Before Bridleways a horse was, well, a horse. That was the extent of my knowledge. Having arrived at Bridleways almost by accident, looking for gardening work, I was soon wandering into this new and interesting equine universe.
Having struggled with depression for nearly a decade, as well as the social awkwardness and self destructive behaviours it often brings in tow, I found myself in an environment where that was ok. I didn’t need to have quite so thick of a wall around me, people got it, wanted to help and to talk openly about it. Strangely, the horses seemed to get it as well. I thought a horse with its own struggles and damage would see me a mile off and want nothing to do with this awkward, unpredictable, down trodden person standing before them. I was wrong, somehow there was an unspoken agreement ‘we’re both damaged and know the pain that brings, so lets not hurt each other’ And with that, I was relaxed, I didn’t need to put so much energy into all of my barriers, I could be involved in something that helps these amazing creatures whilst starting to put the pieces of my own life together. There’s very much a therapy with helping the horses heal and find great new homes, as you find it helps you heal as well.
Nearly two years later and I’m hooked. I don’t know where I would be without the people and the horses here. Not only am I part of something that is doing a lot of good, I’m also having fun and sorting my own issues out at the same time.
The gardener side of me hasn’t been forgotten either, when I’m not playing ‘my fingers aren’t carrots’ with the cheekier horses, I’ll be the one covered in mud, planting gooseberries and chewing the ears off anyone who will listen.
There are big ideas and constantly growing projects with the land as well. Including creating an attractive and delicious kitchen garden, complete with soft fruit bushes, creative displays of unusual vegetables and a wonderfully scented herb corner. Dedicated wildlife areas, the largest and most interesting will be around the ancient hidden pond. Whilst there are also aims to create a little shop for all plants and produce grown on site.
After another good summer things are still progressing nicely. Depression is well under control, taken on a second job and aiming high for the future. Hopefully next I can find a little corner of the world to call my own, continue growing (plants/veg and myself) horsing around and if I can; help people through the struggles I once battled against.
Catching up with Steve – Summer 2017
I spread myself between Peterborough and Cambridge at the moment, but looking to settle in Peterborough – close to some good ol’ friends.
I’d probably give a different answer to depression on different days to be honest. I can’t say I’ve conquered it, but it’s not conquered me either. There’s up and down days and I’ve accepted that it’s not something that can be cured, it’s something you carry with you in life. I understand it and can separate the positives and negatives and once I’ve properly settled and found my permanent place, I’ll take the next steps forward again. Having something I’m passionate about helps alot, and over time I’m focusing in on that and once I find and can put myself fully into the next big project then I know I’ll start winning the fight alot more regularly. It’s a marathon not a sprint as they say.