True Grit

We went up to the local Goytre Arms on Friday and sat by some friends of ours Julia Horton and Dean Goddard. I was aware that Jules was representing Great Britain at Dressage in August and that she was doing Dressage to Music as part of it. To do this is not easy as there are set movements that have to be carried out at specified times and set to music that matches the steps of the horse. No mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. Once you have your music - which you have to get licensed, you have to cut and paste it and put it all in one stream in specialised software which you buy out of your own pocket, learn how to use and then spend hour upon hour getting it all together. So as you can imagine Jules was pretty stressed. We volunteered to help with the music and helped her finish it all off today. We didn't do much, she had struggled through and done  most of it on her own. We weren't able to play the video at the same time as the music but there is time to play with that again.

What did strike me was watching her dedication as she rode the test, several times, in the pouring rain while Dean filmed it. Day in day out she struggles to keep three horses going and herself going. Read more of Jules background on here Stockpin Chic who sponsor her. What I haven't mentioned is that Jules is a Para Rider, before you continue read about her on the Stockpin Chic page.

When Jules goes away next to Bishop Burton, Yorkshire it will be just her and 'Joycie' her horse. For a week. Representing her country. Great Britain. She does not have any funding. She pays for fuel, stabling, entry fees, GB flags for the saddle pad, horse feed, her feed (hopefully.)

Notice that there is no mention of her accommodation - she is sleeping rough in the horse trailer. If you have read her background you know how hard this will be.

I want to help a little bit more so thought I would put this out there to you guys. How can we help this lady and her horse represent our country in a little more comfort?

Stables Photography sponsors Jules and will help in any way possible.

As a result of our blog and a super, wonderful, generous lady Jules now has a bed to sleep in. If you would like to help her and her horse eat then that would be brilliant too! 

Here is Jules background:-

Julia has kindly put together an autobiography of her riding career and how she came to be a para rider.  Her achievements are made all the more remarkable when you understand the great hurdles she has had to overcome and continues to deal with on a daily basis.

"The early years

I started riding when I was very young, I was a crazy child incredibly brave and athletic, with no fear at all when I was on the back of a horse. 

From the day I was first put on a horse, probably a wild pony on the Hereford moors, at under 2 years of age by my Grampy (!!) I knew I never wanted to do anything else in my life but ride.  Jumping was my love and I would jump anything regardless of height, width or size, anything. Until 1999 this was all I ever wanted to do and I was good at it.  

In 1999 my life totally changed when I got Hodgekins Lymphoma stage 3B.  At this time I not only lost my health, I lost my marriage, my home and everything that I knew.  I had septicemia 3 times and almost died and the health problems I had are too extreme to go into on here.  As a result of the chemotherapy which was a trial program I lost all the ligaments in my left leg and developed Osteoporosis at the age 29 which has badly affected my right hip and spine, and also a very low immune system meaning I get ill and tired very quickly.  I have had to have many operations to remove tumours and lumps over the years including a full hysterectomy. I have broken many bones including fingers, toes, my leg, an ankle which needed surgery, ribs when I get a cough ! with the biggest being my back, in 2008. 

It was my back that did the most damage as with an already severely weak and damaged left leg, I was now left with right side nerve damage which affects my right hand and leg, my stomach and back (right side) resulting in loss of balance and sensation issues. This leaves my whole body fairly wrecked and regularly in a lot of pain. However, when I ride, apart from the rubber bands on my stirrups to keep my feet in, and the brace on my leg to support and stop dislocations of my knee, a brace on my back for support and the 2 whips I use to back up my legs, I am as capable as any one else.  

I have trained my horses myself and they will react to the simplest of movement in my weight or the slightest muscle flicker or a tiny movement of my fingers and touch.

Although I ride Able Bodied I am a Para Grade 3 Rider.  I started riding again 2 years after my accident, 6 months after getting out of my wheel chair, with my show hunter Premier Harvest Moon aka Harry and on the 28/08/10 I rode and won my first Para test with 67%.   

Harry and I competed 26 times including, 2 Home Internationals for Wales (3rd both), representing GB in Yorkshire (3rd) in our first season and notching up 7 wins and only once in all these outings was he unplaced.  I had to retire Harry in 2012 due to my health and then breaking my leg and needing surgery.   Due to finances I could no longer afford to ride both my horses so I had to concentrate on his younger sister whom
 I bred, Premier Joyfull Moon aka Joycie.  

This horse started her life last year 2013 as a 9 year old due to her having been very ill with sinus impaction as a foal and young horse, then a back injury lameness and finally pneumonia!! but after all this she had to take precedence over Harry due to age and potential. I have brought her along slowly and she has now competed in both Para and Able Bodied classes.  

Her first test was on 17/08/13 coming 2nd in both her classes.  To date she has done 30 tests winning 13 of them with 9 being over 70%.  Also coming 2nd at 
Hickstead, 2 wins at The Welsh Festival of Dressage and being in the winning Wales National Para Dressage Team at the Home International this year.

This winter season we have completed tests during October winning 7 of them, although we were eliminated in one as I had not noticed she still had her boots on 
and scored over 5% higher than the winner, a mistake never to be repeated!

I have big dreams for myself and this horse but I am also realistic, 2015 will be the start of our major campaign with my aims for this coming year being;


To achieve top 3 finishes in the list below: 

Winter Championships 

KBIS Championships 

Summer Championships 

Represent Wales at the Home International 

Represent GB in Bishop Burton Yorkshire 

My long term aim is to get included and compete at a World Equestrian games and become a feature on the elite British squad and attend an Olympic games.