It is said, do what you love and the money will come, but my mother didn’t subscribe to that belief and embarking on an equestrian career when I left college wasn’t an option that was open to me!
While working in London in my twenties, to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay, I would head off on African riding safaris and help in Hyde Park to get horses to Knightsbridge Barracks, as an RDA volunteer. I would lean longingly out of the window of my St John’s Wood flat as the beautiful bays of the Kings Troop clattered by on their morning exercise, and I was even known to sneak a sniff of a passing police horse.
After transferring to Sydney and being bitten by the polo bug, I was absolutely determined to balance my full-time job with bringing on young horses, obviously needing consistent work, and playing tournaments. I moved out to the polo fields and spent huge chunks of my weekdays on the motorway, often in nose-to-tail traffic travelling at snail’s pace. I combined crazily early starts with moonlit sets on the polo field and used up all my holiday in half days to join afternoon practice chukkas.
The technology revolution that enables remote working could not have come any sooner for me! And, I was extremely fortunate in having a very supportive and accommodating boss who, ultimately, allowed me to work two to three days a week in the office and the rest from home.
Following my return to the UK in January 2017, I remained employed by Goldman Sachs Australia for a few months, so I got to trial life as a shift worker. Being a natural night owl, I had no difficulty firing up my laptop after dinner to start my working day (night), but I missed my mornings and struggled to adjust to a normal routine at weekends. The advantage of this schedule, however, was that I could spend my afternoons in the saddle and I had a wonderful time exploring the Marlborough Downs on Catherine Burrell’s beautiful eventers.
Nero’s arrival in April that year coincided with my taking on a maternity leave contract as Executive Assistant to an ex-Chairman of Goldman Sachs, who I had met down under. The timing was perfect and I was able to combine this with eventing and laying the foundations for my business (www.potp.uk).
While horses are my first love, I have always been a keen wordsmith and embrace any opportunity to combine my two passions. I have written a regular column for UK magazine, Polo Times and contributed articles to a variety of other equestrian publications.
My working week now is a mix of writing/editing and freelance executive assistance, all of which I do from my home in Wiltshire, apart from travelling to meetings, occasional visits to clients’ homes/offices and attending events.
One of the joys of writing, for me, is that it doesn’t demand a 9-5 existence and requires only a laptop, an internet connection and inspiration. With flexible hours and no daily commute, balancing work and horses is no longer a challenge.
While I yearn to be at the yard when I’m not, I have often wondered if my insatiable hunger for horse sports would have waned if I had had to ride ten a day in all weathers and been under constant pressure to produce. Or, perhaps that’s just amateur rider sour grapes!