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17Nov 14

Goodbye Paul Martin, hello Mike Douglas

For many years Paul Martin was very much in my way. On Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons that was. It started well before he ever shod my horses and it wasn't in an equine environment either. Together with his brother, Paul was racing a very fast modern design dinghy and I was crewing on a Troy, a seventy five year old little racing yacht and part of a one-design class in Fowey. At some point during nearly every race we met in the most inconvenient places and our boat nearly always had to 'give way', as they call it in the nautical world. 
Some years later Paul started shoeing for me and other than the fact that he kept my horses sound in the most professional way, he was definitely the most 'on time farrier' I've ever come across. Also, if there was a problem out of hours, including the weekend, Paul would be there. During  the years many of his apprentices turned into very good farriers and I dare say, this had a lot to do with his desire to pass on his knowledge. Often, when I turned up with the coffee (Paul liked my coffee!) he was patiently talking the boys through some or other issue. I myself learned a lot from those sessions.
Paul has always been able to give his life an adventurous twist. He once managed to book a flying lesson in order to take an apprentice to Peterborough for a college interview . The reason being that it took less time than driving up there and not a days work would be lost.
When Paul and his wife Jenny got together, some years ago, it was obvious she had a similar liking for a bit of adventure and both seemed to be drawn to island life, tropical I hasten to add. So soon the gossip went around that plans were being made to up sticks and try a different life style in the Virgin Islands.
Well, I think they are flying in a couple of weeks time.  I know the area well as I used to crew on yachts for which the destination was exactly there. It is beautiful, great sailing and lush and warm.
I wish them all the best with their new life and am saving for a ticket! And we, horse owners are lucky to have Mike Douglas who has stepped into Paul's shoes with similar dedication!


We will miss him!
liz Read, 17th November 2014

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Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

About Liz Barclay

Her love for horses together with her dedication made her into the trainer and dressage rider she is, today. She is versatile and inventive and likes a challenge; whether it is a technical training question, a confidence issue or a problem involving the management of the horse or pony.


My book 'THE FARMER, THE COAL MERCHANT, THE BAKER...' with the subtitle 'A Personal Impression of the Development of the Gelderland Horse World' has been received with more enthusiasm than I possibly could have hoped for. Click here to contact me and I will send you a copy. £7.50 + postage, or click here to order from Amazon.