Testing the grey matter to stretch back to the far distant past! Very few photos from back then but my earliest pony memories are more than 40 years old.
My parents were not particularly 'horsey', they still aren't to be honest.
My grandfather, known to us as Dambie, took his twin daughters and their families on holiday to Sheringham. I must have been about 6. We walked from our hotel to the beach, which I remember as a really long way. When you got to the shore you had to go down steps from the car park to the beach. At the top of the steps, in the car park, were some ponies who did pony rides all day.
It didn't take much asking to get a pony ride, which I'm sure Dambie paid for. The pony ride
a daily thing, and fairly soon our ride was all the way back to our hotel. Mum tells me she's sure Dambie made it worth their while, though she doesn't know how much he paid them.
At least 2 years later my family moved from Suffolk to Bath, and I started to ride, as I have mentioned before, in Dyrham Park. That was the beginning of a life with horses.
My wonderful Dad got up every Saturday morning to drive me out of Bath to the stables, to return at the end of the day. I'm sure he breathed a huge sigh of relief 9 years later when I passed my driving test. It was never a problem for me to borrow Mum's car.
At 17 I also achieved my dream of owning a horse. My bay thoroughbred mare Biddy.
Never a simple ride she taught me a lot about my temperament, and how important it is to understand your own emotions if you hope to understand your horses.
Biddy had a heart attack and died aged 16, while I was in my final year at university and it was nearly 10 years before I got my second horse.
Rodney was 4 years old when he joined me, and was with me for 12 years, my friend as I dealt with my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Losing him to colic was horrible, but fortunately for me my ever supportive parents understood that having a horse is very important to me, and they helped me buy Alfie, who is doing a very good job of learning to look after me without forgetting his flying changes.
That is a VERY brief look at my career. There have been too many equine friends that I have worked with to start listing them all.
Everyone has taught me new things, and I look forward to seeing what new friends have to teach me every day.