100 per cent better.

16. Do what you enjoy with your ponies and be brave and do what they love too, the bond you gain is priceless.

As I said before, number 4 really stood out for me and this morning I crept out of the house early to ride in the quiet sunshine. I tried my damnedest to just clear my head and feel what was going on and it instantly made me feel more sympathetic and less reactive. Zed seemed to appreciate it too and was much more relaxed. I'm pretty excited to see where all these ideas take us. 

What about you? What made the crucial difference? Or are you still searching for answers? 

I am concerned Zed will never be slim again. Six months off was not kind to his lard levels

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Heartbreak, headshaking and hope

You don't always know that a situation is crushing your heart if the damage arrives in neat instalments. 

In February, Zed went mildly lame following a field injury to his left hock. As I stood there cold hosing his swollen joint my heart felt concerned. Not broken, just worried.

We did vet visits and box rest and a month later I bought him back into work. But I didn't really feel like he was ok so I turned him away to heal for a bit longer. I still felt alright-ish, just a tiny bit more nervous. 

About three weeks ago I tried again and found we had a new problem - headshaking.

Heart in the blender. 

If you don't like swear words, don't read the next paragraph.

Of all the motherfucking things that you don't want to happen to your motherfucking horse, headshaking is right at the top of the motherfucking list. Motherfucker. 

It is the densest maze of unknown cause and effects, research, hypothesise and trial treatments. There is agreement that it's linked to the trigeminal nerve misfiring and overreacting to stimulus like pollen and dust,  but the 'why' is where things unravel.

Some think there's a link to equine herpes, others believe it's stimulated by a hormone imbalance. There's also agreement that it's presently incurable. 

Read the forums and there's the odd tale of hope versus an awful lot of sad stories. 

Note, I've actually had a horse headshake before, only when riding and through the spring/summer, but with a five quid nose net on he was absolutely fine and business as usual. 

But this time: me being me, I feared that we were looking at the idiopathic, untreatable, unmanageable kind that is unresponsive to nets, supplements, steroids etc and just leaves you with a horse that has shooting pains in his face and no idea why. 

I'd seen Zed headshake back in March when he was on box rest, and also on the walker around that time. I put it down to frustration at being cooped up and thought it would ease when summer turnout kicked in.

The second time I tried to bring him back into work was different. He was very, very agitated. I tried a couple of times and then got off because it was obviously extremely stressful for him. 

I tried nose nets, vaseline around his nostrils, riding him inside and riding him outside and it all amounted to the same thing.

I spoke to two senior vets about it (one was my boss, Nicola Mason, who owns Durham Equine Practice, and the second was Dave Rendle, who is based at Rainbow Equine Hospital where we send our referrals) and was luckily able to pick their brains about options. 

We decided to rule out obvious causes first and to confirm whether he's actually sound, which meant a vet day for Zed yesterday with our locum, Antonia.

In short, he is. He's weaker on the left rein but that pre-dates his injury and lameness. So open-the-champagne news on that front.

After that, Antonia checked his teeth, eyes and ears. His ears were pretty grimey so she sedated him and gave them a good clean and took a swab to run under the microscope to check for mites and other nasties. His teeth and eyes were deemed fine. 

Then he also had a shot of dectomax to kill feather mites and some antibiotic and steroid cream to clear up the small plaques in his right ear. While he was sleeping we also cleaned his sheath, removing two fairly decent beans. 

It was a satisfying afternoon and it felt like a relief to actually be taking action. Zed was well-behaved and good to sedate which made me happy. It made me really, really want to fix him as Antonia asked questions about him and I got to reminisce about all the nice times we've had and his funny little manner. 

With a plan to scope his guttural pouches next week, we called it a day and I clipped his feathers while he came round from the sedation.

The strange thing was though, after he'd done his trot up and the vet had looked at him on the lunge, he didn't show any signs of headshaking. He just seemed absolutely fascinated by all the poking and prodding. It was kind of annoying in the respect that I looked like a liar, but it also got me thinking about why he'd suddenly stopped. 

He'd been pretty lit up on the lunge and enjoying himself as he hasn't done any work like that in months. After a bit of a mad canter he settled well and at the end he had a yawn as if he was ready to relax...

I went home to ponder and to continue researching the condition online and to think back through the past few months.

I began to wonder if part of the issue was exasperated by stress. It seemed to flair up when he was on box rest and he's definitely worse in his box and on the walker which is the two places he spent a lot of time when he was effectively on house arrest. Had the chance to move his feet and blow off steam helped him out? 

He'd also gained a lot of weight since his injury so I'd cut out all hard feed and he wasn't having his magnesium supplement any more which helped him to stay chilled last summer. (it's not confirmed but some studies have shown magnesium can help with headshaking in some horses. Interestingly, fat horses are over-represented in studies of headshaking. Fit horses don't seem to get it - or at least are able to keep doing their job).

Gradually, I formed a tentative little plan on the basis that he's now sound and technically ok to work. I decided to put him back on his magnesium and gastric aid supplement, do a little bit of light lunging to bring his weight down, and remove the nose band and brow band from his bridle to reduce pressure on his face. Just in case. 

Today was day one. He only flipped his head once or twice coming in from the field, ate his chaff and supplements happily and then I put on his modified bridle and took him in the indoor. He was much calmer than yesterday but seemed pretty happy to work and we did ten minutes of walk and trot and two small canters, one on each rein. He didn't headshake at all. He blew a lot through his nose, but definitely no shaking and no dragging his nose through the arena surface.

In fact the only time he did headshake was when I put on his headcollar to lead him back to the field. His headcollar has quite a heavy noseband and that seemed to set him off briefly. 

When I turned him out he stayed at the gate for a few minutes, whereas normally he gallops back to his friends so he seemed to be giving his seal of approval to the experience.

I don't know whether the ear clean helped, or if it was the bridle change or the faster work just to unwind a bit but today was definitely the best day I've had with him in a long time. It may also be a fluke and I'm trying not to get my hopes up. 

But I am finally able to admit that I have a lot emotionally invested in Zed, that the whole thing has made my heart painful, and that I want to solve it. Which may or may not happen, but at least I'm being honest about it instead of pretending it's all fine. 

Ps. For anyone dealing with a headshaker, I thought this article was interesting and informative - the gonadotropin treatment outlined seems less expensive and less invasive than some options and I'd like to know more if today proves to be a false dawn. I'll also consider things like antihistamine treatment and x-raying to rule out issues in his atlas/cervical vertebrae. 

For a more general outline on headshaking, this article is useful. 

Thoughts, feelings and advice relating to headshaking all welcome. I think I've read everything available on the internet but personal stories would be interesting and gratefully received!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

What's your story?

Everyone has a story, but often we're right in the messy middle of it and if someone asked the killer question, we might stumble over what to say.

I was listening to my new favourite blog today Happier in Hollywood, and Elizabeth Kraft and Sarah Fain were discussing the importance of knowing your story in LA - where you need to be memorable to get work and make contacts.

Now most of the world ain't Hollywood, and that might be a good thing (!) but I think it's still a pretty interesting question to ponder.

If our story is the way we see ourselves, then that can lend a huge weight to the direction of our lives. Maybe we don't like our story. Maybe we need a new story. Maybe we love our story and it puts a spring in our step...

My first attempt came out like this.

Former journalist and class swot turned happily married hippy. Yoga and meditation enthusiast. Obsessed with my loved ones. Horses for life.

Of course, no-one is as simple as just one story. We are all a collection, an anthology of good times and bad times, days when we felt confident or weeks when we felt overwhelmed. Instances of triumph and humiliation.

But if you had to sum it up. What would you say? What is your story? 

A good story can keep you on the right road, with a great view