Hello from the Netherlands

Hello from the Netherlands, Yolanda's story so far.

Hello everyone,

I thought it would be nice to let you all at Pegasus know how I am doing, how the move has gone and how bad the culture shock has been since moving to The Netherlands…

First step first:

Well, the move itself went ok. Stressful and yes, I cried terribly when I said goodbye to my friend Angel at the airport and goodbye to Canberra as I flew over the city and the surrounding mountains. Though very sad, I also felt very grateful for the wonderful experience I have had while living in Australia. I would not have wanted to miss those 10 years of living in the Capital City, meeting new people, making new friendships, and finding Pegasus. And of course, where I met my dog Bronte and bought my very first horse Texas Jack.

I arrived 3 weeks after my dog arrived, two days before my horse arrived and 1 month before my husband joined me in the Netherlands. On the first of November 2023 we received the keys for our new house in Alphen and the movers arrived the following day!

Happiness and sadness alternated each other for the next two months. I can’t say it was a lovely time as I found it very difficult to adjust to a new life and culture. We had an extreme amount of rain, it was colder than I had thought, even had snow for a week with -10 degrees and the days were short…. I honestly felt quite depressed at the start of the move into the Netherlands. I worried a lot about everything, missed the big sun, blue skies and missed my ozzie-friends terribly. Yes, I had my family in return but that didn’t feel right yet. It had been 29 years ago since I lived there. Things had changed, like me. It took me a while to get used to even seeing my parents so often.

I worried not only for myself but a lot for my horse Texas. At times, I felt guilty for having brought him to this wet, cold country with no space to run like Kambah. But I also felt very insecure, having the responsibility for his wellbeing all by myself. The first stables were so NOT what I wanted for him (long hours in an indoor-stable) and the 24/7 paddock after that was too wet and muddy without shelter nor dry place to stand nor facilities. Worries about what rug, what food, what care did he need, was I doing all I could?? Was he indeed happy enough?? Etc. Etc. Then he developed mud-fever very badly…

At the same time, The Job my husband was promised on arrival, was delayed too. More (financial) worries we didn’t need.

Christmas came and went, TG for that! New Year’s Eve was quiet though with lots of fireworks, something the Netherlands is famous for.

And the end of January 2024, with the help of a local vet and farrier, Tex moved to another place once more. And this is where we have been since and to stay for at least the next many months!! There is space to roam, two shelters, unlimited food (hay), good facilities, people (for me too), horses, forest next door and many bridleways. Yes, I can peacefully sleep again! And the mud-fever is almost gone. Woohoo.

January 2024 wasn’t great, but it was a bit lighter on the horizon: I had found a place “like Pegasus”! The owner of “De Stalvrienden” really wanted me to work for them and she managed to get my diplomas recognised by the FPG (dutch RDAA). We were both very happy and soon after, I started working on the Tuesday, with 7 lessons/ 10 riders in the day with various abilities. Great challenges and lots to learn. Like the lift, the special saddles they have there, different horses (Haflingers and Fjorden Horses, mainly.) And different language…. But also, great opportunities to share my experience and knowledge from another country with colleagues’. I could honestly say they needed some fresh input. Hahaha.

Two weeks ago, I accepted working on the Saturday afternoon too, every other week, for 4 hours. With 4 very interesting lessons.

It’s funny how all my riders “look like” some of my riders at Pegasus. Hahaha.

What I miss are regular volunteers. We don’t have many, let alone we have a coordinator! I mainly work with “work-experience students”. Its ok, but they need a lot of training……. As a coach, that’s part of my role too. A part that I love doing! So, they are in good hands with me.

I like all my new riders but mostly Levi because I teach him in Ozzie-English. That’s his choice and I love it!! And in this short time, I managed to get him from “maybe I will ride” to “lets ride Im ready”! From riding in a pad to riding in a saddle and learning proper horse riding. He even trots! His mum and I are so proud of him! I also had to learn some sign-language as one of my riders is completely deaf, another rider is paralysed on one side and wants to train as para-rider. So, rides one-handed. And I have an adult rider with CP who needs the lift to get on and off the horse but also needs exercises to challenge his balance. TG I have done Hippotherapy!

I also found a job as a care-assistant in the local nursing-home, working 1 evening shift a week at the dementia-ward. Great to be back “on the floor” again. (I used to be a trained nurse)

With both jobs, horse and dog settled, husbands job sorted and less struggling with the weather now Spring has arrived, I’m feeling more at home in the Netherlands! The village of Alphen is lovely and the people very friendly; we have more contacts already here than ever before in Kambah!

There is a real community, with lots of events and we even have a theatre with local and national artists every week. It’s wonderful now to be able to visit families easily, see old friends and be part of birthday celebrations. At the same time, the area is wonderful for walking, cycling and sightseeing which we do daily.

Do I miss Canberra, I can hear you asking? ABSOLUTELY!! And if it was up to me, I’d be on the next flight to Australia. Im still very homesick………. But it wouldn’t be wise to come now so I will delay my visit till October 2024.

I hope to see you all then and try to catch up with everyone. In the meantime: take care, stay safe, look after each other and especially look after Pegasus!

Lots of love,

Coach Yolanda