My family background is complicated to say the least and I had minimal contact with my birth family.
I was a shy child and a target for school bullies; this made it very difficult for me to communicate with people, especially those of my own age group.
Building my confidence
However, my life changed when I was 12 and discovered Ebony Horse Club, a local charity which helps children by introducing them to horses.
I’d always loved animals, dogs especially, so during my first time around horses I never felt scared – if anything I was excited to be doing a sport that made you closer to an animal.
A second home
Very soon, I was making friends, horsey and human, and Ebony became a second home to me.
I can remember my first canter, my first fall and my first time over a jump.
All these were milestones that have led me to where I am today – a recent graduate from Writtle University with a degree in Equine Performance and Business Management.
I intend to make my career with horses, but without Ebony Horse Club I don’t know where I would be today.
They gave me so many opportunities and some experiences I could never have imagined. I was so honoured when our President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, visited and I was asked to show her round.
I’ve represented the charity at competitions, been pony trekking in Wales and met some inspirational people.
This summer, I felt very proud to organise a day of workshops and demonstrations back at Ebony with some of my university lecturers.
I talked to the kids about Writtle University and I hope that I inspired some of them to believe in themselves and realise that they too could achieve their dreams.
Even when there were setbacks (and there were) the staff at Ebony were there to help and support me. It was wonderful that some of them came to my graduation, even Sue Collins, chair of trustees and one of my first riding teachers.
I’ve been financially supported through my studies by the Saddlers Company and the Horlock Educational Trust and I was so pleased they were there too.
I’m very excited about my future. I feel I’ve come a long way from that nervous child that came through the gates for my first riding lesson 10 years ago.
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