I've been a bit flighty the last few years, but I'm naturally quite earthy. I guess I just have to balance the fact I'm really a traveller, who got a bit sidetracked for too long, with somewhere to oil paint, cook, dig and bathe. I dread to think how much of my life I've spent in a depressed stupor.
I've been competing since 1976 and have been lucky enough to travel the world with my sport, but there's always a real buzz around the World Cup Finals. It really is the best of the best with riders from all over the world flying in to go head to head in front of a passionate crowd. There are 40 riders from 20 countries taking part so it's tough.
When I have finished a painting, I find it hard to summon up the confidence to start on another, I can fall into a bit of a pit, so if there are already roughed in works, it's like I'm not really stopping. I'll probably do a different kind of work soon, I'll probably be in a different place. Though these works, feel like my main work, I keep coming back to them.
Horse-riding can be accessible to anyone and everyone. In addition to the pleasure it brings, there's also a strong element of physical and mental therapy being around horses. They make you feel calmer. The Riding for the Disabled Association is a charity that's close to my heart and I try to help as much as I can. The organisation gives people with limited movement the opportunity to feel full movement on a horse. It gives children with disabilities access to therapeutic interaction with horses in a safe and supportive environment.
Thoroughbred race horses are magnificent animals, so trusting, caring and graceful. But they are also highly strung and flighty. The children at Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) need an animal which is patient, safe and with a calm temperament, so the type of horses we keep at Manor House Stables wouldn't be suitable... the great news is that Clare did eventually manage to help find the perfect horse for the young people in Carlisle, a beautiful and gentle natured horse called Nutmeg. And it's not just Nutmeg that will help the riders at RDA.
Tales of foxes killing entire coops of chickens and geese fuel the fire here in the countryside, meanwhile the townies talk of hounds ripping the throats of family pets in their crazed efforts to hunt down the "poor little fox". Whatever the argument, the sport is certainly not relegated to history and seems to actually be thriving and growing amidst all the ideological conflict.