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My horse saved my life…

I am one of those people who finds it a little hard to wind down. I’m a pretty driven person – a lot of us in business are. But you COULD say I’ve been known to be more tightly coiled than the springs under John Candy’s bed. I know it’s a bad visual, but I needed to make a point.  

A couple of years back, I found myself visiting Pete, my naturopath. His name is Pete but I like to call him The Hippy. I wasn’t in the best shape of my life. I explained that I’ve been working stacks of hours, finding it hard to unwind, feeling stressed and short tempered.

The Hippy, after a bit of a pause. “Gemma, what do you do for fun?”

GT – Blank stare. “Fun?”

The Hippy. “Yes, fun.”

This proved to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated because at that stage, I couldn’t really answer him. I worked. I LOVE my work and my business but to be honest, hadn’t been very kind to myself outside of that realm.

I left the Hippy Den with a slap across the wrist and a promise that I would find something fun to do.

Which is where Buddy comes in…

Buddy is my horse. My dad and I bred him together so I’ve had him since he was a foal.  For a thoroughbred, he is remarkably placid and gentle.  Aside from Langer, my husband,  Buddy is the great love of my life and Langer knows he is ahead only by a whisker.

Buddy’s father, Fimiston also belonged to us. Fimiston was a very famous and talented sprinter in the 80s. Buddy was not – his two greatest motivators are food and sleep. Together, we make up the world’s best average equestrian team.

So not long after that conversation between myself and the Hippy, my dad calls.

“When are you coming to pick up your horse?”

It was the news I had been waiting for. Buddy was being retired into my care, to finish his days as my (fingers crossed) dressage and cross country horse.  Now the moral of this blog is not for everyone to go out and buy a horse. I don’t recommend that. I really don’t. There are better ways to waste money.

The moral of this story is that the moment we are so consumed by our work that we forget what a bit of fun looks like, we’re in trouble.   I grew up on the back of a horse.  Yes folks, I was THAT girl. Pigtails and jodhpurs and pony club.  And just when I needed it most, that one thing I loved more than anything was there to save my sanity. I found the time to care for him, because he needed me to. I found the time to ride him, because he needed me to. And guess what? Doing that was exactly what I needed too. I needed time to tune out, wind down and clear my head.  No better way than going out for a ride when the sun is just coming up and there’s a light drizzle falling. It’s magic. You’d be surprised how much clarity I found while shovelling manure. It’s all part of the deal…

So maybe it’s time for a pulse check. Ask yourself what you’re doing for fun, and if like me you came up with a blank stare or worse, you answered “Doing my BAS” it’s time to do something about it.

What do you think?

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Gemma Tognini

Gemma Tognini

Business owner, communication specialist, some-time runner, ex journo, V8 ute driver, story teller and lover of shoes, WA’s Gemma Tognini is an often homesick half-Italian and passionate Collingwood tragic. She’s never far from a red notebook, where she jots down her plans, anxieties, business strategies, brilliant and ridiculous ideas alike. Now she’s flinging wide the pages for all to share. Welcome to The Red Book. Enjoy the read. Find out more at <a href="www.gtmedia.com.au">www.gtmedia.com.au</a> or follow her on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/gemmatognini">@gemmatognini</a>

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