The Everyday Adventure Podcast

The Power of the Horse and Bearing Witness - Louis Hall, Founder of The Big Hoof

April 12, 2023 Nicki Bass Season 6 Episode 4
The Everyday Adventure Podcast
The Power of the Horse and Bearing Witness - Louis Hall, Founder of The Big Hoof
Show Notes Transcript

Louis Hall is a writer, rider and explorer from Scotland. Aged eighteen, he first discovered the power of the horse while in search of a tribe in northern Mongolia. Since then he has gone on to ride down the length of the UK and across Europe  in aid of charitable causes. In 2020 he founded The Big Hoof, a charity that promotes adventure and wellbeing though long distance rides. So far, The Big Hoof has travelled over 4000km in 5 different countries, raising over £70,000 for causes centred on mental health, wellbeing and child welfare. In 2022 Louis created the first conclusive horse trail across the Ligurian Alps, on his way from Siena, Italy to Cape Finisterre, Spain. He now has his eyes set on America and the Silk Road.  Louis has also recently worked in partnership with Insulate Ukraine to restore windows blown out by the war.

This is a wide ranging conversation exploring the motivation behind the Big Hoof and Louis' treks on horseback as well as the work he has undertaken recently with Insulate Ukraine and the challenge of bearing witness to traumatic events.

Find out more about Louis work and the Big Hoof:


Instagram: @thebighoof

Facebook: @thebighoof

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NICKI:                           00:00                Hello and welcome to the Everyday Adventure Podcast. My name is Nikki Bass and I will be bringing you thoughts, ideas, and stories from some incredible guests to hopefully inspire you to live more adventurously in your everyday lives.

                                    01:36                So Louis, it's absolute pleasure to have you here. I would love to know more I think, because like I said with some of our guests, they've done sort of one adventure. They're focusing on a particular challenge at one time. And I know that you have got a particular challenge going on, but that also the big hoof is a bigger concept than that. And you've done multiple challenge previously and I think it would just be really helpful to get a sense of what inspired you to set it up, what's the aim, what's the motivation, all of those sort of things. That would be amazing.

LOUIS:                          02:09                Well, no, thank you Nikki, so much for having me. I think with the point that I've got to now I think with it is with lots of people, it was a stumbling, I just stumbled into it and it's slowly grown its own kind of legs as it's gone. I mean it began just through understanding how a horse can connect people from all sorts of backgrounds, but for all sorts of reasons. And as I've subsequently discovered, it crosses all borders. It crosses abilities, it crosses an inability for people to perhaps vocalise things. It, it's a neutral symbol for that draws people and a very primitive one to us. But that all began when I was, I think 18 was probably when it really, the spiritual side of the horse began to be very clear to me. And then it's my first ride was in lockdown in 2020 and a friend of mine, Leo, he had died of cystic fibrosis a couple years previously.

                                    03:12                And I felt during the lockdown a huge, as many people obviously did a huge claustrophobia and a frustration at what potentially would be the outcome of all this and the kind of crushing way that rules and laws and obstacles were making people think. One mainly is that you cannot go out and explore, you can't meet strangers, you can't connect to people. Communities were shut down in every form of community was shut down. It was a time of total isolation and that was very damaging. I thought it could be very damaging and in a kind of knee-jerk reaction and with the spirit of my friend Leo, who was a very big advocate for going into the unknown and believing and taking advantage of the world around you in a positive way and using the time that you have been gifted on earth, I decided to ride a horse from Johnny Gross, Alan's end.

                                    04:10                And again, using that idea of neutral connection that I had learned from my first experiences with the horses in Mongolia when I was 18. And then I went down the country and thought in a way it would be a trial of endurance and combating elements and what have you. But I realised very quickly that it was a journey for everyone. It was again the horse power of the horse being at the centre of it brought people together and suddenly this one person journey became a vehicle for all sorts of people from everywhere around the country that wanted an excuse to and wanted a reason to come out and feel something a bit deeper and connect to something beyond what they've been told to connect to. And then from the moment that I began and certainly when I reached Land's End, I just thought there's no way that this message and this feeling has to end and I think it's a time it, it's needed now maybe more than ever.

                                    05:11                And so that's when I set out to establish the big hoof, which was just a name for that journey. I think a journalist called it that. And I set out to establish the big hoof as a charity to allow these journeys to continue in whatever form they might be. And sure enough they have meandered and we've evolved into something that we are now which, and it will continue to, as I say, stumble and change but grow I think again with this idea of connection and adventure in big and small ways, but the power of the horse being at the centre of it.

NICKI:                           05:48                I love that. Love that. When you talk about the charity and the concepts of meandering and growing and in my head just got this picture of meandering and growing as you're wandering along on a horse as well, it's that it feels very, very in tune to actually what you are doing and like you said, travelling by horseback. And I think so interesting that the concept in a way came out of the need for connection or what transformed that sort of sense of how we connect and how we form communities and then evolved into with the charitable aspect, but also feeling like this, there is potential to expand this and having multiple aims as well. So what are some of the adventures or it feels a little bit sort of, I dunno, restrictive to call them adventures in a way, but some of the journeys you've been on since that initial idea.

                                    06:47                And I guess just thinking about the challenges that you faced along the way, because I think sometimes, like you said, you expect something to be challenging for a particular reason, but then it becomes a challenge for all sorts of other reasons. So I'll just be really interested because I know I think we first connected when you were travelling through Spain and which was an immense journey in itself. And then obviously the work that you've now been doing with Ukraine, I think it'd just be interesting. What are some of the challenges you've come across which you haven't expected and how you've sort of navigated through those as well?

LOUIS:                          07:20                Well I think a lot actually is to do with our first meeting when I interviewed you about resilience at work and about the little challenges, the everyday things and the connection on a daily level and putting one self out there on a daily level. That was with all the things that the big co form I've been lucky to be part of have managed to inverse coms achieve or whatever word you want to use. One thing is distances covered and destinations reached and roots pioneered and the rest of it. But then the biggest thing that has surprised me, I think maybe two things that have endured surprising me with everything that we do, it's nu number one is that nothing is as it seems. So this idea of expecting one thing and planning and I mean anyone who knows me knows that I am and the worst planner and actually hates planning, which is in a way kind of good because nothing really happens to how you want it to happen because you forget that actually there's billions of other people and other forces at work that you are not aware of and you think you can control everything, but you can literally can control nothing in that sense.

                                    08:38                But then obviously you need to plan a little bit, otherwise the well wellbeing of yourself and others and a horse may not be as happy. So I think the first thing that you one forgets or that I certainly am, I'm surprised about every time is a lack of control you really have. But with that, it may sound like a daunting thing, but it's actually incredibly liberating once you give over to that because you I've, I find myself then becoming something part of something so much bigger, something that's come before me for hundreds and thousands of years, something that's going to go beyond me hopefully for thousands and millions of years. And it's this concept that we as humans and as an individual are also connected to the land that we're on and to paths that have been den before us and to people around us.

                                    09:25                So it's this understanding that we are, you can control nothing. You can set out for one aim and you certainly won't reach that aim, but the aim that perhaps wasn't intended will come to you. And the second thing is with that lack of control is a family of human beings who are also in this place of no control. And so the power and kindness of strangers is something that blows me away every single step I take of every single journey, as I said commencing on the ride from Johnny Gros to LAN's end, I all I thought about it was all I imagined it in my head, was it just me and this horse? And then the reality is so different. The reality is so many is people is these acts of kindness, these staying in someone's house, staying in someone's body, sting, being tucked up with hot chocolate and whiskey and whatever.

                                    10:17                And then going off the next day with a family on horseback and being surrounded by people wanting to come out who are suffer from cystic fibrosis. And then on the right across Europe where I had the pleasure to interview you, not a single day when I've managed without acts of kindness from strangers, not a single day. And again, you can plan, this is where I'm going to stop that night, this is where I'm going to stop that night, that's where I'm going to get feed from there. And you can go to the nth degree to plan or you can just trust which I have perhaps, which I try and do. And obviously within limitations, I try and trust in this idea that there is little control and that the unknown, stepping into that unknown and knowing that there are strangers out there who are perhaps just waiting to become friends is extremely liberating and in a way then makes you feel and makes the things that you try and do very achievable because you're never alone. And everything can be done with an idea that we're all kind of in this world trying to figure it all out together. But that breaching the isolation, breaching the idea that it's just you on a one person mission and then knowing that everyone else is there with you that allows suddenly for things that you think are impossible, big and small to become achievable. So I think those two things are always, always surprise me at most.

NICKI:                           11:46                Gosh, there's so much in there. I sort of slightly dunno where to start if I'm always, I'm going to start with the fact that I love the fact that you said you hate planning because I hate planning too and I think often the best adventure, it is really interesting because I think obviously like you said, from a safety point of view and from taking care of particularly with you with the horses and making sure that your own and that their safety and health isn't going to be compromised is really important and planning for that. But I think that point you make about where we plan to protect ourselves against the not knowing or against the uncertainty I think is a really important point because I think often the need to plan can prevent us from getting started sometimes. And I think often if we knew what was going to happen on these sort of adventures, probably then half the time you go, actually no, I don't think I'm, I'm going to bother.

                                    12:51                There's so much to do. But actually with that freedom of going, actually being open to what's what might come, who you might meet, what might happen is an element of planning in itself. But it's a different sort of like you said, it's sort of letting go of that need for control and having that trust. I think the second point I was going to come onto is that point about trust and actually how challenging that can be. I was thinking, I would imagine as you've done more of these journeys and as you've had more and more experience of being able to trust that people are there and will be open to you and will support you and all that sort of thing, the more you build up a bank of that knowledge, the easier it becomes to be able to go, you know what, it'll be okay.

LOUIS:                          13:36                Yeah. Mean it feels sort of strange trying to sort of saying how that is the way forward to trust and not plan. But then there was a time when I was scared of that day one going down the uk and it was a very different mindset. But I think which comes back to the point of it's not about, again, it's not about distances covered destinations reached, it's about that very first step. And in terms of the planning side extent, are your plans actually closing doors to opportunities that allow you to discover more? And lots of people contact the big hoof and I try as much as I can to give as much help in zooms and chats with people planning big rides across Europe. Two of them people are doing it now and some it's, it is interesting, this are two mindsets. One is to completely obviously overplan and to work out all the roots and you know, can imagine them there with hundreds of pieces of paper and all these connecting things and lots of folders and sticky tapes and all the rest of it.

                                    14:43                And then there's the other side who just, it's about a feeling of wanting to go and explore. And that's the thing that will take you to the place you need to go. And that place may not be the place that you intended, but it will take you, it's the fuel, the undying fuel that will actually keep you going and the way markers and the checkpoints and the bookings and the Airbnbs and whatever it is or the stables that you've planned that won't keep you going. It will just satisfy something that you are scared of, which is the letting go. But again, it starts small and again, I mean I'm lucky to have done a lot of this and thousands of kilometres of riding into strangers as houses and not knowing where I'm going to sleep that night. But it does start as it did with me.

                                    15:33                It starts very small and it starts on just day one and it might start on a walk or talking to someone you don't know or talking to someone you don't really want to, but you feel that you should or go to a party and scared and it's just doing something small and brave for yourself and only one self can know what that really means that then starts to open these doors or the door of trust and the unknown. And that's the biggest planning you can do I think for me is always just to allow yourself to create this mindset that then it's okay to trust and it's better to do that than and to over plan and to close the door entirely.

NICKI:                           16:12                Yeah, I love that point. Start starting with something small and brave because in a way that's the sort of ethos of this podcast very much is that we often see the end result or we see the journey or we see the achievement, but we don't necessarily see the beginning. We see the bravery in terms of accomplishment. And I think often the bravery is the finding a way to take that first step and where every part of your body is going, I really don't want to do this. And like you said, for somebody who might be just be walking into a party where you don't, I mean I know for me that's a huge thing walking into a room where you don't know people and going, I'm just going to find a way to do this and I might go and hide in the toilets for 20 minutes.

                                    16:52                Yeah, I'm saying I do that exactly, but I might going there is a way. And the more you do it, the more you find a way to navigate those things that are difficult and it's not necessarily the big thing, like you said, it's the little sticking points along the way that we try and avoid. I think that says something about, I guess partly the motivation as well. I mean your sort of recent work that you've been doing in Ukraine in a way is a slight departure from the travels that you've done beforehand. How did that come about and what have you, I suppose learned from the work that you've been doing out there? I think it's with insulate Ukraine, is that correct?

LOUIS:                          17:41                That's

NICKI:                           17:41                Right, yeah. That must have been a very different sort of environment and evolution I suppose, of the big hoof as well.

LOUIS:                          17:49                Yeah, I mean the first and foremost big hoof being a, since it's creation as a charity, the idea was always to be one that can a little bit like the horse can connect and mobilise to in whatever direction it needs to do and with welfare, wellbeing, mental health at the forefront. But it's where we choose that we can put our efforts best. But a friend of mine was in Ukraine for some six, seven months last year and volunteering for charities all over. And he came back and met me and another friend Harry in London and he was telling us of all his time there. And then he said the biggest problem that he thinks Ukrainians are going to face, especially Ukrainians from the devastated communities are windows shattered out, shattered by the war, blown out by the war. And my friend Harry is an engineer student, well he was until he stopped it for this, a PhD student at Cambridge University.

                                    18:47                And he said about create a glassless window that would offer natural lights and more insulation than double glaze window, but also shatterproof, which is obviously a big problem. And anyway, he created this up with some engineering friends at Cambridge and then he said, Lou, do you want to come out and do this with me? Basically implement this kind of laboratory idea into real life situation where it's needed. So yeah, we got set off from the 31st of December just last year, and then arrived into kyiv, picked up loads of supplies, it's basically polyethylene, PVC piping and duct tape and put it into a high car. And then drove all the way to Im, which is in the hockey blast eastern Ukraine, very close to Russia actually. And then began, arrived into this city that is just totally raised to the ground. It was so much worse than I could possibly imagine and then set about to implement this window solution into every home that we possibly could.

                                    19:47                And sure enough, every single home you saw was either no longer in existence, it was rubble or it had the black stains of a bomb or a mine or bullet holes. But most importantly it every window had been shatters and they have road signs and sandbags and carpets as a replacement. But then obviously with the winter that doesn't do much good. And mine is 16 outside most of the time we were there in January. And the inside though, the people are wearing so three coats putting their hands over naked flames of a gas stove or if they're lucky they've got a wood burning stove, but the there's ice on the insides frames or there's ice in the shattered glass on the inside temperature of most of those homes and apartments we were in was two degrees. So it was unlivable and fortunately the Harry's design worked and we started literally home by home implementing the windows.

                                    20:41                And sure enough the temperature rose from up to 22 degrees within eight nine hours and the demand was massive. So people started contacting us with a help of a translator who created a M WhatsApp group and it spread and then we managed to convince the municipality to do it and the construction company to help us. And we now got sort of five or six volunteers out there and we're going to hopefully spread to Carson soon. Fortunately, obviously winter is almost over, so temperatures are rising, but as I think the understanding is, it certainly won't be the last winter of this fight, although of course we hope and pray it will. So next winter will be equally as important. So I was very different to anything on a horse and a lot harder, I think with the horse, you always have to make those little brave steps and make those brave decisions because you have to a horse to look after.

                                    21:39                So you have to find a way to cross over the bill bow estuary and convince a policeman to put your horse on water taxi because there is no other way and you have to get this horse across or you have to find a way to get it across the Laine Alps and take off the saddle, put all the kit in your r sack and walk because there is no other way. But with this, there's no hiding or kind of justification of this horse, and it's just between you and to me rather. And you're fellow human in a world apart. And it was very difficult to contrast your life and theirs because when it realise extremely fortunate and lucky they are. And you get a bit sick of the kind of people worrying about gas bills and heating when some people are literally shivering every single day and sleeping in a bath because it's the warmest place in their house and they've obviously got no windows and a lot of people have lost their family.

                                    22:36                All the people that we were trying to help were people who'd survived the Battle of Visium last year, Russian occupation for five months and the retreat of the Russians. So they were survivors of three different elements, and most of 'em were widows, disabled, or extremely, extremely poor. And it was very, very difficult because you saw the endurance in these people every single day and the extraordinary prevailing ability to keep going in these totally unlivable conditions. And then you look at your own life and think, what can I perhaps be more grateful for, strive for more. But it was more than anything, it was just harrowing to see this and much harder than anything I've done in terms of rides and adventures. This was the hardest thing. Fortunately we were doing something practical, so you're putting out windows, you're making a tangible difference to someone's life every day, which was very satisfying. And I was taking lots of photos and writing about it to pitch it to newspapers, et cetera, but the human element was very, very tough.

NICKI:                           23:42                Yeah, I was just thinking as you're saying that actually the part of the challenge in that sense of I can make a difference here, but but that you are witnessing, you're bearing witness to something really, really difficult as well. And that also has an impact and leads you to question all sorts of other aspects of your own life. And it can be quite destabilising in that sense. I think there's the bits that you take with you and that I guess feed into your ambitions and your aims for next steps, but also in terms of all the things that you can't do, I think that's a never, I know that feeling of guilt as well that can sit alongside, I'm doing what I can to help and we are here providing this sort of support, but also every time that you are feeling discomfort or you know are focusing on your own struggles, that creeps in as well. And I was just wondering how have you found a way to reconcile that or is it something you are still processing is, is that something that you didn't necessarily anticipate, I guess going in as well?

LOUIS:                          24:56                Yeah, none of us had really thought about what it was going to do to us or I don't think, again, I don't think one does when you know, embark upon this because you probably wouldn't do it. I think it's important to remember that you're not them and that wouldn't be helpful to anyone if you pretended you were, and I wouldn't be, you're not going to replace their life with yours. They won't want that. They're as hard as it is to understand they are in that place because it's their home and the troubles that have been done to them obviously have nothing to do with them themselves, but they are there because that's where they're from, that's their life, and it's a world apart from yours. I think also a little bit like the advice given to someone when they're drowning, you can't just jump in and join them and feel their suffering.

                                    25:44                That's not helpful to anyone. I think it's important to stay at an arm's length and give the support and help you can from a distance, which is difficult to kind of say, but it is the best and most effective way that you can actually help someone in that situation. So coming back was, I think it only hit beyond to hit us. I mean, Harry's still at Harry, Harry's gone back out, he's still there and I'm going back out. But it kind of hit the human aspect of it all hit us quite hard when we came back after. And then as you were suggesting, it's seeing the contrast between their life and your life, especially when you're kind of going through the streets of London and listening to people's conversations and complaining about this and that, and you just think it's very upsetting, really. And you've just seen a couple days before, people who are so grateful for having a window that isn't shattered.

                                    26:38                The kind of things put get in perspective, but again, that's no one's fault except for obviously the perpetrators. That's no one's fault because they're just how the world is. You know, can't have everyone feeling the same things all at the same time. But again, yeah, I think it's knowing that the, you're making a difference and having that arm's length is an effective way to do that and the most effective way to do that. But yeah, as you said, of course the effects, seeing those things and living for a moment for a second, the lives that they have are living was very important and useful for me, but very difficult. But it made me, after the dust settled, it reinstated that kind of belief that I must continue with the big hoof and, and it's kind of led me to, it'll lead to other places as well. The big hoof allowed the Harry's organisation to gain charitable funding. So it helps that project get on its knee, its legs, but it kind of rea reinstated the power of what this charity can do. And so installed a renewed sense of enthusiasm in a different way, in a way that now I know having seen is and also the other rides that also the rides that it's really important to keep going because it can lead you to helping people that need it in all different ways. Not only just emotional, but certainly physical as well.

NICKI:                           28:05                No, I was just thinking how it starts to shape your thinking and motivates you in different ways as well. I was just wondering, sort of bearing in mind all of the experiences you've had so far with the big hove, whether they're the journeys across Europe or your recent experiences as well. I mean, what, you can answer this in a short term or a long term way. So there's no rules, but where, what's next? What ambitions do you have in terms of the charity or what, or do you have plans for this summer, things coming up? What's the next steps do you think, for you with the big hoof?

LOUIS:                          28:44                I think having proven to myself in a way that the long ones, big ones are possible. I think I want to make some lots and lots of small steps in the uk and we are beginning a, or we're about to launch a project called Fairways when we're partnering with a British pilgrimage trust. And the idea with fairways is to ride over, walk and run long distance, run as well over all the pilgrimage route in the UK from starting from Scotland all the way down Wales and obviously England. And we're partnering with a lady called Francesca Joy who runs a podcast called Running on Joy. And the idea is basically to try and make these little roots, these little adventures as accessible as possible. Again, they're all in back garden, they're all in the country, on the land of this country. And the root of it all is the central piece, which is obviously the power of the horse and connecting people through that.

                                    29:47                But at the same time, it's about community. It's about the land that we've come from, the roots that have been paved before us and getting people to come together in all abilities, forms, and backgrounds over an old way that has almost perhaps almost been forgotten. So for me, that's the, that's going to be a very, very long term, big hoof mission. And we'll do rides hopefully one or two a year, definitely one a year. The first one's in July, the St. Columbus way, again, encouraging walker's, riders and runners and cyclists. I'll be there with, hopefully we're getting Sasha and Estia back from Europe that's in the plans the moment we'll bring them back to Scotland and they'll be there to walk with us or I can ride them or it's no prerequisite with that. It's just having them there and walking across these lovely old trails and getting as many people involved as possible and raising some money for charity and helping the local community as we go.

                                    30:44                So that's the kind of the UK plan, which I hope will be the kind of bread and butter, if you like, of what we do here. And with regards to further afield, Kiki and I, Kiki, the lady that joined me and my right across Europe, has joined the big hoof now. And she and I as are planning a Europe ride again, trying to go through basically west to east and that's in the plannings and it's trying to connect a lot of art galleries in it together for a focus on artists with neurological divergencies and mental health. And it's kind of a big, big project that is in the plannings. But again, it's not, it'll happen if it does happen, it does if it doesn't. And then at the same time, there's a lovely guy in America who's who and I, me and him have been began to form an idea about a horse going down the Great Planes Trail, which is a trail that he's just newly sort of discovered and trying to promote, again, one of sustainable travel and connecting people. And that's the kind of plan for 2024. But again, the small steps, the little adventures in the UK is what I would love to at least have the big hoof focus on the other things. The other idea is they commonly go, but the UK one is for sure the main name for the Be hoof.

NICKI:                           32:04                Wow. I mean, there's not much then going on. It sounds amazing. I was just thinking, I love the idea of, in a way, taking a really big adventure or something that you've taken part in, and obviously with the horses and met people along the way, but then bringing that back to make it accessible in so many different ways for people within the UK as well. And that sort of including people, I mean, in a way it sort of leads to my next question, which is around actually if someone's listening to this and going, oh, I don't, whether it is taking their first step on their own adventure or whether it is actually, I love the sound of adventuring with horses or whether it's actually, I just need to, I can't find the, that what you were talking about doing something small and brave, and that's just within their own work life or personal life. This conversation's been so full of that amazing advice. But I was just wondering if there was one piece of advice, if there, there's one thing you'd known right at the start of all of these, but as you were getting started with the big hoof and starting on your adventures, what's the one piece of advice you'd give them?

LOUIS:                          33:17                Yeah, I think knowing now that it's nothing to do with the destination and that it's about those small steps in between, I think knowing that now would've allowed me to be so much more confident in every little step. And I think the advice from that would be to know that no one's expecting you and it won't happen because that's not how life really works. To get from A to B in a straight line as you might think it does on social media, Instagram or you read a book and you think that's how it works. But just taking one small brave step for yourself, that's the achievement. And as long as you're moving, then you're going. And that's the adventure. And I think as soon as you realise that there is no end destination and the achievement is not made in the kilometres down or the places reached to the places par the roots pioneered, it's just about the little moments in between.

                                    34:25                That is the journey and that's the thing that makes you want to keep going. And destinations are reached in other people's eyes. But for example, I feel I've only just begun and because it's the little moments, it's the step by step that I crave and also equally feel scared about. But I know that one foot in front of the other is the only way to get there. And then the second bit would definitely be strangers. Not only are they in the same boat, but they are just friends waiting to happen. And it's very hard to say that because obviously immediately the cynical minds will think, well, that's not true. There's so many people, bad people out there, which is all of what you hear about really in the media. But I promise that the vast majority are people who are really friends just waiting to happen.

                                    35:23                I mean, my horses now, me and Kiki's horses now are living in the Pyran with a shepherd that we met for one night on our ride across Europe that when we went over the pyran and naturally we hadn't planned any stables and we stayed with him for one night. And out of the blue when we reached, Kate finished there, he texted us saying, I imagine you're wondering what to do with those lovely horses. And we were like, yeah, we have no idea what to do with these damn horses, what should we do? And he said, well bring them back here. And so since then, for the last six months they've been living with Jackie and we go, we visit them. We've just been there, actually got back a couple days ago, and that was a stranger who is now a great friend. And every single night on that trip, and also with the trip down the UK stayed with strangers who are now friends. And again, none of this invent, none of this destination or any of these places reached would've been possible without them. So I think knowing you're not alone, trusting in the kindness of strangers and knowing that perhaps the destination is not the thing you need to reach, and that just one step ahead is the success. I think those two things would be the advice that I certainly would tell my younger self.

NICKI:                           36:42                Wonderful. I love it. Yes. I think there's very little to add in that in this place. I think other than I think the connection between those points that you just made too is so interesting that how in a way one enables the other. And that by taking those, by breaking into or having those small steps opens up so much possibility too. It's been absolutely wonderful. If people want to find out more about you, about the big hoof, about all these amazing adventures you've got coming up as well, where can they go?

LOUIS:                          37:17                Yes, Claire, please join anything you want to join with the rides going forwards, as you'll notice on the Instagram and Facebook and website, it's very badly managed because it's managed by me. So it's quite kind. It's quite,

NICKI:                           37:34                Yeah, I'm not in a place to criticise that yet,

LOUIS:                          37:38                But I'm sure one day we'll get some genius to do it all for me. So yeah, on the website to ww dot big, Instagram, the big hoof and Facebook, and we do keep it fairly up to date with, at least with the projects that we we're going to do. So the first one being the Fairways project in July in Scotland. So 10, 12 days with strangers and friends and whoever you want to bring, walking, riding or cycling, whatever you want. Very relaxed, just enjoying being outside with each other. And those will continue hopefully in the autumn and definitely once a year. And as for that, yeah, we also have a few events. We definitely, we do a Burns Night in London, which was a great success this year. So celebration, Robert Burns and all things wild and Scottish and cultural. And that happens every year in January. And then we're opening up more events this year, hopefully, if I can organise myself. But yes, it'd be, yeah, please follow in whatever shape or form you can, and you'll welcome whenever, however you want. And feel free to email and contact me and Kiki or the rest of the team with any questions because we're very, very happy to help as many people helped us before.

NICKI:                           38:56                Brilliant. And I'll make sure I pop all those links in the show notes as well, so people can go and find them and find you really easily as well. Louie, I could have kept meandering with that conversation for a very long time, but I'm conscious I probably need to bring it to a close. Thank you so much for giving your time so generously and for all those insights as well. And I'm wishing you every piece of luck with your future endeavours with a big hoof as well.

LOUIS:                          39:20                Thank you so much, Nikki, and I thank you again for allowing me to interview you back in Spain. It was really, really important for me to do that. I think your work certainly mirrors the step-by-step approach and the empowering effect that I think that has in all environments.

NICKI:                           39:37                Oh, thank you. Oh, that's a lovely place to end. So yeah, thank you so much and take care. Okay.