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Hi, my name's Jodi. I was born and spent my childhood and teenage years in London. As with a lot of young girls all I really wanted to do was ride but unfortunately the logistics of getting me to a riding school meant I was unable to.

Ten years later, aged 17, I was on holiday in Italy and thought it would be an experience to go for a ride in the mountains. As it turned out, it was an experience that I wished I had never had. We were ambling along enjoying the scenery when suddenly, without warning, all the horses took off into a gallop (I think this is what they were used to doing at that point, but the riders were not warned). Not being at all prepared I was holding my reins very loosely and of course I fell off! But it was worse........I didn't actually fall off because my left foot got caught in the stirrup - I can remember being dragged along and hitting a tree, but after that is a blank.

I obviously did survive to tell the tale but didn't want anything to do with horses ever again! They were far too dangerous in my eyes.

However, 20 years later the deep longing of wanting to be with horses took me over and I decided to start having lessons again. I had one or two nasty episodes with a local riding school where my pony bolted a couple of times, so thought it best to have 'proper' lessons if I wanted to survive. I enroled at a local school that specialised in dressage. The horses seemed HUGE to me (17hh) and I was terrified! My progress was extremely slow, which was fine by me, but my instructor became impatient and couldn't understand my terror. She had been riding since a small child and, for her, fear didn't exist - but it didn't do my confidence any good at all. I was determined to carry on and overcome my fear, so booked a week's holiday on Dartmoor. We were allocated a horse to look after, which meant mucking out, feeding, and grooming as well as riding. I had never done any of this before and although it helped focus my attention away from my fear, I always had to have the stable door open just in case I needed to bolt! I can remember to this day, 20 odd years later, the panic I felt when shut in a small space with such a large creature.I was also very lucky in the fact that I had a lovely girl who took me out, who understood completely how I felt and just let me go at my own pace. By the end of the week I was galloping across Dartmoor - free as a bird!

Never one to do things by halves, I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with horses which, fortunately, I have been able to do. For the last 20 years I have been, and still am, rescuing horses who have fear issues with humans - and what a journey it has been. There is nothing quite so rewarding as helping a horse who has been frightened re-gain trust. And, all along of course, they have been helping me with my confidence and increasing my knowledge in the process - full circle!

 

 

There are 10 horses/ponies ranging in size from a mini-shetland to 15hh. They all have a story to tell, but during the time I have had them they have become calm, confident (although some of them still have the odd moment or two!), and trusting. Over the years they have worked with many people who are nervous and they all have an amazing ability to help people gain their confidence.