Most people have a dream when they are younger to be like a certain person or to have a certain job; I did not want to be a saddler. If fact, at 16 years old I was preparing to attend Equine college in Warwickshire, to undertake an Equine based qualification of some sort, with a view to work on a showjumping yard and train to become an Olympic showjumper. How different my life turned out to be…
…Just weeks after finishing my GCSE exams I was asked to stop riding the pony I rode for someone else due to spasms in her hind legs. I was distraught to say the least. To this day I cannot confirm as to whether or not this was the real reason or if the increase of my ‘puppy fat’ had spurred the request, either way I was upset beyond belief.
I got it into my head I was too fat to ride and instead of thinking about it rationally I did what I very often do and hid from the world, convinced myself of all the wrong reasons, and did something a little off the wall…I went travelling.
Well, actually I only went as far as Turkey, Marmaris to be exact. We had holidayed there for a few years as a family and had made some lovely Turkish friends. I secured three months bed and board with a Turkish family in return for work experience in their Gold shop and to teach their two young boys English. I LOVED it!
Upon my return in September of 1996 I enrolled into College on a Travel and Tourism course with a view to becoming a Travel Rep (in Turkey), but by February 1997 I had quit college and started full time work as a data inputter; finally I was earning a full time wage.
During the next four years I hopped from job to job in the UK to earn the next flight and accommodation money back to Turkey. It was a really exciting time of my life for me. It gave me the breathing space I needed to get over the pony I once rode. I missed horses but the thought of riding one upset me too much to start again.
In 2001 I met my now husband; we travelled often and we worked up the corporate ladder and I in particular studied various subjects of interest – Fashion, Beauty Therapy and Business Management. In 2003 we brought our first flat together and started to plan our wedding; horses were still not on the agenda.
In 2005 we moved into our first house, got married and I became pregnant. Life was very different to what I had been used to. Money was no longer abundant and we were planning to have our first baby and lose our independence and freedom. It was definitely the right thing to do, at 25 years old I was ready for marriage and a family.
I had always been able to sew as a youngster, learning from my mom. When I was 23 yrs old I had set up my own dancewear business, part time, designing and making dance costumes and supplying practice wear. This dissolved when I became pregnant with my first child and I used the maternity leave to train as a Beauty Therapist. Soon as I qualified I set up as a mobile beauty therapist and then in 2009 whilst pregnant with my second child I opened my own unisex salon within a gym.
Once my son was born we looked into moving out to the countryside for a better lifestyle, this was when I contacted my old friend Victoria, who ran the riding stables, and I booked my first riding lesson.
We all eventually moved into a country cottage which was approximately 7-8 miles away from the riding stables. I started to help another friend look after her thoroughbred ex polo pony and eventually went on to purchase my very own ex racehorse called Olly in 2011. Olly was quickly joined by Jakey, a Welsh pony, who was mainly a companion pony for Olly but we did use him to teach the children to ride.
In 2013 we almost bankrupted ourselves, money became very tight, we nearly lost everything; the house, the cars, our dignity. We had to make the terribly decision to rehome the horses so that we could simply put food on the table. It was a very hard time in our lives.
By this point in life I had closed the salon, opened and closed an online jewellery business, had been made redundant from one day job and was moving quickly on to a part time job within a school. Depression quickly set in for me and I struggled to do the basics. As a pastime I started to design and handcut paper art just to keep my mind active whilst I recovered; accidentally Hunters Cottage Art was created. I was also asked to ride an Irish Sports Horse called Rouxb who was and has been my saviour ever since.
Just over 12 months ago now (2 years since losing Olly and Jakey), I decided to make a change again in my life; I wasn’t happy. I suddenly realised that I really wanted to work with horses again but having a family, and with little money I couldn’t just become a stable hand nor did I want to be. I had friends that were either training or had just qualified in Equine Dentistry, Equine Therapy & Equine Podiatry, so rather than compete with them I wanted to join them in doing something different so that we could all work together and recommend each others.
After discussing it with a couple of horsey friends we came up with the conclusion that we lacked a saddler specialist in the area and that I was creative enough to embarked upon the journey of becoming a Master Saddler with a view to possibly training as a Saddle Fitter also. This way I could couple my passion for horses, with my artistic and creative skills to produce something a little bit unique whilst earn a decent and honest wage to support my family.
So there you have it. After a varied and enjoyable journey I have chosen to become a Saddler…and therefore Boyden Saddlers is born 😊