The horse industry is well and truly a completely different world. It can be both a beautiful yet a dark world to be in.
I’ve had a love for horses ever since I could walk. Beautiful creatures. Very underrated and unappreciated in my opinion. I started riding when I was about 6 years old, just having weekly lessons at a riding yard. Going to my lessons was the highlight of my week. If I could have spent more time at the yard then I would have. I just loved the environment, smell and euphoric feeling horses gave me when I was in their presence. When I wasn’t at the yard I was either playing horse games or reading horse books. I couldn’t get enough of them.
I had my riding lessons for about 10 years then I moved to college to study Horse Management and Care. I was the only person from my year at high school to move away for college. I moved to Cheshire, about an hour away from my home back in Manchester. I started my course and it gave me a deeper look into the horse world. At college I met a variety of people. Some of the people on my course had their own horses or had way more experience than i had. It didn’t stop me, however i couldn’t help but feel a bit like the black sheep. I grew up in Manchester, hardly the countryside. I had no horsey friends, no one in my family were overly interested in horses and I hadn’t really had much yard experience. I felt more behind than my other classmates.
After a few months of living at college, I had started to settle in. At the time, making friends was quite difficult due to my anxiety and depression. Once the college day was over I usually went back to my room to either study or watch films. I looked forward to the lessons at college. I was gaining more experience and knowledge about a subject I hold very close to my heart. It was perfect. A few months in and everyone kinda had their own social groups. I had mine, I loved the girls I was friends with, however they could get bitchy. Very bitchy. The comments wouldn’t necessarily always be about the person, but about their horse or their life style. It could get nasty. I tried my best to stay out of it all. I tried to keep myself to myself. God knows what would have been said about me.
After two years of college, it opened my eyes slightly into the horse world. What to say and what not to say. What to do and not to do. Once college was over with I went onto work with horses. My first job was at a racing yard. I started work there and it was nothing like what I expected and not in a good way. The horses were treated like royalty. Like kings and queens. The horses were lovely. The people on the other hand, not so much. The yard was down south. If you live in the UK you might be aware that the Northerners and Southerners don’t always mix and I was the only Northerner on the yard. I think I was the only Northerner within a 30 mile radius of the yard. I had a completely different back ground and up bringing than them. I knew I didn’t fit in there, and they knew it too. After a month I was gone. I had, had enough, and they didn’t want me there. Afterwards I moved to a Show Jumping yard about 5 minutes away from the racing yard. I knew I didn’t fit in here either. I was so different, but in a way they kinda liked it. They were curious about me and I was curious about them. We were complete opposites of each other but I stuck around. The first few months were okay. After that, they started to show their true colours. I heard how the spoke about other liveries, past/current staff members and riders. It was horrible. So two faced. Horrendous comments would be made behind their backs but absolutely nothing to their face. I knew comments would have been made about me. They didn’t hesitate to be bitchy about anyone. Thankfully the job was temporary.
After about 6 months at the Show Jumping yard, I moved back to Cheshire to work on a dressage yard. It was different to what I was used to. I was in more of a routine but I was happy there. I lived on site and had my own little house to myself. I felt settled. I felt at home. I was surrounded by the countryside and horses. I couldn’t ask for much more. I made friends here which turned into my own horsey family. I worked at this yard for about 18 months. 17 months in and it went to shit. There was a livery on the yard which almost everybody in Cheshire knew of. They weren’t really known for their kindness or compassion for animals and other people. During my last month I turned into their target. I have a few ideas as to why, but that’s a different story. They spread lies around the yard and to my boss. I got a bollocking for false information that was being spread about me. It crushed me. I went into a world of depression. I phoned my mum most evenings just to cry. I dreaded waking up the next morning and going out to work. My mental health took a real hit. I tried to carry on because I was happy there at one point, but I couldn’t. A few weeks later I left and moved back home to Manchester. I had sworn that I would never go back into the horse industry again.
But here I am with my own loan horse and come August, I’m moving to Australia to work with horses again! The horse world can be a very cruel place. Both to horses and people. You aren’t really prepared for it. Horses are my passion. They give me a purpose and that won’t ever change. It’s the horses that make everything better. They don’t judge. They don’t make comments about you behind your back. They rely on you. In a world that almost crushed me, the horse world has also saved me. Saved me from myself and others. They allow me to escape and forget my troubles. When i’m with them, I feel freedom and happiness.
If you’re in the horse industry, and have been or are being bullied, remember why you started. Remember why you get excited to see your horse or any horse. In my opinion you will come across a few cruel horse people, but you will also find a family. The horse industry is its own world. It plays its own games and has its own rules. Just remember why you started horse riding in the first place.
I’m off to go and shovel my horses shit now! I still couldn’t think of a better way to spend my evening…
Enjoy yourselves and love yourself,
Lots of love,