I’m 32 and I’ve been riding since I was 4.
All my life I admired Friesian horses, and every time I saw one, I would always get so excited, even if I had my own horses in the past.
In 2014 my father died and left me some money.
In 2016 I went to Holland and bought myself a young Friesian gelding, Jay.
When he arrived in the UK, he had very little ridden experience.
During our first saddle fitting, he spooked at “something” and bolted with no control whatsoever, resulting in the saddle slipping under him and me falling off.
I injured my back that day, but most of all, I completely lost my confidence. I’d never lost my confidence before and it was a horrible feeling. Jay would bolt every time he was ridden. He would bolt and run for his life, with no way to stop him. Although he was great to handle from the ground, I was now scared to ride him. He couldn’t face any scary things; he would just turn around and bolt.
I paid three different “trainers/riders” to ride him and fix him but without success.
He’s always been a loving, kind boy, friendly with everyone and everything. He deserved another chance.
So I sent him away for a couple of months to be re-trained by a professional. Jay came back “rideable” but still always on edge. I felt like riding a ticking bomb, constantly waiting for it to explode. Bushes, trees and branches were still guaranteed to set him off. Riding in the wind wasn’t even an option. He was always nervous, super clingy and jumpy, and when I would ride him, I always had to hold on to the reins, otherwise he would have run away.
One day I took him for a walk in hand as it was a windy day.
He spooked at some trees, I fell and he dragged me on the ground while I was holding onto the lunge line. I couldn’t control him. He was scared, on edge, not responding and nearly run me over.
That was it. I couldn’t deal with him anymore. I gave him lots of chances, spent lots of money, but still no improvement. He was a broken horse. He was dangerous. Maybe he would have been better off with a super confident rider. So in the heat of the moment, I decided to sell Jay and advertise him online. That evening, Marcus, my partner, found out that I had put Jay for sale.
He’s not a horsey person but he loved Jay. Everyone liked Jay.
Marcus begged me to give Jay one more chance, the last one. If Jay couldn’t be fixed, then he wouldn’t have stopped me from selling him. Jay was such a loving sweet boy, that even Marcus wanted to give him one more chance. So I agreed. I had nothing to lose. Marcus was going to pay for Jay’s training this time.
And here is where Will became part of Jay’s story.
After searching for horse trainers with experience with problematic horses, Marcus found Will’s website. It was the reviews on his website that spoke so clearly to us that maybe here was a man who could help. We called him and a few weeks later, Will collected Jay. I didn’t give Will a deadline. I just didn’t want Jay to come back until he was a 100% safe horse and good for a novice rider.
I kept in touch with Will but I was never ready to bring Jay back.
Nearly two months later, Marcus and I went to see Will to talk about Jay’s progress and what to do next.
I rode Jay (with Will walking on my side) but I was still scared of what he could have done. He didn’t do anything.
Will said Jay was ready to come home but I knew I wasn’t ready. What if once home, Jay would have turned into the spooky horse he used to be? I needed to test him more, so I booked a B&B near Will and stayed over for four days, to allow me to ride Jay a little every day and see how he was.
Will showed me how to “ride Jay” to support him and give him confidence.
Then Jay came home.
I was quiete nervous. I’d moved to a new yard, everything was new to him. How was he going to react?
And here our story bloomed. I had fallen in love again with my own boy.
He is not the spooky bolting horse anymore, but a confident grown up one. He now rides out on his own and stays out in the field on his own, even when all the other horses are coming in for the day. He’s fine with his own company. He doesn’t panic. Everything can be dealt with.
Jay has always carried a part of my father in him. I believe the day I decided to sell him, faith made Marcus stop me. Because I wasn’t allowed. I wasn’t meant to. I couldn’t part with something that my dad gifted to me with his death. Jay was a gift to me. A gift to keep me company when my father couldn’t anymore. A gift to give me love when my father couldn’t anymore. A gift to take me to places where my father wouldn’t have taken me to anymore. A gift to be kept, to be cherished and loved. Relationships are never perfect and easy. They go through ups and downs. But if you love someone, you can always find the way to make a relationship work. And now I know that together, Jay and I can get through anything.
Thank you Will for giving me back the horse I always wanted. A companion I can trust and I can ride out with.