From a very young age, around 5 I think, I have ridden horses. It progressed from once a week to going all day to hang around at the riding stables grooming horses, leading the ponies for the little ones, mucking out and playing with the other girls. Nowadays you wouldn’t dream of leaving your daughter or son unattended at a stables all day but that’s what plenty of us did then. I think I was about 8ish. I had one or two rides on the day as well. I loved it! When I was 19, at a loss after leaving university (I only did a year first time round, another story), I was looking for a job – I saw an advert for a working pupil at a local riding stables. It involved living in, bed and board plus studying towards British Horse Society exams. I got the job and it was heavenly, I rode every day, and it was also on the site of a SCOPE school for mentally and physically disabled children. It was our job to facilitate their riding lessons – skills which were to stand me in good stead when I started nursing – I learnt how to hoist children onto a horse! There were only two very docile horses who could handle the hoist. The group of girls I worked with became good friends, I loved working outside and I was so happy living in the school in the countryside. I stayed a year, gained my first set of exams but soon realised it was a limited career unless I married into money (which was my original plan, where did that go wrong?). I got a back injury from persistently bending to sweep and muck out so it was physically demanding. I failed the stage 2 exams and had a bad fall of a horse which knocked my confidence.
I wanted another job in the same field but it wasn’t easy as I’d started seeing a man and I wanted to stay within a certain radius, and I didn’t drive. Looking back, I should have just gone for my career rather than follow some man (he’s not my husband I hasten to add), as I ended up temping doing office work and factory work for another year deeply unhappy. Eventually I ended up breaking up with the boyfriend and went to London to study Nursing. The rest is history as they say, but my love of horses and horse riding never left me. I am sad to say I don’t ride at the moment or have a horse, something my 8 year old self would be horrified by as it was my dream to have a house with it’s own paddock and stables. One day. My daughter Phoebe is now nearly 7 and she loves horses and unicorns. It’s very expensive to ride now and whenever she’s had the chance to ride donkeys etc. she’s been too scared, so I haven’t pushed it. I’d like to go for a ride with her this summer when we go to France.
Phoebe was asked to draw her dream horse for PetPlan Equine Insurance, she drew it straight away my little artist. I love that about her, she doesn’t overthink things, she can be very decisive, she’s confident and happy, I’m so proud of her.
The idea was they were going to transform the drawing of her dream horse into reality – I was a bit sceptical but I went with it. The results are pretty fantastic, we got such a well made cuddly horse back. She calls it Mrs Unicorn. If wishes were horses.
Petplan also works with more animal re-homing charities than any other pet insurance provider and are committed to supporting charities and the vital work they do in any way they can.
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