When I got involved with SLL on the White Horses 2008 project, I had a life changing experience. I was given the chance to meet some amazing and wonderful people. I learnt so much about horses, other cultures and hugely about myself.
Through the 2008 project I was given unbelievable opportunities, such as 2 weeks at Monty Robert’s home farm in California, 1 week in Hollywood and LA. 1 month of learning with the great horse artist Pieric, my own TV show on Horse and Country channel on Sky and many more.
Since 2008 I have travelled and learned with so many great people to gain more experience and skills to help me in the horse world.
I was offered a chance to take part in the 2012 SLL project and Jakki wanted me to get a riding leader qualification. I achieved the qualification of Ride Leader through the BHS Equestrian Tourism Exams.
I wouldn’t have been able to get to this stage with out the help of so many people over the last few years.
I would like to thank everyone that has helped get me this far and ready for my support role in the upcoming SLL 2012 project.
Also as being part of SLL I have reached out to many people to ask for support for our 2012 project, I have included all the people who I contacted that have given their support. Without this extra help it would have made the project a lot more difficult.
Jakki Cunningham: I would like to say a big thank you to Jakki for giving me and others the chance to take part in the SLL projects. Not only during the projects but since 2008 Jakki has been there when ever I have needed advice or support in any difficult times. Her strong will and striving to help others without conditions, has been one of the best qualities that she helped me to develop.
My mother Pauline Hudson: My mam has always been there for me and SLL when we have been in sticky situations. A lot of people might not like to admit it but I think most people turn to there family and parents when they are in need, I’m just glad I am able to always count on my mother and family to be able to help out when i really do need them.
Sadie Kaye: She showed me that with a little help and support you can achieve so many great things and seize unbelievable chances. I experienced a totally different side of life.
Through Sadie I ended up going to California, Hollywood and LA, and to Monty Robert’s farm, which was filmed and was then placed on Horse and Country.
I also met some incredible people like Sir Bob Geldoff, Carlos Gracida who was the world champion polo player also the Queen’s favourite, and he trained celebrities and Royal family members.
Dom Dandridge: Jakki’s son Dom who offered a lot of support and advice along with Sadie. When we travelled to America and Spain and through the WH 2008.
Pieric: What a fantastic horse artist! I met him during the WH 2008 project, he helped teach my horse to load in a trailer and then gave us a little demo of what he does with horses. This was an amazing experience and nothing I had ever seen before, his stallions would sit like dogs, lay down and do loads of tricks. I was offered to learn with Pieric after the project, he was a great teacher and a lot of the techniques and ways that he taught me have contributed hugely to my foundation with horses.
Monty Roberts and his team: I met Monty in November 2008 at Myerscough college in Preston.
This was a real breath taking eye-opener of a day. I witnessed Monty perform his famous Join-up technique on horses he had never met before and achieve incredible results in 30 minutes.
I then went to Monty’s farm in California with Sadie and Dom. I met and was instructed by Monty’s instructors Maya, Tommy, Kirsty and Caroline. I had a really good time here, I learn a lot and met some really great people.
Getting really involved in Monty’s methods from one of his instructors is far different to just watching Monty on TV or in person. There is so much more to learn about Monty’s ways that cannot be taught in detail through a 30 minute show. I suggest if anyone wants to learn some good techniques to have a safer, happier, more productive life with their horse then go to Monty’s website http://www.montyroberts.com/
Sarah Kreutzer: Sarah offered to help me gain more experience with my Monty Roberts training as she used to be an instructor of Monty’s. However, spending my time at Learning to Listen, not only helped me hugely understand Monty’s ways, but helped me make sense of the “feeling”/ sixth sense” that I had experienced when working closely with horses. Pieric and all the great horse people I had met or watched, all talk about how much your own feelings and emotions can affect the horses when you are working with them. Sarah has taken this to a whole new level and has developed a way for you to get an insight to what this really means. A lot of what I learnt from Sarah’s, like everyone else, has played a huge part in my life with horses.
I could go into real depth about this but I think it would be better if you went to Sarah’s website http://www.learningtolisten.co.uk/
The Brown Family, Bridget, David and Nikki: I had my own horse on loan, to try and get her ready to pass on to a therapy/disabled riding centre. I was struggling to find a good place, where the people had an idea of the way I did things, but who also knew the real potential of horses. It then happened that a friend suggested I go to Bridget’s.
This was a brilliant move as Bridget and her daughter Nikki, not only have been champions and on the national teams for Endurance racing, but they have both backed and rehabilitated all kinds of horses. Bridget’s husband David also comes from an agricultural background, he rides and helps as the co-driver for the endurance races. Being in this environment with these lovely people really makes life a lot easier to work with horses and also weirdly enough calms all the horses down.
Bridget helped me to learn to ride in a more traditional/classical way, as I learn in a dyslexic way and up to then I had really only rode my own way. This has proved to be massively helpful when going to take my exams and riding in general.
When I have had difficult times, whether it be a place to re-home a horse, finding it hard to get a cheap reliable horse transporter, or even help with horse training or riding, I have been able to rely on Bridget and family to be there for support when I’ve needed it.
If anyone is in the area close to Guisborough or Loftus and you are in need of some help with horses or transport or even agricultural waste remove nationwide, David and Bridget may be able to help, their website is http://www.agriplass.co.uk/
Royal Marines Commandos: I contacted the Royal Marines Reserve in Newcastle, to ask how our project would affect someone going for military employment. I received very fast and great email back from the Unit Sergeant Major Barry “Baz” Gray.
Baz himself and other Commandos took part in their own projects for charity themselves, last September they roller-skied from John O’Groats to Lands End in under 10 days.
Having an understanding for charity projects as well as being in the Royal Marines, Baz offered to help in any way that he could, so I asked him if it was possible to have help with sleeping bags, waterproof and rope techniques that we could use throughout the project. Being an experienced Mountain Leader as well as Sergeant Major this was no problem at all and Baz had it all sorted very quickly.
Me and the British young people went to visit the RMR Tyne centre which was a good day out, it was very welcoming, professional and you could see from the atmosphere that everyone was like a big family that really enjoyed what they was doing.
If anyone is thinking of doing some military work, whether it be part time or full time, I recommend you try the Royal Marines Reserves , their website is http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/Careers/Maritime-Reserves/Royal-Marine-Reserves
Equestrian Tourism Exams and Sparhanger: When I wanted to achieve Ride Leader exam, this was a real worry, as I knew any exams in the horse industry are not gained easily. I needed to do a First Aid at work or Equine first aid course, a BHS Riding and Road Safety Course, an Assistant Ride Leader Exam then finally a Ride Leader exam in under 6 months.
As I had never taken an exam in the conventional horse world before, I didn’t know where to start. When I was ringing around for a place to take my Assistant Ride Leader exam, I was also looking for help to prepare me for this exam, as I only had one chance to do it. I tried a couple of places but it was going to be too difficult with my financial situation to be able to find accommodation, transport to the yard to learn and the training itself. This is when I came across Michelle Sanders of Sparhanger Equestrian Centre at a little place called Lynton in Devon.
I explained to Michelle my situation with SLL charity project and about the exams needed. Without any hesitation she offered to help. Before I knew it, people in Lynton as well as Sparhanger offered to help too. Ann had really heart-warming but cheap accommodation sorted, Dianne gave me a lift up to the yard and helped with any logistical problems I had, and I was very well looked after by everyone including Michelle’s Husband Chris, Chloe, Mary and many others at the yard . Some of the regular clients that came for treks at Sparhanger also gave me some great experience.
I found Michelle’s teaching methods were easy to learn and very practical. I had a great time and was well prepared for my exams. The exams themselves were run by the Equestrian Tourism Qualifications of the BHS, it was a very stress free day besides the expected nerves. I really enjoyed my time taking the exams and I definitely recommend people to try them.
Sue Wilkinson and the Zafran Horses: When I had come back from the last White Horses 2008 project, I began work experience at Sue Wilkinson’s home in Great Ayton. I learnt a lot about stallion management, horse management, nutrition and dieting and also a different yard set up to many places I had been before. I also learnt that even though the horses had arab and thoroughbred in them, they can be quiet and have strong feet and conformation providing you have a hi-fibre balanced diet.
I also had chance to learn about barefoot and farriering with Steven Beane who has been world champion blacksmith 4 times in a row.
SatMap: During our last project in 2008, their were some days the map reading and bad weather didn’t mix, especially if the trek that day was long. I can map read no problem and we also have had a team of people put together special maps of the whole route for us. But I wanted to be on the safe side and have a GPS map unit with me for the project just in case of emergencies and bad days.
That is when I came across SatMap, this is a GPS unit that offers full digital maps of many countries, up to now I’ve my location with accuracy up to 3ft ! The Satmap Active 10 is easy to plan routes, take detours, record your current route and many many more features.
When I got in touch with the Satmap team through their website http://www.satmap.co.uk I spoke to Margarete and Rebecca and told them about the SLL project. Instantly I had a great response and then offered me a very good discount for all products to use on our charity project. The Satmap team have given me very good support and help with any questions I’ve had about the Active 10.
I will be giving a full review at the end of the project for the Satmap team to let people know how the Active 10 was.
I needed to get some equipment for some of the British riders for the project. That is when I spoke to Alyson Lucas and Serena Jones at the Millbry Hill/Armstrong Richardson head office in Stokesley. I showed them the SLL website and told them about the project. They were very interested in the project and keen to help. They supplied us with some riding hats and clothing which we are very grateful for. I recommend visiting their website for a great choice in equestrian equipment http://www.millbryhill.co.uk/