My Thirst for Knowledge
When I first saw the notification from Equitas via Instagram asking if anyone would like to write an article I thought I’d like to have a go, I love the message they are spreading within the equine community especially aimed at us women. This lead to much deliberation as to what I could write about and why would anyone be interested in my story.
This got me to thinking, I am an everyday woman not really doing anything significant, but I am rather proud of my achievements and let me tell you why.
I am blessed to have had horses in my life for over thirty years. For thirteen of those years I have juggled motherhood, home life and other stresses most of us encounter.
Sadly, I lost my dear pony after thirty incredible years together, just before he passed away, I’d decided to add another member to the herd, Cloudy.
Like my dear old pony, Cloudy is an Exmoor pony (I have a huge love for the Exmoor pony) Unfortunately our journey didn’t begin as smoothly as I’d hoped. I’d been lead to believe Cloudy was backed and just a little green. With thirty years horse experience under my belt nothing I couldn’t manage.
The first encounter Cloudy had with the saddle didn’t go well, she snapped the line and bolted to the nearest gate, this unfolded to months of issues. Thoughts of oh goodness what have I done; I can’t do this. I have two children; I can’t get hurt. My confidence was in shreds.
I’m sure many of us have walked that line once motherhood has enriched our lives it has also shattered our confidence with our horses. Particularly prevalent for myself as I’d gone from a pony I’d know inside and out to the complete unknown.
Thankfully I am quite a determined person and I was growing rather fond of my Cloudy.
I also knew with the complex pony she was that maybe the usual route of horsemanship wouldn’t be suitable so I cast aside thirty years of horsemanship to start again.
Alas my journey of Natural Horsemanship begun. I found a program that suited and sought out to find out everything I could. Not just solutions to horse problems but why the problem was there in the first place.
The more knowledge I gained the more my confidence grew and so did my relationship with Cloudy. My thirst for knowledge is something I’ll never loose, horses always have something to teach us.
My horsemanship was starting to progress to a good level, so much so I felt ready to complete the first level audition for the Natural horsemanship program I was following. Then COVID lockdown hit. With two boys at home and schooling to be done I knew it would be tricky to balance everything, but I managed.
Not only did I video my audition successfully, following a rather strict list of requirements whilst both my boys happily played in the paddling pool next to the training paddock I also completed my level 1 with high marks. Not wanting to leave it there I also successfully completed and passed various horse psychology courses whilst homeschooling both boys. Thank goodness women are fantastic at multitasking.
In-between all this I also set up my very first instagram account to track Cloudy’s progress. I’m not a particularly confident person so this was a huge step and rather scary to put myself out there for the world to see but it’s a step I’m thankful I took. The instagram community has been so incredibly supportive. I’ve been able to help several people in the UK and abroad with their horsemanship journey and have been in touch with so many I am lucky enough to call my friends.
The things I have taught Cloudy I’ve never done with any pony; I am self-taught. I’ve re-backed Cloudy, ridden bitless and although that part of our journey has come to an end (her decision) we now play in open grass fields at liberty, learn new maneuvers and just have an absolute blast which is what it’s all about.
I nearly gave it all up, but this little pony has taught me so much, not just about horses but about myself. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve felt helpless but throughout every step I’ve grown. As a person and as a horsewoman.
I hope my story helps inspire you. It's important to know you are not alone and I think we all need to remember from time to time not to be so hard on ourselves.
It’s also good to surround yourself with supportive and positive people in the horsemanship world and beyond.